Tag: Kevin Cust

Immaculata falls to Ranney, 10-1, in Non-Public B title game

In so many ways, it didn’t play out like many people thought.

There prevailing thought was their might be a lot of scoring in the Non-Public Group B title game, especially after a home run to lead off the game by Ranney pitcher A.J. Gracia. But even though Immaculata got a run back in the second when Spartans’ starter Josh Thompson came home on a wild pitch, the game was a pitchers’ duel headed into the sixth, with both starters going well, and the score still tied at one.

The thing was, both pitchers were nearing the standard 110 pitch limit. And all of a sudden Josh Thompson was in trouble, allowing a leadoff walk and a bloop single to Gracia and Brett Wehringer, then after a strikeout, and RBI infield hit by Jack Tallent to break the one-all tie. And that’s when the floodgates opened, and there was no going back.

After a groundout back to Thompson, Diego Tavarez knocked in two runs with a single to give Ranney a 4-1 lead.

Then in the sixth, Ranney got plenty of insurance, scoring six more runs in an inning that saw more walks (five) than hits (three). And the Panthers still left the bases loaded.

Final score: Ranney 10, Immaculata 1, to win the Non-Public Group B title, the Panthers’s first.

Thompson took the loss, while Gracia got the win. The loss ends Immaculata’s season at 14-13, but it was a highly successful year, as a four-game run through their playoff section – including a win over top-seed Rutgers Prep – culminated with a come-from-behind walkoff win against Gill St. Bernard’s last Friday in the North B final, 8-7, giving Immaculata its fifth sectional title in program history, which is what the season will most be remembered for.

Well, that and their turnaround from an 0-3 start, a season that didn’t see them string together more than three wins in a row until the playoffs, which they entered with a sub-.500 record, and came out on the other side with a trophy.

Click below for postgame reaction with starting pitcher Josh Thompson and head coach Kevin Cust:

Sophomore Josh Thompson
Immaculata’s Josh Thompson (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)
Head coach Kevin Cust

Coming together: Immaculata grew from Day One in ’22, now playing for state title

It’s been a long and winding road – and sometimes full of hills, too – for the 2022 Immaculata Spartans.

And yet, somehow, maybe even by way of a miracle, they’re in the the state finals Wednesday.

That is not to say there was no talent involved. Heck, there was plenty of that. But everyone in ‘Lata-land is still buzzing over what happened last Friday at Diamond Nation in Flemington.

The Spartans had been through the gauntlet of the Skyland Conference Delaware Division. Night in and night out, tough outs like eventual division champ Hunterdon Central, eventual Somerset County Tournament champ Ridge, Somerville, Bridgewater, and we could go on.

In the states, they won big in the opening round, beat Prep B runner-up Morristown-Beard in the quarters, and ran roughshod over SCT finalist Rutgers Prep – the top seed in the section in the semis – and all of a sudden found themselves down 7-0, and getting no-hit by Gill St. Bernard’s.

They wound up winning that game 8-7 on a walk-off bases-clearing double by Jason Capindica, to claim the program’s fifth sectional championship, and first in a dozen years.

So here they are: Wednesday, the Non-Public North B Spartans will take on South B champ Ranney out of Tinton Falls, 7 pm at Veterans’ Park in Hamilton.

Central Jersey Sports Radio will have all the action, live and free – click here to listen – with Mike Pavlichko and Chris Tsakonas calling all the action.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Immaculata coach Kevin Cust about the Spartans’ run to the state finals:

Spartan Miracle: Powered by Capindica, Immaculata rallies from seven runs down to shock Gill St. Bernard’s, win Non-Public North B crown

Starter Mike Warzeniak went down to an early injury, the bullpen was struggling to hold it together, and Immaculata was getting no-hit into the fifth.

In short, things looked pretty bleak for the 5th-seeded Spartans in the Non-Public North B title game, and 6th-seed Gill St. Bernard’s looked well on its way to winning its first-sever sectional title.

But the bullpen eventually settled, Aidan Rumain shutting out Gill in the top of the sixth, and that’s when the tide turned.

Immaculata got three runs in the bottom of the sixth, two off a homer down the left field line from freshman Jayden Capindica, but had still only cut a 7-0 deficit to 7-3.

Then, after another scoreless inning from Zimmerman, and two more runs in to get it to 7-5, Capindica came up again, with the bases loaded, two out, and a 1-2 count.

Down the line, opposite field to left, bases clear, ‘Lata walks off with an 8-7 win, and the Non-Public Group B title.

It’s the Spartans’ fifth sectional championship, and their first since 2010, when they won the Group A championship.

Now, they get to take on South B champion Ranney, the top-seed in that section, which beat two-seed Gloucester Catholic 8-7 Friday afternoon in Tinton Falls. That title game will be at either 4 or 7 pm at Veterans’ Park in Hamilton, and Central Jersey Sports Radio will have the game for you live.

Click below for interviews with head coach Kevin Cust, and freshman Jason Capindica:

Freshman Jayden Capindica
Head coach Kevin Cust

Editor’s Note: This story has been corrected to say Adam Rumain pitched the last two innings for Immaculata, not Greg Zimmerman.

Opening Day! No. 6 Somerville and Immaculata square off in longstanding rivalry

To walk from the front door at Somerville High School to the front door at Immaculata High School, or vice versa, is only about 3,000 feet. As the crow flies, it’s even closer.

Friday, they will be on the same baseball field at the Torpey Athletic Complex in Bridgewater as they face each other in Game One of the 2022 season, the first truly normal year in three seasons in the sport.

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There was no season at all in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and even last year, though there were state playoffs, there was no Somerset County Tournament.

Immaculata had an uneven 2021 campaign, finishing 8-13, but making a run to the Non-Public South B semifinals, where they lost to eventual group champion Holy Spirit. Somerville went a terrific 20-4, and made it to the North 2, Group 3 semifinals, where they lost to Cranford, which then lost to Millburn in the sectional title game.

Mike Pavlichko and Chris Tsakonas will call all the action of today’s Opening Day ballgame at Torpey, with pregame set for 3:45 and first pitch set for 4:00. Click here to listen to the game for free, with no paywall.

Click below to hear preview interviews with both head coaches:

Somerville head coach Chris Banos with Mike Pavlichko
Immaculata head coach Kevin Cust with Chris Tsakonas