St. Augustine Wins 3rd Diamond Classic Title In Program History
After a few rainouts and schedule changes, the stage was finally set for the 48th Annual Joe Hartmann Diamond Classic. The always inconvenient New Jersey weather had delayed both semifinal games with one being 3 seed Gloucester Catholic and 7 seed Lenape and the other being 1 seed St. Augustine and 4 seed Kingsway. Lenape upended Gloucester Catholic to reach the finals. St. Augustine won their second matchup of the year against Kingsway to head back to the finals of the Joe Hartmann Diamond Classic in its second year being hosted at Alcyon Park in Pitman. With St. Augustine being the highest overall seed remaining they had the automatic bid as the home team.
As the game was about to start, you could feel the electricity of the environment in the air. Kids from other high schools in their uniforms had rushed over right after their own games, media members lined up along the backstop, and parents and supporters lined up along the fences just made the game that much more entertaining to watch. CJ Furey, a Villanova baseball commit, toed the rubber for St. Augustine. As for the Indians, Chase Topolski, a Richmond baseball commit, would start on the mound. Lenape drew the first score of the game with Grant Hunter knocking in Max D’Alessandro with an RBI double in the top of the 1st. Lenape would add on one more in the top half of the 2nd inning with an RBI single from Dylan Shank. That would be all of the scoring for the Indians after that half frame as St. Augustine would tie it up in the home half with an RBI double from Old Dominion commit Marco Levari and an RBI single from Shepherd University baseball commit Austin Sofran.
CJ Furey racked up 5 strikeouts in his final 3 innings of work totaling 7 strikeouts in 5 innings. Prep would take the lead and hold it there via an opposite field nuke from the bat of St. Joe’s baseball commit, Ryan Weingartner, for a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the 3rd. Future Rowan Prof Mason Dorsey got his name on the statsheet with an RBI single to ice it still in the bottom half of the 3rd. From there on out, the game was in the hands of three St. Augustine pitchers. CJ Furey would work until the 6th inning as future NJIT southpaw Holden DeJong came in for relief. DeJong struck out 2 and walked 3 in his 1 inning of work before Ryan Weingartner came on to slam the door shut in the top of the 7th. Weingartner K’d 3 straight batters to seal the deal for the Hermits. The celebration was on! Head coach Mike Bylone won his 3rd Diamond Classic as the skipper of the Hermits. This was St. Augustine’s 3rd title ever and their first since 2017 with their first ever coming in 2014.
“This group of seniors is special. They’ve been in some big games this year so we expect them to go out and lead us instead of us as coaches asking them to do so.” Coach Bylone had said. In a year where a last name like McKenzie, Peacock, Vanesko, or Vanderslice aren’t in the lineup, the winning tradition has stayed the same. Seniors Kyle Neri, Cole Frye, and Ryan Taylor (just to name a few) were all key parts of last year’s state finalist team who eventually fell 4-1 to St. Joe’s (Montvale) which can be credited to having experience in big game situations which will come in handy as we reach the backstretch of the 2022 season.
Chris Baker from NJ Athletics. You can reach Chris on Twitter (@cbake_51) or you can reach him by email (email@example.com). Be sure to check out NJ Athletics on Instagram (@NJAthletics) and on Twitter (@nj_athletics)