Monarchs Battle to Tie Series but Aces Prevail in Deciding Game, 4-3 on Two McCourt Homers

Aug 04 2017 ABCCL League News | Comments Off on Monarchs Battle to Tie Series but Aces Prevail in Deciding Game, 4-3 on Two McCourt Homers

By ABCCL Media Staff

Wiliamstown, NJ After knotting the second round playoff series at one game each with a 4-3 win, the Monmouth Monarchs fell to the Jersey Aces by the same score in game two of their Friday doubleheader. The win propelled the Aces into the Championship Round versus the top seeded New Brunswick Matrix.

Having won the opening game in the playoffs’ second round, the Aces looked to end the series with a sweep and promptly picked up a run in the first inning of Game One. Ashton Bianchi (Mullica Hills, J/Manhattan College, NY) was hit by a pitch leading off the game, advanced to second on an error and scored on a double play to give the Aces a 1-0 advantage.

In the second inning the Monarchs bounced back, helped by three consecutive errors, which produced two unearned runs, followed by an RBI double by Isaiah Hall (Burlington Township, NJ/Lincoln University, PA).

Trailing 3-1, the Aces cut the lead to one run in the top of the fourth when Giovanni Torres (Harrisburg, PA/Lackawanna College, PA) walked and stole second. From there a ground single to left by Chris Roan (Woodbury, NJ/Rowan College of Gloucester County, NJ) made it a 3-2 game.

A double by Cid Porter (Lincroft, NJ/Catholic University, DC) leading off the seventh inning put a runner in scoring position for the Monarchs and Robert Carmody (Canton, MA/University of Hartford, CT) made the Aces pay when he singled to left, scoring Porter and upping the Monarchs’ lead to 4-2.

In the top of the eighth, it was the Aces’ turn to capitalize on a porous Monarchs defense. Jack Hanley (Martinsville, NJ/Pomona-Pitzer College, CA) rolled an infield single up the third base line and moved to second on an errant throw. A wild pitch allowed him to move to third and a second wild pitch produced the Aces’ third run of the game, closing the run gap to 4-3.

With only a half inning to work with the Aces managed a single by Roan in their half of the ninth but could not covert, sending the series into a deciding third game.

In the game, neither team could muster much offense, the Monarchs collecting four hits and the Aces three throughout the contest, as pitching and defense proved to be the deciding factors. On the mound, the Monarchs trio of Ray Hughes (Forked River, NJ/Stockton University, NJ), Regan Dombroski (Manasquan, NJ/Monmouth University, NJ) and Jake Alba (South Plainfield, NJ/Stony Brook University, NY), allowed just two earned runs and three hits while striking out 13. For the Aces, Mike Griffin (Robbinsville, NJ/Alvernia University, PA) and Mike Keith (Gloucester, NJ/Camden County College, NJ) were equally effective in their eight solid innings of work, allowing just a single earned run.

Game Two began to unfold in a similar fashion. Joe Rotelli (Morganville, NJ/Dominican College, NY) singled leading off for the Monarchs and moved to second on an infield error. After a strikeout, Monarchs clean-up hitter, Luke Hoyl (Dallas, TX/St. Edward’s University, TX) drove an RBI single to left, scoring Rotelli with the game’s first run.

The Aces answered right back in the home first inning, when after one batter had been retired, Matt McCourt (Mullica Hills, NJ/Mount Aloyisius College, PA) crushed a line drive homerun over the left field fence, tying the game at one all.

The score would remain 1-1 until the bottom of the fourth inning when a double by Joel Minch (Clayton, NJ/Rowan University, NJ), a wild pitch, and sac fly off the bat of John DeSantis (Southampton, NJ/Rutgers University-Camden, NJ) put the Aces on top 2-1.

Still clinging to their 2-1 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth, the Aces set the stage for some late game heroics when Torres singled with one out, bringing up McCourt. Monarchs’ hurler, Jake Alba, who had allowed only five hits to that point in the game, failed to work carefully enough to the Aces power hitter and paid the price. McCourt drove his second homer of the game to left, earning his third RBI and extending the Aces’ lead to 4-1.

With their season now on the line, the Monarchs staged a rally in the top of the ninth. Porter started the inning off by singling to left and moved to third on a double by Frank Bilancio (Chesterfield, NJ/St. Edward’s University, TX). Hoyl picked up his second RBI of the game on a sac fly to center, scoring Porter and advancing Bilancio to third. A ground out to second allowed Bilancio to cross the plate. But now, with the bases empty and down to their last out, the Monarchs comeback ended with a final infield grounder, cementing the Aces 4-3 win and a trip to the Championship Round.