Gloucester Catholic South Jersey’s lone baseball state champion

by Marc Narducci | Jun 16, 2023
Gloucester Catholic South Jersey’s lone baseball state champion
There were three teams from the seven-county South Jersey area that earned NJSIAA baseball state championship appearances. 

Gloucester Catholic was the lone champ, clinching the Non-Public B state title with a 10-0 victory in six innings over St. Mary’s of Rutherford. 

Since the advent of NJSIAA state playoffs in 1971, no team in New Jersey has won as many state championships as Gloucester Catholic, which has now captured 20.

Senior lefthander Tanner Nolan, among the top pitchers in the state, won the state championship game. 

An even more impressive moment for Nolan was earning the win in the Rams’ 4-1 victory over Ranney in the South Jersey Non-Public B title game. Ranney entered the game ranked No. 2 in the state according to NJ.com, while the Rams were No. 7.

Nolan struck out nine and allowed three hits and one earned run in six innings in helping Gloucester Catholic win its 29th sectional championship against Ranney. 

In the state final, Nolan went the distance, striking out seven and allowing just two hits in the six-inning game that was shortened due to the 10-run rule.

For the season he finished with a 0.48 ERA with 91 strikeouts in 58 innings, according to Nj.com. 

Gloucester Catholic finished the season 24-7 and was the no-doubt No. 1 team in South Jersey. The Rams won the difficult Tri-County Royal Division. They were also the champion of the 24-team Joe Hartmann Diamond Classic, which features the top teams in South Jersey. And of course, there were the SJ and state Non-Public B titles. 

Coach Dennis Barth’s team won its final nine games of the season.

The other two state finalists from the seven-county South Jersey area both came from the Cape Atlantic League. Buena lost a heartbreaker to Pequannock, 5-4 in the state Group 1 final.

In the state final, the Chiefs scored four runs in the top of the first inning, but were shut out the rest of the game. Senior Aidan Carano went 2 for 3 with a run score an RBI for the Chiefs

The Chiefs finished their season 27-4. Besides winning the South Jersey Group 1 title with an 8-4 win over Audubon, Buena was also the champion of the Cape Atlantic League National Division.

The final South Jersey team to make it to the state final was Cinderella Mainland, which lost to Morris Knolls, 9-3 in the title game.

Mainland entered the state tournament with a 9-13 record, and would finish at 14-14. The Mustangs beat second-seeded Delsea, 6-4, to win the SJ Group 3 title and then defeated Middletown North, 6-5, in the state Group 3 semifinal.

Like Buena, Mainland got off to a quick start in the state final, taking a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning, but would go scoreless the rest of the game.

 

Still, for a team that was seeded just ninth in the South Jersey Group 3 tournament, it was quite a run for coach Billy Kern’s Mainland team.  

 

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Author: Marc Narducci

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