Stezzi Leads Eastern to Win over Bishop Eustace


TJ Hunt
Director, PBR New Jersey

PENNSAUKEN –– In a wild game that seemed to turn 180-degrees by the end of the fourth inning, Eastern defeated Bishop Eustace 15-8. Dylan Stezzi led Eastern with four RBI on the day, including a solo homer to deep centerfield and a two-run double that he dropped into left field.

Stezzi has emerged as an interesting player for the Vikings, not only for his offensive prowess as the cleanup hitter in the batting order, but also for his unique defensive abilities. As covered by Josh Friedman of the Courier Post (Philadelphia) earlier this season, Stezzi is a left-handed catcher, and a pretty good one at that. Left handed catchers are not common in baseball for several reasons, as Friedman pointed out in his April 3rd article:

  • Throws to third base are more difficult
  • Attmepts to second base are more difficult because right handed batters are in the way, and naturally throws to second base run more toward third base upon receiving, making the tag more difficult for the middle infielder
  • Tagging runners at home is more difficult

However, on this day, Stezzi showed that he could compete with the best in South Jersey not only at the plate, but behind it as well:

 

Stezzi had some help from his teammates in what would turn out to be a 15-8 victory over a talent-laden Bishop Eustace squad. 2020 1B Sam Portnoy went 2-4 with two runs scored and an RBI while Isaac Fendrick had the go-ahead hit in the top of the 5th inning, a two-run single to put the Vikings ahead for good.

Bishop Eustace jumped out to an early 5-0 lead through three complete innings, with the help of a four-run bottom of the first. Eustace's top-half of the order is certainly up there with one of the most potent in the state, with 2018 Pittsburgh recruit Sky Duff, talented uncommitted 2020 Chase Conklin, Maryland recruit Matt Orlando, Campbell recruit Mike Guzzardo, and speedy Penn State recruit Johnny Piacentino. Eustace will certainly score their runs this season, and in a crazy game, they ended up doing just that – only not as much as Eastern on this day.

On a cold, overcast afternoon, the Vikings took advantage of 13 Bishop Eustace walks and two hit-by-pitches. Even with a powerful lineup, it's difficult to collect outs and prevent the other team from scoring with that many free bases in one game. Sky Duff homered and Orlando was 3-3 with two RBI and a walk to lead the Crusaders offensively, with Piacentino pitching in with 2 RBI as well.

As the weather finally starts to break as the season moves on, expect both teams to compete for sectional crowns and South Jersey's coveted Diamond Classic Championship. 

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Eastern (4-1) 0 0 0 2 7 0 6 15 9 1
Bishop Eustace (2-1) 4 0 1 0 0 0 3 8 7 3

Eastern:
2B: Stezzi, Jesse Barbera
HR: Stezzi
RBI: Eric Greenwald 2, Stezzi 4, Jack Herman, Barbera, Fendrick 2, Sam Portnoy, Matt Karpousis

Bishop Eustace:
2B: Matt Orlando, Johnny Piacentino
HR: Sky Duff
RBI: Duff, Orlando 2, Piacentino 2, Joe Oczkowski 2