Prep Baseball Report

Story and Recap of Gloucester Catholic vs. Barnegat

TJ Hunt
Director of Scouting, New Jersey

CAMDEN -- Yesterday we saw probably the top pitching matchup that New Jersey High School Baseball has ever seen. In a state that in the past decade has maneuvered itself into the top echelon of high school baseball talent, that statement could have been thrown around once or twice before. On this day, however, we saw a no doubt first rounder - and probably top ten pick in this June's MLB Draft - take on another no doubt draft pick, and possible first rounder, in front of 6,000 people at Campbell's Field. "6,000 people?!" one might ask - yes 6,005 to be exact, for a high school baseball game. That is about the same amount the reigning NCAA baseball national champion University of Virginia gets when they play a home Regional Game. That is something that has never been seen before in New Jersey, and probably never will again. That is something special to say, coming from a state that has produced MLB stars Mike Trout and Todd Frazier and Jersey bred  prospects Rob Kaminsky (28th overall, 2013 draft to the Cardinals, now with Indians), Pat Light (37th overall, 2012 draft to the Red Sox current major leaguer), and Rick Porcello (27th overall, 2007 draft, major leaguer for the Red Sox) - just to name a few.

On this day, we saw the top team in the state, Gloucester Catholic take on a tough Barnegat squad - Gloucester Catholic's 2016 right-hander Tyler Mondile a Florida State commit, took on Barnegat's 2016 left-hander Jason Groome - a Vanderbilt commit and top draft prospect in the country. The sea of major league scouts and cross-checkers raised their radar guns in unison as if they were saluting each prospect's golden arm, and Groome and Mondile more than lived up to the hype of their names and of the game.

Barnegat was the first team to threaten to score. In the top of the second, Groome led off with a walk, and number five batter Justin Deifenbach reached on an error to make it first and second for the Bengals with nobody out. Barnegat's catcher senior Max Ritner attempted a sacrifice bunt to move the runners up a base - but a miscommunication in GC's infield left first base open for Ritner to beat out a base-hit bunt. With the bases loaded and nobody out, Mondile locked in. The 6-foot-3 righty struck out the next batter for the first out. On the next play, Barnegat's Anthony Lani attempted a safety squeeze bunt, which was bunted right back to Mondile, who tossed it to GC catcher Sam Punzi for a force out at home for the second out. Mondile then struck out the next batter to end the inning, and leave the bases loaded for the Bengals. 

The lone run of the game came in the bottom of the third. GC's 2018 RF Jason Bobiak led off the inning with a single, and advanced to second on a passed ball. GC's Kyle Pierman then laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt down the third base line, which was thrown away, scoring Bobiak from second. Groome got out of the inning with help from outstanding play by catcher Max Ritner. On another bunt attempt by GC's 2018 SS Evan Giordano with Pierman on second because of the error, Ritner popped out and gunned down Pierman at third, then caught Giordano attempting to steal second on the next play. Groome then struck out the next batter for the third out.

That was the only noise either team would make for the rest of the game. GC threatened again in the fourth, but Groome was able to weather the storm and work out of the jam with a couple strikeouts. After the second inning threat by Barnegat, Mondile took over the game - not allowing a base runner past second base. 

Final numbers for Groome in a tough-luck loss: 6 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 14 K. 91-93 early on, 76-79 MPH curveball. dropped to 89-91 as the game moved on.

Final numbers for Mondile: CG 7 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 10 K. 92-95 early on, 75-77 MPH breaking ball - dropped to 89-92 as the game wore on - still had room to dial it up to 93-94 in big spots later in the game.

This is what NJ High School Baseball is all about. Two good teams playing against each other in front of a sold out audience - something these kids will remember for the rest of their lives.