Bishop Eustace senior Ryan Colbert who had five RBIs in a win over Ocean City
PENNSAUKEN – Down a run after just a half inning of play, the Bishop Eustace baseball team didn’t panic. The Crusaders, ranked No.2 in the SJSD Top 10 poll, didn’t feel any concern or angst.
Granted, this is a program that puts an emphasis on three things, the Olympic Conference National Division, a non-public A state title and finally the Diamond Classic, Monday’s opener in the 45th edition of the Joe Hartmann Diamond Classic was more just business as usual.
“We weren’t really worried about being a run down,” senior catcher Ryan Colbert said. “Not when you have someone like (Sky Duff) on the mound and a lineup like ours. We knew we would hit today.”
To say Bishop Eustace hit on Monday is akin to saying Michael Jordan could play a little basketball or Adele can sing a little. What the Crusaders did instead was assault Ocean City’s pitching staff to the tune of 19 hits, nine extra base hits and five home runs in a 19-6 rout that left a Red Raiders team, currently enjoying a successful 15-4 campaign with the Group 3 state tournament set to start next week, dreading a bus ride back to the shore.
“It’s tough to beat us when we have all that going on,” said catcher Ryan Colbert, whose first-inning grand slam onto Route 70 in right field was the perfect gift to give his mother on her birthday. “When everyone is hitting, one through nine, it’s tough to stop us.
“Early in the year, we were pressing a little bit and swinging at pitches that weren’t ours. Now, we’re all pulling for each other. We’re hitting the ball pretty well.”
Ocean City held an early 1-0 lead, but Eustace countered with a four-hit, six run assault in the bottom half of the first to put Ocean City on its heels. The Crusaders never let up as they scored at least three runs in every inning with only an impending storm threatening their win.
“We were feeling it today,” Bishop Eustace head coach Sam Tropiano said. “I’m looking at the sky thinking we need to get this in. If the rain comes and we aren’t done, it all starts over and we just kept hitting.
“I place a lot of value on (the Diamond Classic). It’s right between a division and a state title. It’s a neat tournament, a prestigious tournament. We go after it hard.”
Next up is a Saturday game against West Deptford in the quarterfinal round at Deptford High School. A win and the Crusaders could get a second shot at No.2 St. Augustine, but for now, Eustace is satisfied with its’ current position.
“We’re doing everything well right now,” said Matt Orlando, who recorded his 100th hit at Bishop Eustace in the win. “It’s nice to get my 100th win and to do it in the Diamond adds a little to it but we’re not satisfied right now. We still have a lot of work to do.”
Ocean City 100 32 -- 6- 7-2
Bishop Eustace 655 3x -- 19-18-0
WP Sky Duff. LP: Wyatt Stetzer. 2B: Shane Ferry, OC; Sky Duff, Mike Guzzardo, Johnny Picientino, BE. 3B: Johnny Picientino, BE. HR: Sydney Unsworth, OC; Ryan Colbert, Chase Conklin, Mike Guzzardo, Joe Oczkowski, Matt Orlando, BE.
Washington Twp. 2, Bordentown 1
St. Augustine 4, Glou. Catholic 3
Holy Spirit 3, Shawnee 1
West Deptford 10, Riverside 0
Eastern 3, Haddonfield 1
Seneca 10,. Gloucester 0
Bishop Eustace 19, Ocean City 6
Friday, May 18
Gateway at Clearview, 4 p.m.
at Washington Twp.
Clearview/Gateway winner vs. Eastern, 10:30 a.m.
Holy Spirit vs. Washington Twp. 1 p.m.
Bishop Eustace vs.West Deptford, 10:30 a.m.
St. Augustine vs. Seneca, 1 p.m.