Baseball – Week 8 Jersey Mike’s Team of the Week: Red Bank Catholic
It took only two games for the Red Bank Catholic baseball team to relinquish the No. 1 spot in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 at the beginning of the season. Almost two months later, two games against two of the best pitchers in the Shore Conference put the Caseys back in the running for No. 1.
After reaching the final four of the 2022 Shore Conference Tournament, RBC finished off a third straight SCT championship by beating Rumson-Fair Haven ace Charlie Jones and Jackson Memorial ace Zach Crotchfelt to earn another Shore Conference crown and the eighth Jersey Mike's Team of the Week Award in 2022.
Dating back to last year, Red Bank Catholic was winless in four straight games against Shore Conference Class A Central division rival Rumson-Fair Haven after a 4-3 road loss to the Bulldogs on May 6. While RBC won the 2021 Class A Central division title, it lost the first regular-season meeting to Rumson, settled for a tie in the second and lost to the Bulldogs in the Monmouth County Tournament final.
This year was nearly the opposite. Rumson ran away with the Class A Central title, but the Caseys won the head-to-head series with the Bulldogs, handing Rumson its first loss of the season on May 10 and knocking off the No. 1 seed in the SCT on May 24.
In both wins, RBC handed the ball to sophomore Declan Leary to face Jones -- a 6-foot-6 Wake Forest commit with a high-80's fastball and one of the state's best curveballs. Between the two starts, Leary pitched 13 shutout innings, including a six-inning shutout last week in the SCT semifinal.
It only took six innings for Leary to earn the shutout because the Caseys offense knocked Jones out with four runs in the first three innings, then put the game away with a five-run sixth inning to seal a 10-0 win over the Bulldogs.
If the dismantling of Rumson was not impressive enough, Red Bank Catholic opened more eyes on Sunday in the SCT final against Jackson Memorial. Facing a Jaguars team that had won 12 of its last 13 games and was giving the ball to Crotchfelt -- an Auburn commit who could, potentially, be a top-five round selection in July's Major League Baseball Draft -- the Caseys came in prepared.
With a lineup the repeatedly spoiled, spit on and slapped two-strike pitches from one of the state's best pitchers, the Caseys gained an early 2-0 lead, ran up Crotchfelt's pitch count and after the Jaguars tied the game in the top of the fifth, RBC landed the knockout blow.
With a runner on in the bottom of the fifth and a 1-0 count, Caseys senior shortstop Matt Scrivanic tattooed a fastball from Crotchfelt, sending it well beyond the left-field wall for a go-ahead two-run home. The four runs and eight hits RBC hung on Crotchfelt were both season highs and six of the eight hits came on two strike counts -- four of them on 0-2.
Sophomore right-hander Steve Svenson relieved junior starter and winning pitcher Alex Stanyek and struck out five of the seven batters he faced to earn the two-out save and close out a 5-2 RBC win.
Scrivanic was one of three seniors in Red Bank Catholic's starting lineup along with leftfielder Jack Meyers and second baseman Nico Gonzalez. With three consecutive championships already in hand, the Caseys are set up to make a serious push for at least one more title to the streak, not to mention a run at the program's first overall NJSIAA group championship since 1997.
Past 2022 Team of the Week Winners
Week 1: Shore
Week 2: Point Pleasant Beach
Week 3: Christian Brothers Academy
Week 4: Wall
Week 5: Southern
Week 6: Freehold Township
Week 7: Donovan Catholic