CBA baseball surpassed preseason expectations

Colts won two titles

BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer

Anthony Cirillo and his teammates all heard preseasonwhispers. Itwas going to be a down year for ChristianBrothersAcademy (CBA) baseball. The Colts weren’t up to the program’s standards.

“There were no expectations,” said the junior from Freehold Township. “Coming into the year we heard that CBA is not as good as they were. Coach [Marty] Kenney told us to take it as a challenge. We really worked hard.”

What was supposed to be a not-sorepresentative Colts team turned into one that can take its place with the program’s other champions. The Coltswon two championships in ’08 – Shore Conference A North Division and the NJSIAANon-PublicASouth Jersey title and on Saturday, in the steamy heat, played undefeated Don Bosco for the State Championship in Toms River. TheColts fell just short of a state title falling 5-4 to the 33-0 Ironmen, who are ranked No. 3 in the country.

“We played real good, we had nothing to lose,” said Cirillo. “They gave us some opportunities. We didn’t get the big hit.”

The Colts had runners on second and third with no one out in the top of the seventh, but stranded them there.

CBAreached the Non PublicAfinal in an unlikely way…a dropped fly ball. The Colts trailed Gloucester Catholic 4-3, with two outs and two on. Dan Avella lofted a routine fly ball that everyone assumed ended the game and CBA’s season. But, Gloucester’s center fielder dropped the ball and Cirillo, who was on first, was able to score the winning run after teammate Mike Hanlon had tied it from second.

“I was just running hard,” recalled Cirillo. “I saw the ball hit the heal of his glove and fall out.”

Cirillo was able to beat the throw home and the Colts had picked up their second title of the year with the 5-4 win.

“We caught a break,” Cirillo noted.

The Colts (20-9) proved to be a worthy finalist pushing the Ironmen to the end.

For Cirillo, it was a coming-out season. He was moved to the leadoff in the batting where he thrived as the team’s catalyst, getting on base and batting .375.

“I felt more comfortable,” he said.

The Colts were a young team led by Cirillo,Avella and undefeated pitcher Pat Light (11-0), who are all juniors. Another play in the mix is Shawn Purves, also from Freehold Township and also a junior, who plays second base.

The Colts won’t have luxury of being the underdog next season. But, that is fine by them. They were proved they were champions this spring.