August 2, Holmdel, NJ – Having defeated the New Jersey Angels in a 2-1 nail bitter in their first round playoff matchup, the Monmouth Monarchs again relied on strong pitching to hold the Medford Starz at bay and advance in the winners’ bracket of the ABCCL playoffs.
Monarchs’ starter, Ryan Hill (Katy, TX/St. Edwards University, TX) allowed a single run in the visitors’ first inning when Starz lead-off man, Shane Albertson (Marlton, NJ/Eastern University, PA) walked and stole second base. Hill recorded two quick strike outs but didn’t escape before allowing a hard RBI single by Ryan Keen (Berlin, NJ/Alvernia University, PA). His third strike out of the inning prevented further damage.
For the next four innings Hill continued to dominate, throwing shutout ball while allowing just two harmless hits, not issuing a walk adding four more strikeouts to his total.
The Monarchs offense responded in the home second. Joe Santigate (Staten Island, NY/Wheaton College, MA) drew a lead off walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. After a fly out, Anthony Santoro (Manalapan, NJ/Rutgers Univ. – New Brunswick, NJ) crashed a double to right-center, scoring Santigate. Walks to the next two Monarchs batters loaded the bases for Joe Iacobellis (Morganville, NJ/Alvernia Univ., PA) whose fielder’s choice ground out to deep short chased Santoro home, giving the Monarchs a 2-1 lead after two innings.
Scoring resumed in the fifth when Iacobellis drew a walk. A one-out single by Christian Estevez (River Edge, NJ/Rider University, NJ) and to Alex Galy (New Orleans, LA/Tulane University, LA) set up another bases-loaded opportunity for Luke Hoyl (Dallas, TX/St. Edwards University, TX) who came through with a single to center, driving in two.
With his team up 4-1, Hill returned to the mound and after a quick ground out surrendered a single to the Starz’ Joe Coyle (Wilmington, DE/West Chester University, PA). A walk to Albertson and a successful double steal moved Coyle to third where a ground out by Stephen DeBellis (Marlton, NJ/Widener University, PA) pushed him across before Hill retired the side on his eighth strikeout of the afternoon.
On this night a two run lead was all the Monarchs would need to secure their 4-2 victory. Adam Ashenfarb (Morganville, NJ/Union College, NY) relieved Hill, retiring three straight Starz batters in the seventh.
In the eighth, John Floegel (Summit, NJ/Babson College, MA) came on to claim the two inning save allowing just a single during his stint that ended in familiar fashion as he fanned the final batter. It was the eleventh strikeout of the game for the Monarchs’ hurlers.
In a battle of the playoffs’ only two remaining undefeated teams, the Monarchs will travel to Freehold to take on the Clippers, Thursday at 5:30 PM at Michael J. Tighe Park.