By Jim Hintelmann
LITTLE SILVER – Before the start of the area scholastic baseball season. defending champion Red Bank Catholic and St. John Vianney were regarded as the teams to beat in the A Division Central.
Totally overlooked was Monmouth Regional, which was picked by some to finish last. But the Golden Falcons have been one of the area’s surprise teams this year with a five game win streak following an opening season loss to RBC.
The Falcons are currently in first place in the division and have kept going with a 3-0 non-division win over Red Bank Regional on Friday and a 12-2 A Central rout against Raritan Saturday. Monmouth’s win streak was halted on Monday when they lost a game to Rumson-Fair Haven, 7-1.
“We were picked to finish last in our division by some people,” said winning pitcher Corey Shevlin after the Red Bank game, “but we wanted to show them what kind of team we have.”
Shevlin scattered five hits and struck out seven while walking only two batters in winning his second game of the season.
“My fastball was working today,” said Shevlin. “I couldn’t get the curve to work that well, but the changeup was my best pitch today.”
Monmouth got the only runs it would need in the first inning when it scored twice off losing pitcher Nick Massa.
Matt Vincent led off with a walk, stole second and scored on John Bonczik’s single. Bonczik moved to second on a wild pitch, took third on Dan Valerio’s infield out, and scored on Christian Hoplock’s sacrifice fly.
“We have a young team with only three seniors,” said Monmouth’s new coach, Paul Crivello. “Shevlin pitched a heck of a game and kept us in the contest. The kids are all playing great and I’m happy about that.”
Monmouth picked up an insurance run in the fifth when Valerio reached on a fielder’s choice and later scored on an outfield error.
Red Bank never got past second base and its best scoring chance came in the fourth inning when Sean O’Connell walked and stole second with one out. Shevlin, however, struck out the next two batters.
Vincent collected two hits, stole three bases and scored four runs in Monmouth’s rout of Raritan.
“We couldn’t capitalize on scoring opportunities,” said Red Bank’s new coach, Nick Tucker, “but you have to give their pitcher some credit.
“We have to get back to fundamentals,” he said. “But the kids are working very hard and should improve with every game.”
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