BROOKLAWN — The Gloucester Catholic High School baseball team is becoming a constant in the South Jersey Non-Public Group A Final. For a fifth consecutive year, the Rams will head back there after taking down St. Augustine Prep, 9-0 on Friday afternoon.
Sophomore pitcher Tyler Mondile threw a terrific game, striking out four and scattering three hits through seven innings of work.
“Everything felt good today,” Mondile said. “My curveball felt good, my change-up felt good in the pen, and my fastball just felt amazing.”
Although all of his pitches were working, Mondile threw a steady diet of fastballs to the Hermits. Mondile felt part of that was because his team was up in the game, but also how the home plate umpire was calling his pitches. “The umpire was giving me a lot of calls down, so I was living down there, and sticking with it,” Mondile said.
Gloucester Catholic head coach Mike Rucci called Mondile’s performance “gutsy” and praised the young pitcher. “That was probably the first big game he has pitched in high school, in a playoff atmosphere, with a lot of people, and he answered the call,” Rucci said. “That kid’s a sophomore, and he just went out there and pitched against the number one team in the state and did a fantastic job.”
Mondile, who has spent many years around the Gloucester Catholic baseball program embraced his moment in the spotlight, and was full of excitement after the game. “It’s amazing. The feeling is great. I can’t keep the excitement in,” Mondile said with a smile.
Not only did Mondile play a role from the mound, but also it was his heads-up play to begin the fourth inning at the plate which started the rally that blew open the game for the Rams. After striking out, the ball got past the catcher. Alertly, Mondile sprinted to first base, forcing an errant throw, and he reached safely. After Mondile stole second, junior Fran Kinsey drove Mondile home on a single up the middle, and the rally had officially begun.
With momentum rolling, the Rams put together a six-run fourth inning by just manufacturing runs, which has become what this team is about.
When asked what it is about this team in those situations, Kinsey pointed to his team’s mentality. “When a team gives you an opportunity, we focus on making it hurt. That’s all it takes some times is one error to get things started, and we are pretty good at taking advantage of situations like that.”
One of the standouts from the offensive side of the game was another sophomore, Nick Seccia. Seccia went 4-for-4, and got the scoring started for the Rams, smashing a two-out double in the second to score Kinsey. That hit gave him the confidence going forward.
“That was huge, and it gave me a lot of confidence hitting,” Seccia said. “We knew they had good arms and something like that (hit), just really boosted my confidence.”
Rucci felt this game put together everything that this team looks for.
“Our whole thing is you got to play defense, pitch to contact, and get timely hits, and we did all three of those things today,” Rucci said. “We wanted to keep putting pressure on them, and as long as you put pressure on them, you’re going to have quality at bats.”
Rucci expected his team to be right in this position at this point in the season.
“We have our ups and downs. Sometimes you have to get kicked in the face to be able to respond to it,” Rucci said. “These guys don’t mind getting kicked in the face. It makes us tougher. You want to avoid that, but if we can respond to it, I’ll take it because it makes us better down the stretch.”
With this response, the Rams are a win away from their fifth consecutive South Jersey Non-Public A Championship, and a chance to win a fifth consecutive state title.
The Rams will next face St. John Vianney at Rowan University Tuesday at 4 p.m. for the sectional title and a spot in the state final. Vianney beat CBA 13-9 Friday and knocked out Bishop Eustace earlier in the tournament.