Another Great Year for Gloucester Catholic

by Marc Narducci; Photo Marc Narducci | Jun 29, 2018
Another Great Year for Gloucester Catholic

Some may look at the record and would say it wasn’t a vintage season for Gloucester Catholic’s baseball team, but the Rams ended up in a familiar scene – holding a state title trophy in the last game of the season.

Gloucester Catholic went 20-8, which isn’t one of its better recent records, but one that also deserves more examination.

The Rams were a young team that stated slowly losing to teams from the Tri-County such as Schalick, Glassboro and Clearview, where were all highly competitive teams, but ones that Gloucester Catholic is used to winning against.

Yet after the slow start, the Rams began rolling. They were even impressive in defeat, losing a first round Joe Hartmann Diamond Classic game, 4-3 to eventual Non-Public A state champion St. Augustine.

That type of difficult schedule prepared the Rams for the state tournament. They had a difficult task in winning the South Jersey Non-Public B title, having to travel to No. 1 Immaculata.

In addition, Immaculata was among the top offensive teams in the state and that made Gloucester Catholic’s 5-1 win that much more impressive.

Evan Giordano, who would later be named The Philadelphia Inquirer’s South Jersey player of the year, opened the game with a home run.

The pitching of Andrew Vail and Ian Murphy held down the high powered attack. Vail, the starting pitcher allowed the one run in 4 2/3 innings, while striking out 11.

Murphy then pitched 2 1/3 hitless innings.

Gloucester Catholic then had an easier time in the state final, beating DePaul 10-3.

Since the advent of NJSIAA playoffs in 1971, it was the 19th state title for Gloucester Catholic, more than twice as many as any other team.

Giordano, who played shortstop, batted .543. he had 51 hits, 14 doubles, 12 home runs, 42 RBI and 47 runs scored. He is headed to Stony Brook to continue his educaiot and baseball career.

Vail was another consensus all-South Jersey performer. He was 7-2 with a 2.42 ERA with 72 strikeouts in 37 2/3 innings. The lefthander has earned a scholarship to Maryland.

Gloucester Catholic’s other all-South Jersey performer was junior outfielder Lillo Paxia, a third-year starter. Paxia, who has long been committed to Florida State, batted .612 with 10 doubles, three home runs and 32 RBI. Paxia, who walked 20 times, also scored 29 runs. He will be a candidate for South Jersey Player of the Year next season.

This was a senior laden Gloucester Catholic team but coach Adam Tussey will have some good players to build around next season. And Gloucester Catholic expects to contend every year and next season should be no different.

In addition to Paxia, junior first baseman Luke Lesch batted .385 with four home runs and 33 RBI. Junior infielder Tyler Cannon hit .433 with three home runs and 27 RBI. Sophomore righthander Tyler Parks was 4-0 with a 2.80 ERA. Freshman lefthander Anthony Solometo was 4-0 with a 3.64 ERA.

So the expectations will remain high and rightly so for a program that expects to seriously contend and win state titles on a yearly basis.

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Author: Marc Narducci; Photo by Marc Narducci


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