Eustace is the Diamond champion again

Eustace is the Diamond champion again Bishop Eustace continued its season-long dominance by capturing the 47th annual Joe Hartmann Diamond Classic with an 8-1 win over Williamstown in the championship game at Pitman’s Alcyon Park.

That improved the Crusaders record to 20-0 in earning their seventh Diamond Classic title. This is the single-elimination tournament that consists of 16 of South Jersey’s top teams. The tourney's winner has frequently earned the No. 1 spot in South Jersey.

The Crusaders won their seventh Diamond Classic title, the most of any team in the tourney’s 47-year history.

Eustace received a vintage performance in the championship from senior lefthander Anthony Solometo, who pitched 5 ? shutout innings, striking out 12.

Solometo has committed to the University of North Carolina, but he is a potential first-round draft choice in the MLB first-year player draft.

First baseman David Alleva, a Stony Brook commit, led the offense with two RBI doubles.

Williamstown had entered the final on a roll, having won 10 consecutive games.

Bishop Eustace opened the Diamond with a 9-0 win over Maple Shade as Joe Mascio pitched the complete game shutout, allowing just four hits and striking out 12.

The Crusaders then had their most difficult game in the Diamond with a 2-1 second round victory over Kingsway.

Solometo went the distance, allowing two hits and striking out 15, while walking three.

Senior Ian Petrutz, who will attend the University of Maryland, hit a two-run home run in the sixth inning.

The Crusaders then earned a 9-1 semifinal win over Gloucester Catholic. Righthander Danny Kerr, a Rutgers recruit, pitched a complete game, allowing just four hits while striking out 12.

Raffaele Rogers and Christian Ovecka each had two RBI for the winners.

The title win over Williamstown was another in a long list of accomplishments for veteran coach Sam Tropiano.

Earlier this season Tropiano, who began his head coaching career at St. Augustine, earned his 700th career win.

The Crusaders usually play one of the top schedules in South Jersey, which makes Tropiano’s record even more impressive. Besides competing in the Diamond, Eustace began the week leading the Olympic Conference National Division. This is a competitive division which this year consists of quality teams such as Cherry Hill West and Paul VI.

In addition, the Crusaders are the top seed in what should be a very competitive South Jersey Non-Public A tournament.

Eustace has earned a first-round bye in the 11-team tournament.

The Crusaders last won the Diamond in 2015. Eustace’s other Diamond Classic titles have been in 1987, 1991, 1999, 2004 and 2012.

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Author: Marc Narducci

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