By DAVE O’SULLIVAN Publisher BUENA VISTA TWP. — Following a masterful performance in which he dominated previously undefeated St. Augustine Prep to the tune of 15 strikeouts and just three hits and one run, Ocean City junior right-hander Sean Mooney said he felt great. Said he felt like he could have gone a couple more innings. Safe to say seeing Mooney for seven innings was plenty for the host Hermits. Sean Carew’s RBI double down the left-field line in the bottom of the sixth was about all the offense St. Augustine (6-1) could muster against Mooney, who got three runs from his offense in the top of the seventh to help close out a 5-1 victory for Ocean City (3-2). The only real trouble Mooney got into came in that sixth inning, when Carew followed up a 1-out walk to Anthony Meduri by lacing a double just inside the left-field foul line. That cut Ocean City’s lead to 2-1, but Mooney squashed any hopes the Hermits might have had for a rally by calmly getting a flyout and his 12th strikeout of the game to end the threat. Ocean City tacked on three insurance runs in the top of the seventh, and Mooney finished off the game in style by striking out the side in the bottom of the inning. Ocean City pitcher Sean Mooney makes a pickoff throw to first base during the Red Raiders’ 5-1 win over St. Augustine Prep on Monday afternoon. Mooney struck out 15 and allowed just three hits over seven innings. (Glory Days Magazine photos/Dave O’Sullivan) “I felt fine. I felt like I could have gone a couple more (innings). This win puts us right up there with them, it’s a big confidence builder going on through the season,” Mooney said. “It was a big game. This is the best I’ve felt all year. I was kind of rusty the first two starts. It felt great, especially coming back from a rough Florida trip, this was a big win.” Mooney may have understated the importance of a win over St. Augustine Prep — one of the most prestigious baseball programs in South Jersey — on the Hermits’ home field, but catcher Jeremy West said not to be fooled. He said Mooney wanted to win this game, badly. “Unbelievable. Spot on, every single pitch, did his job and what we needed him to do. He had the fire in his eyes and he wanted it more than anybody on the field,” West said. “Coming back from Florida, we struggled the last game with energy, and we wanted to make sure we came out with really good energy. We wanted to beat them more than anything. They are our toughest competition, and we did our job.” “We knew we were playing one of the best teams in South Jersey and that Sean would have to be on. We thought we would get some runs. We’re pretty confident in our hitting. But to shut that team down like that, he was a beast today, it’s that simple. He was on, his pitch count was low, he was outstanding. I don’t know what else to say. He really just said I’m going to win this game,” said Ocean City head coach Craig Mensinger. “I have some strong relievers to put in that spot. But I asked my pitching coach (Anthony DeLeo) after six innings, ‘where is his pitch count at? I lost track of it after the third inning. And he said, ‘he’s fine.’ I went to the pitcher because coaches always say that, and I said, ‘Sean, how do you feel?’ He said he felt great. And he’s honest with me if he’s tired because there’s a bigger picture for that kid. He was awesome. That was the best outing he’s had in a while.” Ocean City jumped on the board early, as Mooney hit a 2-out double in the top of the first and came around to score on Joey Clifford’s RBI triple. The Red Raiders added another run in the third when Josh Arnold laced a leadoff double to left-center and came around to score on an infield error. Ocean City then loaded the bases, but Hermits starter Bill Chillari worked out of the jam with a strikeout and a 4-6-3 double play. Chillari was pretty good in his own right, allowing just two runs on six hits while striking out six in five innings. Joey Clifford picked up a pair of RBIs to help pace the Red Raiders’ offense during their win over the previously undefeated Hermits. The Red Raiders tacked on three runs in the top of the seventh off the Hermits’ bullpen to stretch the lead to 5-1. Clifford ripped an RBI single up the middle and then courtesy runner Marti Shaw, running for Mooney, scored from second on an errant pickoff throw to first. Doug Shallcross added a run-scoring single to left to cap the rally. Mensinger said the team’s recent trip to Florida, where the Red Raiders went 1-2 and lost to Faith Baptist — a team that had already played 33 games and was loaded with talent — helped prepare the Red Raiders for tough competition that the Cape-Atlantic League American Conference is sure to provide this season. “Absolutely (beating St. Augustine) a confidence builder, but I think we gained some confidence when we had to face that team in Florida that was 30-3 and had two pitchers throwing in the 90s,” Mensinger said. “Mooney had a home run off a kid who was throwing 93 mph. There were 13 scouts there with their radar guns. So that helped us. We were in a big moment already this year, so this big moment, we were used to it.” West said that being behind the plate for a performance like the one Mooney turned in was a thrill for him. “It was fun. Awesome. It’s a mutual thing between me and him, we work well together. After the first inning, he was spot on with every fastball,” West said. “(Assistant coach Ron) Moretti did a great job calling pitches, I placed it for him, and he hit his spots. It was picture perfect.” Contact Dave O’Sullivan: firstname.lastname@example.org; on Twitter @GDsullysays [adsense]
About The Author
Sully, as he’s known throughout South Jersey, began his newspaper career in 1995 and has worked for some of New Jersey’s top papers, including The Asbury Park Press and Press of Atlantic City, as a writer and editor. He’s earned several New Jersey Press Association awards and continues to produce high quality reporting, writing and photography. A native of Ocean County, Sully played high school baseball at Lacey Township High and college baseball at Pfeiffer University in North Carolina. After a successful 15-year career in the newspaper business, Sully launched Glory Days Magazine in 2013 and for nearly a decade has been bringing fans outstanding and insightful coverage of high school sports throughout South Jersey.
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