Jim Rosa (@jimrosa519)
After days of rain, there was finally some baseball to be played at Toms River North on Thursday when CBA met RBC for the Shore Conference championship. The CBA colts defeated their local rivals, the RBC Caseys, 4-0 to capture their second straight Shore Conference title.
The match-up for this years finals was a rematch of last years semi finals as the Colts won last years meeting in extra innings. They went on to defeat Barnegat at First Energy Park. However, the Colts played this game with a little more motivation than they had last year. They came into this game with a perfect postseason record. In fact entering tonight’s game they had already won a division title, a Monmouth county title, and most recently a state sectional title as they blanked Bishop Eustace yesterday.
Once again the pitching for the Colts was nothing short of what they have been achieving this entire postseason. They would send Junior Joe Gargana to the mound hoping that he could curb the RBC offense, one that was particularly effective throughout much of the year. However, this time Gargana was able to throw 2 shutout innings before handing the ball to fellow junior Ken Campbell. Campbell was effective as he threw 5 shutout innings himself, working out of trouble numerous times. He was really able to control the game as both he and Gargana combined to give up only three hits and three walks through the entire game.
As far as the offense goes, the Colts were able to get on the board early against RBC starter John Poccia. He would pitch the entire game for the Caseys, giving up 4 runs on 9 hits with 2 walks. In addition, the two errors that were committed would come back to hurt them especially early in the game.
The offense would get started in the bottom of the first. Cid Porter, the Colts center fielder, was able to reach base via an error by Arron Ahn. After a sacrifice bunt by Andrew Buccellatto and a walk to Will Morgan the Colts were once again able to capitalize on a Luca Dalatri base hit to right . This would send Porter in with the games first run. The Colts would threaten for more in the inning, but the rally came to an end by way of a great catch in left field by Chris Bender.
The offense, however, would not stop there. The Colts offense has been consistent in tacking on runs while playing with the lead. In the second inning, Matt D’ Angelo doubled to deep left to lead off. He would then advance on a sacrifice fly by Trey Nelson. James Miller would then be credited with an RBI single as he drove in D’Angelo to plate the Colts second run.
The Colts would go on to add two more runs in the fourth to produce the 4-0 final score. After hitting a foul ball that nearly prevented me from writing this article, landing just inches away from the third base line bleachers, Cid Porter was able to find the outfield grass in left field. Buccellatto was able to drag a base hit bunt with the third baseman Ahn playing back to also reach. A walk with the bases loaded forced in the third run of the game and a Brandon Martorano sacrifice fly brought in the fourth and final run of the game.
The Caseys would have two men on in 6 innings of this game, but Campbell would not break. He induced a 4-6-3 double play to prevent the last real RBC threat in the 6th.
Kenny Campbell was the player of the game in this one as he has clearly been CBA’s best pitcher outside of Luca Dalatri this postseason. He was able to take care of two powerful lineups in both Manasquan and RBC. He got ahead of these dangerous RBC hitters, throwing first pitch strikes to 10 of the batters he faced.
Here is Campbell after the game-
CBA will now go on to play the number one team in the state as the Colts will send their ace Luca Dalatri to the mound in hopes of doing something no team has done this season, defeating Don Bosco Prep. If they do, they’ll create some perfection of their own, becoming the first Shore Conference team to win a division, county, conference, section and state title. I caught up with CBA Colts catcher Brandon Martorano after the game in which I asked him about his confidence going into such a hyped up game. ” Yeah we feel 100% confident” , when asked about his ace taking the mound he quoted, ” the pressure is on them so we are going into this one ready to play”.
Sean Martin will have this game on Twitter @ShoreSportsNJ.