|VIDEO: Morris Catholic blanks Morristown-Beard in section final|
Few gave Morris Catholic a chance to be here, in the North Non-Public B sectional final, let alone to win the title. But the underdog Crusaders played like champions to earn an unlikely title.
Morris Catholic shut out county rival Morristown-Beard, 7-0, in the sectional final at Belleville High School. Junior pitcher Alex DiCocco fired a four-hitter, striking out five and showing tremendous confidence on the mound.
The Crusaders moved ahead for good on Matt Devlin's two-run single in the second inning. Devlin added a sacrifice fly in the fourth, and a second run scored on an error on the play.
An RBI single by David Ferrara highlighted a two-run fifth inning that made it 6-0 and erased nearly all doubt. Ferrara had two hits, as did Ryan Tiefenbacher and Drake Brown, and the Crusaders had 11 hits overall.
Meantime, DiCocco was keeping the Crimson off the basepaths. Morristown-Beard's only real threat came in the third, when it put runners at second and third with one out. But DiCocco got a strikeout and a groundout to escape unscathed.
Morris Catholic played flawless defense, highlighted by a couple of excellent plays by shortstop Justin Johannessen. The young Morristown-Beard team, on the other hand, struggled in the field. The fifth-seeded Crimson finish the season at 17-11.
Morris Catholic, the sixth seed in the North bracket, takes on Rutgers Prep on Saturday in Toms River, seeking its first baseball state title in 42 years.
For sports video highlights of this baseball state tournament sectional final, click play in the box at left.