By Casey Egan’
August 5, 2016/Holmdel, NJ – Friday evening at St. John Vianney High School the Angels and Monarchs faced off to see who will be playing the Freehold Clippers for the 2016 ABCCL Jerry Lillis Cup Championship. Both teams battled hard in Friday’s match-up but ultimately it was the Monarchs who prevailed.
The Angels were first to get on the board when Steven Weisensee (Clark, NJ/Misericordia University, PA) lined a one-out single into center field. Bobby Gramer (Millstone, NJ/Middlesex County College, NJ) was up next and lofted a double into the left-center field gap driving in Weisensee to give the Angels a 1-0 lead.
The Monarchs fought back in the bottom half of the first when Alexander Galy (New Orleans, LA/Tulane University, LA) reached on an infield single. Christian Estevez (River Edge, NJ/Rider University, NJ) was next and ripped a double down the left field line to put men on second and third with one away. Anthony Santoro (Manalapan, NJ/Rutgers University-New Brunswick, NJ) was then able to drive in Galy with a sacrifice fly to center field to even the score at 1-1.
The Angels came back with a run in the top of the third when Luke Bowerbank (Bernardsville, NJ/Rutgers University-New Brunswick, NJ) hit a one-out single to right field. Bowerbank was followed by Weisensee who drew a base on balls, which brought Gramer to the plate with men on first and second. An error at third base allowed Bowerbank to score, giving the Angels a 2-1 lead.
It was not until the bottom of the seventh inning that the Monarchs were able to open things up. Joseph Santigate (Staten Island, NY/Wheaton College, MA) started the inning off with a single to center field. With one man out, Crescenzo Ciliberto (Philadelphia, PA/Mercer County Community College, NJ) drew a walk. A double steal then put men on second and third for Luis Hidalgo (Ridgefield, NJ/Bloomfield College, NJ) who also walked to load the bases for Joe Iacobellis (Morganville, NJ/Alvernia University, PA). Iacobellis delivered with a single driving in Santigate and Ciliberto, turning the tables on the Angels and giving the Monarchs a 3-2 advantage. With men on first and second, Galy stepped into the box and crushed a fastball high over the right center field fence to up the score to 6-2 Monarchs. The Monarchs went on to post one more run in the bottom of the eighth inning when Santigate ripped a solo home run to center field, setting the final score at 7-2.
Although his team did not come out on top, Angels starting pitcher Kevin Brown (Toms River, NJ/Fairleigh Dickinson University-Florham, NJ) delivered five strong innings on the mound allowing just one run on four hits and one walk.
On the winning side, James Torres (Bloomfield, NJ/Rutgers University-New Brunswick, NJ) pitched six strong innings for the Monarchs allowing two runs on four hits, two walks, and struck out seven. Xavier Czepiel (Southampton, NJ/University of Maryland Eastern Shore) came on in relief in the top of the seventh. Czepiel allowed no runs on one hit and one walk to earn the save.
Iacobellis was glad to help his team get the win on Friday with his go ahead RBI single in the bottom of the seventh. When asked about his clutch at bat he said, “I was just trying to keep a clear head after having a rough day at bat yesterday. I was able to flush that out of my memory and not to get ahead of myself. I focused on getting a good pitch to hit and was lucky enough to connect with one.”
With their win, the Monarchs have earned the opportunity to defend their 2015 ABCCL championship against the Freehold Clippers Saturday morning with the 2016 ABCCL Jerry Lillis Cup Championship on the line. The game will be played at 11am at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft. After long, highly competitive season both teams deserve credit for reaching the final game. It will be exciting to see who comes out on top!