Newark Eliminates Crusaders

LANCASTER-Two hits led to six runs and helped Newark Catholic pocket a Division IV regional championship Friday at Beavers Field.

The Green Wave scored twice in the third and four times in the sixth to end Catholic Central’s bid for a final four appearance with a 6-2 victory.

Newark Catholic, the defending D IV champion, will take a 19-7 record to Columbus next week. Central drops the curtain on its outstanding season at 22-6.

“We just made too many little mistakes,” Central coach Don Young said. “Things just didn’t go our way. We made a couple of mistakes in the field that we normally don’t make, perhaps trying to do too much. Those cost us some runs.”

Aleks Porreca started on the hill for Central, which reached the title game with a 6-1 victory over Paint Valley, and retired the first four batters he faced. Sean Thomas and Conor Keck connected for back to back singles in the Green Wave second. Porreca, however, punched out the next two Green Wave hitters looking to end the threat.

Newark Catholic got its initial tallies via two walks, a hit batsman, a fielder’s choice and a wild pitch.

The Crusaders had an opportunity in the home half of the fourth. Brenton Colabella chopped a lead-off single up the middle. Austin Oliver worked Green Wave starter Gabe Morris for a walk and Josh Merriman followed with a single to center. Colabella attempted to score on Merriman’s hit but was cut down at home.

Young’s crew showed off its defense in the Newark Catholic half of the fifth. Rob Engle lined a Chris Murphy (he took over on the mound for Porreca) pitch to left. He was denied a base hit thanks to a spectacular diving catch by Tony Barber. Hunter Nance then hit a sharp grounder to the right side. Crusader first baseman Josh Merriman delivered a diving stop and flipped to Murphy for the out.

Central’s offense came to life after the stellar defensive work. Johnny DiCarlantonio dropped a single into right-center with one out. Murphy drilled the first of his two doubles to the left field corner. Colabella was intentionally walked to load the bases. Engle, who took over for Morris, then drilled Stone Romano with a pitch allowing DiCarlantonio to touch the plate.

Unfortunately, the Green Wave responded by ringing up a four-spot in the sixth. Two singles, a pair of sacrifice flies and two Crusader fielding miscues led to the runs.

Murphy banged his second double to left in the Central seventh and scored on Colabella’s base knock.

The Crusaders finished with seven hits compared to six for the Green Wave. Central also left eight runners on base including three in the fifth.

“We had our chances but it just wasn’t our day,” Young commented. “We outhit them but we couldn’t get a big hit when we needed it.

“Give credit to our kids, thought, because they fought to the end. I’m extremely proud of them. We gave it a run at the end but we just had too many mistakes and you can’t do that against a good team like Newark Catholic.”

Colabella paced the Central offense with three singles. The senior shortshop went seven for seven in the two regional games. He had a triple, double and five singles while driving home four runs.

“Brenton really had two big days,” Young stated. “He led us and our younger guys tried to follow.”

The game was the final one for seven Central seniors (Colabella, Porreca, Merriman, DiCarlantonio, Michael Barber, Jacob Arai and James Sarlo).

“I’ve been here three years and these seniors have been part of 62 wins,” Young noted. “A number of them have been on the varsity for at least three yes and have played a lot. That’s quite an accomplishment to average more than 20 wins per season.

“They kept taking us farther and farther. I hated to see it end for them today.”