|VIDEO: St. John Vianney caps unlikely run, tops St. Joe's in final|
In a match-up of Cinderella teams, St. John Vianney completed its unlikely run to a baseball state title by defeating St. Joseph, 3-1. Great pitching and a tremendous catch lifted the Lancers to the Non-Public A championship.
St. Joe's, which most expected to fall off this season after losing first-round draft pick Rob Kaminsky, reached the final after surprising Bergen Catholic. But St. John Vianney was an even longer shot, as the eighth seed in the South section, and had to knock off two teams in the state's Top Ten.
Lancers pitcher Justin Chin retired the first 11 batters he faced, and kept St. Joe's off the board until the seventh. He got a huge boost in the sixth from right fielder Evan Pietronico, who made a leaping catch as he crashed into the wall, saving a possible two-run homer.
St. John Vianney scored in the second inning when Joe Rotelli doubled and came home on an error. The Lancers added two more in the third on a single by Anthony LaVigne. St. Joe's changed pitchers in the fourth, and freshman Devin Ortiz kept the Lancers hitless the rest of the way, allowing the Green Knights a chance to come back.
In the seventh, the first two hitters reached base, and Chin would exit the game one batter later. With two outs, Mark Fossati singled to bring in a run. But with the tying runs aboard, reliever Dan Schirmacher got the strikeout to end the game and give St. John Vianney its first state title in 33 years.
With this win at Toms River East High School, the Lancers finish the season 20-7. St. Joe's end up 24-6-1.
For sports video highlights of this New Jersey high school state tournament boys' baseball final game, click play in the box at left.