Another Strong Season for Bishop Eustace Baseball

by Marc Narducci | Jun 5, 2024
Another Strong Season for Bishop Eustace Baseball
This is the week in South Jersey high school baseball where the champions are feted and rightly so with the sectional and state finals taking place.

Yet there are some truly great teams that don’t win a sectional championship but still enjoyed an outstanding season. 

There is no greater example than Bishop Eustace.

Guided by veteran Sam Tropiano, the Crusaders finished with a 21-7 record. They won the Olympic Conference National Division, with a 9-1 mark. The Crusaders have dominated the National Division for many years. 

Actually, Bishop Eustace has been a force in the state tournament. Since the advent of NJSIAA playoffs in 1971, the Crusaders have won eight state titles. 

This year Eustace advanced to the South Jersey Non-Public B championship game before losing 2-1 to perennial state power Gloucester Catholic. 

This year’s team had one of the best pitching staffs in South Jersey and it showed during the state tournament.

The Crusaders beat Holy Spirit, 3-1 as senior Rutgers commit Landon Mack pitched a complete-game two-hitter, striking out 12.

The Crusaders then beat Holy Cross Prep, 6-3 in the semifinal. While Mack was available to pitch, he was held out because Eustace rightly knew he would be needed against the powerful offense of Gloucester Catholic. 

Juniors Jack Torrence and Lucas Edwards limited Holy Cross to one earned run. 

Then in the sectional championship, Mack pitched a gem in a losing effort. He allowed just one earned run on four hits, while striking out nine and walking none, although he did hit three batters.

Mack is a serious candidate for South Jersey Player of the Year. 

According to NJ.com stats, he had a 0.55 ERA in 51 innings, with 85 strikeouts and just eight walks. When he didn’t pitch, Mack was a first baseman, and he had just as big a year at the plate, batting. .365 with nine home runs and 27 RBI. 

This is a Eustace team that should continue to be among the best in South Jersey. Sure, it will be extremely difficult to replace Mack on the mound and the plate, but the Crusaders will bring back plenty of accomplished veterans. 

Torrence (1.09 ERA) and Edwards (1.98) will return along with fellow junior Chase Brandt (3.50 ERA in 16 innings). 

Sophomore third baseman Dante Bell was the prototypical leadoff hitter. He led the team in batting average (.437) and runs (25). Freshman center fielder Dante Matarese hit .328 with a team-high eight stolen bases. Sophomore right fielder Roman Faiola batted .432 in 44 at-bats. Sophomore second baseman JJ McLaughlin hit .289. 

While Eustace has to replace several quality seniors, there is enough experience to keep the Crusaders among the top teams in South Jersey next season. 

Photo: No. 23 Roman Faiola / Marc Narducci

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Author: Marc Narducci

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