Tri-Cape Once Again Headed to Citizens Bank Park

by Marc Narducci | Jun 21, 2024
Tri-Cape Once Again Headed to Citizens Bank Park
 The Tri-Cape has continued its stellar play in the Carpenter Cup, earning its fourth straight trip to Citizens Bank Park in a semifinal matchup against Delaware County.

This is the 38th season of the Carpenter Cup, sponsored by the Phillies and it consists of 16 All-Star teams from New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania. The first two rounds are played at Philadelphia’s FDR Park, but the real lure is getting a chance to play the semifinals and finals at Citizens Bank Park.

The Tri-Cape consists of players from the Tri-County Conference and Cape Atlantic League. 

They won the Carpenter Cup championship in both 2021 and 2022. Last year the Tri-Cape lost to Jersey-Shore, 8-1 in the championship game.

This year’s semifinals will be staged on Monday, June 24 and the championship is the next day.

Here is the schedule

Monday June 24 - Semifinals

Inter-Ac/Independents vs. Jersey-Shore, 9 a.m. 

Delaware County vs. Tri-Cape, 12:30 p.m. 

Tuesday June 25

Championship, Citizens Bank Park, 9:30 a.m.

Tri-Cape opened this year’s tournament with a 13-6 win over fellow South Jersey franchise Burlington County. Three different players had two RBI–Delsea senior left fielder Fran Master, Kingsway senior catcher Tommy Popoff and Williamstown senior outfielder Jake Slusarski. 

What made it more impressive is that the Tri-Cape played without two of its top pitchers, Gloucester Catholic senior Tate DeRias and St. Augustine senior Matt Kouser.

DeRias was the winning pitcher in Tri-Cape’s 5-2 quarterfinal victory over the Philadelphia Catholic League. He was the starter and allowed one run in three innings. (Pitchers can throw a maximum of three innings per each Carpenter Cup game). 

“I’m really excited, it means a lot playing at the Phillies Stadium,” said DeRias, who is a University of Miami commit and a candidate to be selected in the MLB First-Year Player Draft which takes place July 14-16. “The Phillies are my favorite team, and it should be pretty cool to pitch on that mound and the field I always go to watch the pros play.”

Tri-Cape got a big performance from Mainland senior righthander Brady Blum, who pitched two scoreless innings with three strikeouts against the Catholic League. Blum entered the game in the sixth inning with his team leading 3-1, but runners on first and second and no outs. He walked the first batter (who had 1-0 count when Blum entered the game) to load the bases.

Blum then struck out the next three batters. 

Not bad for somebody who was originally selected as an alternate for the team.

Blum had a simple mindset when coming into such a difficult situation in relief.

“I felt I had to calm everything down and shut it down,” said Blum, who says he plans to walk-on at Delaware. “…It was a situation where you get in there and try not to overthink it and then crush it as best as you can.”

Now Tri-Cape will attempt to return to the title game after last year’s loss to Jersey-Shore and the previous two championship efforts. 

“I think these kids just take pride in representing the Tri-Cape franchise and I think that’s why we’ve been able to be successful,” said Tri-Cape head coach DJ Gore, who earlier this season won his 300th game at Highland. “We have a group of really talented kids, and they make our job easier.”

Photo: Tri-Cape's Tate DeRias / Marc Narducci 

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Author: Marc Narducci

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