Winning the NJSIAA South Jersey Non-Public A sectional championship has been a stumbling block for the Red Bank Catholic baseball team for years. Despite being one of the state’s best teams each spring and winning championships like the Shore Conference and Monmouth County tournaments, the state sectional title eluded the Caseys – sometimes in painful ways such as blowing a 5-0 lead two years ago to St. Augustine in the final.
Not since 1997 had an RBC team captured the state sectional title, and no one was more aware of that than Casey Head Coach Buddy Hausmann. He was a junior playing for RBC when the Caseys last won the SJ NP-A title.
“I was sick of hearing about it,” said Hausmann.
Now, the RBC skipper has the distinction of not only playing on a state sectional champion but coaching one as well.
The 2023 Red Banks Catholic baseball team put to rest past frustrations by rallying to beat St. Joseph’s Metuchen, 4-1, and end a 26-year drought.
“It was great to win,” said Hausmann of finally clearing the sectional hurdle. “It’s so grueling to win it.”
Some of the bad luck and misfortune that had haunted RBC evaporated in the bottom of the sixth inning when the game tied, 1-1. A heads-up play on a pass ball led to a three-run rally and the 4-1 victory in front of Casey fans at Count Basie Field.
With the bases loaded, Sean Griggs was on third for the Caseys. When a pitch got past the St. Joe’s catcher, Griggs made a daring move, racing home to score the tie-breaking run. The Caseys would tack on two more runs to secure the win.
RBC starter Alex Stanyek and closer Ethan Marzo combined forces to get the win. Stanyek went 6.1 innings, fanning nine, and Marzo got the last two outs, polishing off a combined three-hitter.
RBC still had one game to play: for the overall State Non-Public A championship. Don Bosco Preparatory High School deprived the team of making further history, topping RBC 4-1.
“It was nice to get to the final,” noted Hausmann. “The kids played well. They had good at-bats. We just couldn’t get the hits to fall.”
What stood out about this year’s team, Hausmann pointed out, was their commitment to each other.
“This group bought into team first,” Hausmann pointed out. “It was all about playing for each other. It was an enjoyable group to be around. They were always willing to do anything for the coaches and each other. It was a tight-knit group with great camaraderie.”
There was talent too, of course, led by remarkable pitching. RBC had a combined team ERA under 1.7 runs a game.
“When you give up under two runs a game, you’re going to win 20 games,” said Hausmann.
Stanyek (Sr.), Declan Leary (Jr.) and Steve Svenson (Jr.) were the team’s main starters. Stanyek pitched to a 0.91 ERA and Leary, 1.11. Svenson’s ERA was 2.52. As the season progressed, Marzo (Sr.) emerged as the closer with a 0.64 ERA.
Ryan Prior (So.) and Dominic Mallamaci (Sr.) won multiple games as well giving the team a wealth of depth.
RBC’s offense had its standouts as well. Shane Andrus (Sr.) batted .430 with 28 RBI, 22 runs scored and five home runs – all tops on the team. Matt Brunner (Jr.) matched Andrus in RBI and batted .315. Dylan Passo (So.) had 21 RBI and 21 runs scored while batting .342. Stanyek led the team in runs scored (32) and had 16 RBI while batting .326. Griggs (Jr.) scored 25 runs and batted .400. Frank Scrivanic (Sr.) drove in 24 runs and scored 26, batting .333.
RBC finished the season with a 24-6 log, winning the Shore Conference A Central Division and a record-setting fourth straight SCT championship along with the state sectional crown. The Caseys reached the finals of every tournament they entered, winning the SCT and SJ NP-A, and falling in the Monmouth County (to Ranney) and State NP-A.
The Caseys were pre-season No. 1-ranked team, and despite that pressure, they were in the running for the top-ranking all year.
“They handled it very well,” said Hausmann. “It’s hard being No. 1 before you’ve played a game. You’re a target for every team you play.”
The Caseys have the hardware to prove they handled the pressure well and made program history.