VOORHEES — "Sometimes the stars just align" said St. Augustine Prep pitcher Zack Warren just after he earned the win as his Hermits captured their first-ever Diamond Classic title by beating Pennsville 3-2 Sunday evening at Eastern High School.
St. Augustine took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Sean Carew drove in Dylan Tolbert.
Pennsville struck back in the bottom of the second, taking advantage of some early control issues by Zach Warren. Two wild pitches allowed a pair of runs to cross the plate, giving the Eagles a 2-1 lead which lasted into the fifth inning.
In the top of the fifth, the Hermits got runners on first and second. Tolbert laid down a bunt that Pennsville third baseman Peyton Sorrells threw into Tolbert's back, allowing a run to come in tying the game at 2-2.
A sacrifice fly by Cody Sadreameli scored Joey Gatto giving the Hermits a 3-2 lead.
Gatto also scored the winning run in extra innings earlier in the day at St. Augustine topped Washington Township 3-2 in a Diamond Classic semifinal held at Deptford High School.
In the semifinal win, Gatto tied the game at 2-2 with an RBI knock.
Then in extra innings, Gatto stole second to get into scoring position and scored the winning run to advance St. Augustine to the final.
"I cherish my at-bats a lot now. Going away as a pitcher next year I know they are going to take my bat away," said Gatto. "The first game today was a big one for me, and I just tried to keep the same approach against Pennsville," Gatto went on to say.
Zach Warren didn't pitch a beauty, but at the end of the day, the Pennsville hits column read one.
Despite throwing four wild pitchies and walking nine batters, Warren showed a gritty determination and held things together for his biggest victory all season.
"I remember as a freshman when the varsity team made it here and lost a heartbreaker. It was a real big blow for them," recounts Warren. "I wasn't going to accept anything less than a win today."
"His pitch count may have gotten up there, he may have had troubles with his control, but when he needed to make pitches, he made 'em," said Pennsville head coach Matt O'Brien about Warren's performance. "It's a shame. Our kids battled all weekend. For us to come up short, it stinks."
Earlier in the day, No. 2-ranked Pennsville knocked off top-rated Bishop Eustace with a seven-run second inning, beating the Crusaders 8-1.
With the new rankings coming out tomorrow, expect St. Augustine to find its way to the top.