EHT vs. St. Augustine Prep baseball
Egg Harbor Township junior Jeff Maul takes a cut at a pitch from St. Augustine Prep's Mike Ritter in a Cape-Atlantic League game on Tuesday, April 28.
by Bill LeConey
EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP – The Egg Harbor Township High School Eagles have stretched their wings in tournaments near and far this baseball season - and played very well at times in foreign territory.
But at their home nest? That’s a different story.
The Eagles fell to 6-7 overall, 1-3 at home, with a 10-3 loss to St. Augustine Prep in a Cape-Atlantic League American Conference game on Tuesday, April 28. Prep senior Mike Ritter, getting a chance to start because of an injury to third starter Anthony Meduri, shut EHT down after a shaky first inning, retiring the final 13 batters he faced in a complete-game five-hitter.
“Today we didn’t get it done on the mound or at bat,” said EHT coach Bryan Carmichael. “I give (Ritter) credit. He’s behind three guys, but he’s getting the opportunity and making the best of it. We give guys opportunities here, and that’s what I keep harping on: when your number gets called, you’ve got to step up and get it done.”
The teams combined for eight runs in the first inning. St. Augustine (11-5, 6-2 CAL American) took a 5-0 lead with the benefit of six EHT walks. Kris Morgenweck and Matt McCourt each had RBI singles.
The Eagles (6-7, 1-4) scored three in the first on an RBI double by Todd Henry and two-run single by Kyle Transue. Matt Canale pitched well in relief for the Eagles, allowing just three runs in four-plus innings.
EHT is 5-4 on the road, including a 2-2 record at a tournament in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, earlier this month, and two big wins last weekend to capture the newly-named Bill Campbell Memorial Tournament at Eastern Regional High School.
The Eagles beat Holy Cross 10-3 in a semifinal and rallied to beat Eastern 6-5 in the championship game, handing the host team its first loss of the season. Tournament MVP Connor Agostino hit a three-run double with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the Eagles the championship (the Eagles were the home team in the final).
“Against Holy Cross we fell behind 2-0 and just exploded for 17 hits,” Carmichael said. “Where it came from, I have no idea. Eastern is the best Group IV school in South Jersey, and we’ve gone to their tournament the last two years and beat them.
“That’s why we keep telling these kids: we belong with these people. The biggest thing we don’t have here is a shutdown (starting pitcher), but (last) weekend we got good pitching, defense and hitting. When we put it all together, we’re a tough team to beat.”
Carmichael called the tournament championship “a positive end to a bad couple of weeks” that included a 12-hour bus ride back from Myrtle Beach, bad weather and poor field conditions that forced the Eagles to practice indoors, and “ugly’ losses to Holy Spirit, Absegami and Ocean City.
The victories at Eastern not only lifted the Eagles’ spirits, but lifted them into the top half of the South Jersey Group IV playoff bracket. They went from No. 13 to No. 3 in power points as of Monday, which would give them a home playoff game in the first round.
Teams accumulate power points and residual points from their first 15 games and the first 15 games of their opponents through the cutoff date of May 8.
EHT will reach 15 games by the end of this week with games at Vineland Thursday and at home against Oakcrest on Friday.
“I was hoping to go into the playoffs 9-6, that’s how we qualified last year,” Carmichael said. “I guess this year it’s going to be 8-7. We’re in the playoffs, that’s a good thing. Now we just have to build some momentum going in.”
EHT vs. St. Augustine Prep baseball
Egg Harbor Township senior Matt Canale pitched well in relief for the Eagles against St. Augustine Prep, allowing three runs in four-plus innings.