St. Joe’s ace John Torroella weathers delays and Spalding lineup as the Gaels advance in the MIAA A Conference baseball playoffs; Loyola/McDonogh postponed
by Joe DiBlasi
Friday’s rain certainly impacted the scheduled start of the the MIAA A Conference double-elimination baseball tournament, with one game getting postponed and the other experiencing an in-game stoppage, but No. 10 Mount St. Joseph and No. 14 Archbishop Spalding eventually played their contest to completion with the host Gaels coming away with a 9-2 victory, in Irvington.
The Gaels (19-8) prospered behind the strong right arm of ace John Torroella, who went the distance despite enduring a 40-minute rain delay which took place in the middle of the third inning. The first two and a half innings were played in light rain, which occasionally ramped up to more moderate to heavy downpours, ultimately forcing the umpires to halt play with the Mount leading 1-0.
When the game resumed, Spalding coach Joe Palumbo went to his bullpen instead of sending starter Ethan McCormick back out. The Gaels greeted McCormick with a three-run outburst, keyed by run-producing hits from Brad Kenjorski and Mike Rosen.
Kenjorski and Rosen, who hit third and fourth in the lineup for coach Phil Kraska, accounted for three more runs in the sixth, when Kenjorski plated two with a bases-loaded single and Rosen followed with an RBI double. They were a combined 6-for-8 on the day with seven RBI’s.
Kraska sent Torroella back to the mound after the wait, and it paid off. The tall righty went the distance, scattering six hits.
“After the delay, coach decided to stay with me, and I felt good when I went back out,” said Torroella. “It was a similar situation to last week when we played Gilman, and had a long delay before the game started, and that helped me a lot.
“My fastball, slider and splitter we’re all working today”.
Kraska said he discussed the decision of whether to send his ace back to the hill, after the rain delay, with his staff.
“We decided to go with John,” said Krask. “He has been carrying this team all year, and we wanted him out there to win this one. During the delay, I told our team to not lose focus.”
Jenkorski, who was 3-for-4 with four RBI’s, called it one of the most exhilarating games in which he has played.
“It was close through five innings, but we exploded in the sixth,” said Jenkorski. “Torroella was a beast again on the mound.”
Rosen, who was 2-for-3 with three RBI’s said, “Our senior class is stepping up, especially when we got that five-spot in the sixth. I was hunting fast-balls all day.”
Spalding skipper Joe Palumbo gave all the credit to the Gaels.
“They are just a better team than us,” said Palumbo. “They beat us three times this year, and showed it again today. They are a tough team. They take on the attitude of their coach, which is tough and energetic, and we had a tough time matching that with them this year.”
St. Joe will now travel to top-seeded and No. 2 ranked Calvert Hall on Monday for a second-round battle.
Friday’s other first round game featuring 6th-seeded McDonogh at 3rd-seeded Loyola was postponed until Saturday. Currently, the game is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on Saturday at Loyola. A decision will be made by 10:00 a.m. on Saturday as to the playability of Loyola’s field. If it is unplayable the game will shift to McDonogh. If the Eagles’ field is unplayable, the contest may be moved to Calvert Hall. When it is finally completed the winner will travel to second-seeded Gilman on Monday for the other second-round game.
Spalding (18-12) will play in an elimination game on Monday against the loser of Saturday’s game. If it is Loyola, the Cavaliers will travel to Blakefield. If it is McDonogh, Spalding will host the Eagles.
Pictured above: Brad Kenjorski (left) and Mike Rosen were a combined 6-for-8 with 7 RBI’s to lead the MSJ offense.
NO. 11 MOUNT ST. JOSEPH 9, NO. 14 ARCHBISHOP SPALDING 2
AS 000 101 0 — 2 6 2
MSJ 103 005 x — 9 8 2
McCormick, Vermillion (3), Collins (5), Mrotek (6), and Hulbert; Torroella and Looney
2B: AS-Blohm; MSJ-Grieb, Kenjorski, Rosen, Wyandt.