PANZINI, GLANCY LEAD RED BANK CATHOLIC TO SHORE CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIP

PANZINI, GLANCY LEAD RED BANK CATHOLIC TO SHORE CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIP 

By Mike Ready
 
LAKEWOOD – Red Bank Catholic sophomore righty and University of Virginia commit Shane Panzini was originally scheduled to start the Shore Conference Tournament final but the game was postponed due to imminent threats of thunderstorms.
 
However, with the game now scheduled for three days later due to the washout, senior right-hander and St. John’s University commit Vinnie Bianchi also became eligible to start in the final at First Energy Park in Lakewood.  
 
Bianchi (5-2) had thrown 109 pitches in going the distance in the Caseys’ 5-2 win over Manasquan in the SCT semifinals allowing just one earned run on four hits, helping RBC advance to the final and he was now good to go in the rescheduled final if asked.  
 
With both pitchers posting sub-1.00 ERAs this season and available for the final, it left RBC head coach Buddy Hausmann with a tough a decision to make on who he would pencil in to start. But after talking it over with his coaches, he diplomatically left it up to his senior ace to make the call.
 
“It was up to him (Bianchi),” said Panzini. “Coach said it depended on how Vinnie felt and I totally respected that. It was his last game as a senior and I have two more years of this left, so Vinnie came up to me and goes, ‘You can have the game; it’s all yours.’ I thanked him and we hugged.” 
 
Panzini then went out and capped off his brilliant sophomore campaign by tossing a one-hit shutout in the Caseys’ 5-0 win over Manalapan to lead RBC to their first SCT title since 2011 and second overall in program history.
 
He finished with four strikeouts and two walks to push his season record to 7-2 while lowering his already miniscule ERA to 0.66 with 73 strikeouts and 29 walks in 53 innings pitched. 
 
“You know he’s going to compete no matter what,” Hausmann said of Panzini’s outing. “He’s going to give you everything he’s got. He’s aggressive and puts us in situations to win.” 
 
Panzini threw just 91 pitches Wednesday in one of his most efficient outings of the season reaching 91 miles per hour on the radar gun at one point. He was working on a no-hitter until Tommy Guidice singled off him with one out in the top of the fourth for Manalapan’s only hit of the game, allowing just two baserunners the rest of the way. 
 
“Throughout the year, I learned how to let them hit the ball while throwing borderline strikes,” said Panzini. “If they make contact they ground out or pop up. I had a talk with my coach (Hausmann) and he said it’s way easier to pitch that way for me and my team. I use fewer pitches and I don’t get as tired.
 
“It wasn’t just me, it was the whole team,” added Panzini when asked how it felt as a sophomore to get the win. “I love all these guys. Vinnie played a huge part getting us here winning two of the four games in the tournament and we’re going to miss him next year for sure.” 
 
Senior centerfielder David Glancy put the Caseys up for good in the bottom of the third inning sending a bomb over the left field fence that landed in the grassy knoll far beyond the fences for a three-run home run. 
 
Sophomore left fielder Anthony Borriello led off the inning with an infield hit and senior second baseman Alex Gonzalez walked before coming around on the Glancy home run. 
 
“My first at bat I got a fast ball and drove it through the left side for a single,” said Glancy, who finished 2-for-3 with a home run, three runs batted in and a run scored. “So the second time up I had my same approach looking for a fastball to drive it to right center, centerfield, trying to hit the ball up the middle.  But he threw me a curve ball out front and I stayed back and drove it to left. I was just hoping it went out; it’s a little bit bigger here than Count Basie – there’s no better feeling.”
 
Glancy, a first-team All-Shore selection a year ago when he hit .360 with seven home runs, 26 RBI and 32 runs scored, missed all of April with a broken hamate bone in his left wrist and it’s taken most of the rest of the season for him to get his power-stroke back. 
 
“I just wanted to play with my guys,” said Glancy. “I couldn’t ask for a better team to play for, honestly. We all work so hard all season; every day and we play for moments like this.”
 
At Tuesday’s practice, however, Hausmann saw the old version of Glancy flashing his power and knew his slugger was back. 
 
“We saw it yesterday in practice and after BP (batting practice) my coaches and all I said, ‘he’s finally back,’” Hausmann said. “He was totally himself yesterday and today, finally.” 
 
Red Bank Catholic added two runs in the bottom of the fourth to hand Panzini a five-run lead that he seemingly, without effort, protected. 
 
Sophomore Robert Gonzalez, who went 2-for-2 with a run scored, led off the inning with a ground single through the 5-6 hole and scored on a wild pitch as did senior right hander Ryan O’Hara, who reached on an error by the pitcher, Ben Levine. Panzini’s perfect sacrifice bunt had moved both Gonzalez and O’Hara into scoring position. 
 
It was a tough week for Manalapan (24-8), which was on the wrong side of a highly controversial 1-0 loss to Eastern in the NJSIAA Group IV semifinals, that turned into heartbreak. On Tuesday, June 4 the team learned that David Korman – a sophomore on the JV team – passed away Monday night of natural causes.  
 
The team took practice off Tuesday but made the decision it was in the best interest of the team to forge on and play. Both teams gathered in a circle around home plate before the game in a moment of silence for Korman, who, according to head coach Brian Boyce, was a highly-regarded prospect that had a great year at JV and was a great kid with a great family.
 
Understandably, it’s been an emotional roller-coaster the last two days for the Manalapan players and coaches as they dealt with the tragedy. 
 
“It’s been a battle with each kid going through the process,” said Boyce. “Each is handling it differently. I think as an individual it’s how you cope – it’s been very difficult. My heart bleeds for the family. I think it’s more about the family than baseball right now.
 
“Buddy (Hausmann) was great,” Boyce added. “We talked about it but ultimately decided to play the game today. Whatever we needed; he was more than willing to accommodate us.” 
 
On a lighter note, during the Caseys’ post-game celebration, Bianchi got word that he was selected in the 35th round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. 
 
“One of my closest friends called me up from Midd South and said, ‘congratulations,’” Bianchi said. “I said, ‘thank you,’ thinking it was for the Shore Conference championship. Then I heard I got drafted and that was pretty cool. But we just won a championship and that’s all that matters now, so its really exciting.” 
 
Bianchi said he plans to sit down with his parents and discuss it but he intends to honor his commitment and play for St. John’s University. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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