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  • Writer's pictureDan Russoman

Wildcats clip Cape May Tech

St. Joseph’s Ty Powell earned the win against Cape May Tech last week. (THG/Dan Russoman.To purchase photos in The Gazette, call (609) 704-1940.)

CAPE MAY COURTHOUSE—A strong outing by sophomore Ty Powell and some opportunistic base running helped St. Joseph Academy’s baseball team edge host Cape May Tech 3-2 on May 7.

The game was much different than the first meeting between the two teams in their season-opener on April 19, when St. Joe cruised to a 13-3 win.

“That’s baseball. It’s a crazy game,” St. Joseph coach Nick Core said.

“We’re a little banged up right now and we have some young guys playing, but we came out with a win,” Core said.

Last week’s matchup was the Wildcats’ first game after a week layoff. That long stretch of inactivity may have contributed to the game’s close outcome.

“I hate going [a week] without a game, it’s tough and I’m not trying to make excuses for our guys because we have to be better than we were today,” Core said.

Aiden Hoffman’s solo home run in the bottom of the first inning gave Cape May Tech an early 1-0 lead.

After stranding five runners through the first four innings, St. Joseph finally broke through in the top of the fifth.

After Nick Melchiore walked to start the frame, Jimmy Mantuano followed with a single. Ty Mercado then put a hard bunt down the first base line that was fielded by Tech first baseman Tanner Oliva who didn’t have a play on Mercado at first. Instead, he sent a wild throw to third which allowed Melchiore to score the tying run and send Mantuano to third. Gage Ambruster followed with a sacrifice fly to left that scored Mantuano for a 2-1 lead.

After Brock Mercado grounded out, Powell singled, driving in Mantuano for what would prove to be the winning run.

On the mound, Powell cruised through five innings, with Hoffman’s home run the lone hard-hit ball he allowed. The sophomore ran into trouble in the bottom of the sixth when an error led to a run for Cape May Tech, but he pitched out of an further trouble and with one out in the seventh, gave way to Ty Mercado, who retired the last two batters of the game to earn the save.

“Ty [Powell] has been our starter whenever he’s available. He shortens the game for us and he got us into the seventh. Other than the home run, nobody really hit the ball hard off him today. We had a few errors that hurt us, but other than that we played well,” Core said.

Powell allowed just four hits in the game, walking two and striking out five.

The win kept St. Joseph in contention for a Cape Atlantic League United Division title.

Since opening day, the Wildcats have fought injuries and inexperience.

“We have a lot of freshmen playing and we’re a little banged up. We have a lot of young guys who are getting their first taste of varsity baseball. They’re doing a good job, the effort is there. We get some guys back next week, so that should change. When we’re healthy, I think we’re a really good team,” Core said.

St. Joe’s week ended with a 7-3 loss at Paulsboro on May 8. Ty Mercado went 4-for-4 in the loss, while Brock Mercado drove in two runs and Mantuano scored twice.

Earlier this week, St. Joseph hosted Pleasantville in a game that ended too late for this edition.

On May 12, the Wildcats play at Millville at 4 p.m.

St. Joseph Academy’s golf team dropped matches to both Wildwood Catholic and Cedar Creek last week.

The Wildcats opened with a 167-213 loss to Wildwood Catholic at Pinelands Golf Course, and later in the week, hosted Cedar Creek at Pinelands and lost 170-249.

Earlier this week, the Wildcats hosted Vineland, but that match ended too late for this edition. On May 12, St. Joseph takes on Mainland at 4 p.m.


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