Top Baseball Showing for South Jersey Non-Public Teams

by Marc Narducci | Jun 10, 2024
Top Baseball Showing for South Jersey Non-Public Teams
Of all the upsets in the NJSIAA baseball state tournament, St. Augustine beating Delbarton, 12-5 in the Non-Public A final ranks among the biggest.

Don’t tell that to St. Augustine (20-9) which felt all along it could win the title. 

It’s just that Delbarton was ranked No. 1 in the state by NJ.com, and the Green Wave were riding an 18-game win streak that included a 3-2 regular season win over eventual Non-Public B state champion Gloucester Catholic. 

It was a title that took two days to accomplish, since the game was halted in the top of the fifth inning with St. Augustine leading 12-4 when a downpour made the field unplayable. The game was resumed the next day and St. Augustine senior Matt Kouser allowed just one run in three innings of relief to earn the save.

The most explosive inning of the season, and quite possibly in the history of St. Augustine, occurred in the third inning when the Hermits scored 11 runs, highlighted by a grand slam from third baseman Alex Bersani. 

What really helped St. Augustine is that the Hermits played one of the toughest schedules in South Jersey and it paid off come tournament time, earning the school its third baseball state title.

Winning state titles is commonplace at Gloucester Catholic, which leads the state with 21 championships since the advent of NJSIAA playoffs in 1971.

Title No. 21 came with a 10-0 win in five innings over St. Thomas Aquinas. Senior righthander Tate DeRias threw a no-hitter, striking out 13. DeRias is a University of Miami commit, but he is also a candidate for the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, which takes place between July 14-16.

Either way, despite his departure, Gloucester Catholic looks to continue contending for state titles. The Rams (27-2) have a young team that will not only compete for a state title next season, but should again be among the top teams in New Jersey and possibly nationally. 

Two other South Jersey teams earned state final appearances. Delsea (27-4) lost to a hard-hitting Morris Knolls team, 11-3 in the state Group 3 championship. 

It was still a great season for Delsea, which won the Tri-County Conference Liberty title with a 10-0 mark, and advanced to the championship of the 32-team Joe Hartmann Diamond Classic, before falling to Cherry Hill West, 3-1. 

Eastern (27-6) lost to an extremely talented Bridgewater-Raritan team, 6-4 in the Group 4 state title game. Trailing 5-0, Eastern got back in the game on a grand slam by senior shortstop Sam Winsett in the third inning. 

The relief pitching of Bridgewater-Raritan (30-3), however, was too much for Eastern.

Still, it was another banner season for the Vikings, who won their second straight South Jersey Group 4 title.

Photo: St. Augustine / Marc Narducci

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Author: Marc Narducci

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