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South Jersey Showing Well in the Carpenter Cup

South Jersey Showing Well in the Carpenter Cup

So far the Carpenter Cup baseball tournament has been an affirmation of the strength of South Jersey baseball. Make that New Jersey baseball.

The 16-team all-star tournament for teams in the tri-state area, will have three New Jersey teams competing in the semifinals at Citizens Bank Park.

Friday’s
 semifinals matchups will find the Olympic-Colonial against Delaware North at 9:30 while the other 1 p.m. semifinal has Jersey Shore, a team with players from Ocean and Monmouth counties against Burlington County.

The chance to compete at Citizens Bank Park is what makes this tournament special. Teams play their first two rounds at FDR Park, located not too far from Citizens Bank Park.

It’s such an incentive to play at Citizens Bank Park, but winning two games in this tournament isn’t easy.

Just ask the Olympic-Colonial, a team consisting of players from the Olympic and Colonial Conferences.

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This is a franchise that has won five Carpenter Cup titles, the most in the tournament, which is in its 33rd year. Jersey-Shore also has won five titles.

However, the Olympic-Colonial hasn’t won a title since 1997. Last year the franchise earned a semifinal berth for the first time since 1997.

This year it didn’t look like the Olympic-Colonial would return to the semifinals, especially after trailing fellow South Jersey team Tri-Cape, 13-5 entering the bottom of the seventh inning.

Yet the Olympic-Colonial, guided by Eastern head coach Rob Christ, didn’t give up and ended up winning in stunning fashion, 14-13. Cherry Hill West third baseman tied the score with an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning and eventually scored the winning run on a wild pitch.

It was quite a day for Cherry Hill West. Eli Atiya, a lefthander from Cherry Hill West, earned the win with a scoreless ninth inning in which he struck out all three batters. That came after West Deptford righthander Dylan Wakeley pitched a scoreless eighth inning for the Olympic-Colonial.

When the team needed clutch relief pitching, Wakeley and Atiya delivered.

Olympic-Colonial will need good pitching in the semifinal against a Delaware North team that exploded for a second-round 26-9 win over Lehigh Valley.

Burlington County will also face a tough task in playing Jersey Shore, the defending Carpenter Cup champion.

While not as dramatic as the comeback staged by the Olympic-Colonial, Burlington County had to overcome a 3-1 deficit by scoring three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning for a 4-3 win over Delaware South.

Moorestown junior Brian McMonagle earned the win with two shutout innings, while Rancocas Valley junior Bryce Mangene got the save with a scoreless ninth inning.

The championship game is 10 a.m. on Saturday at Citizens Bank Park and as difficult as it is to get to the semifinals, winning the tournament is a true test of talent and depth that the South Jersey teams will look to demonstrate.

 

© SouthJersey.com 2018. All rights reserved. This article or parts thereof may not be reprinted or reproduced by any other party without the express written consent of SouthJersey.com. For more information, please call 856-797-9910.

For more Local Sports features, visit our South Jersey Sports page.


Author: Marc Narducci; Photo by Marc Narducci

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