Cherry Hill West Defeat Top-Ranked Gloucester Catholic in Diamond Classic Semifinal

On a day perfect for baseball, Cherry Hill West took on the defending Diamond Classic champions, Gloucester Catholic, who entered the game with a formidable 28-game winning streak. The matchup was poised to be a classic, featuring two of the region's best pitchers in a duel that promised to bring fireworks. 

The first few innings of the game started off slow in terms of offense. Both Gloucester Catholic and Cherry Hill West were not able to put a series of hits together through four innings. As the fourth inning came around, the Rams looked to score as Mustaro reached base safely and was looking to break the 0-0 tie. However, Ryder Garino was relentless and kept the pressure on the batter allowing the Lions to come off the field without a run given up. 

The tension built with each pitch, as both teams struggled to find opportunities to score. Derias continued to sit batters down with over 7 strikeouts in the fifth inning. Both teams would continue to retire batters and hold and baserunners on until the top of the 7th inning.  

The breakthrough came late in the game when Cherry Hill West managed to capitalize on their few chances, scoring two runs behind Leo Orefice's RBI double. This would give the Lions all they needed to win as they took the 2-0 lead. The Rams would get a runner on base in the bottom of the 7th, but Garino made sure he did not get far and closed the game with a shut out and a huge victory on the day. 

Cherry Hill West's victory was a statement win, proving their ability to compete at the highest levels and challenging the perception of them as underdogs against the state's top team. The Lions now look forward to the championship game against Delsea, aiming to capture their first Diamond Classic title in over 30 years.