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South Jersey Baseball History:
First Parochial 'A' and 'B' State Championships

Friday, July 21, 2000

By Charlie Schick
South Jersey Baseball Historical Society

First Parochial 'B' State Championship - 1972

As in the previous two state baseball crowns won by South Jersey high schools, outstanding pitching was behind Bishop Eustace Prep's New Jersey State Parochial B championship 3 to 1 win over Pope Pius XII of Passaic. This time around it was senior redhead Dan Boyer who came forward to lead his South Jersey teammates to the state's highest honor.

After a rocky first inning when Pope Pius produced their only run of the day, Boyer settled in and shutout the Eagles over the last six frames of the contest. In fact, after surrendering two singles in the 4th inning, he didn't allow a hit the rest of the way.

The Prep tied the game at 1 to 1 in the bottom half of the first, and it was Boyer who helped his own cause with a key hit. Eustace shortstop Dom Mancini worked his way on base with a walk to start the rally, and a sacrifice moved him to second base. Mancini then stole third base and rode home on Boyer's infield hit that knotted the contest at 1-1.

Poor fielding by the Pope Pius Eagles in the 3rd frame gave the Crusaders their chance to rap up the championship quickly and they didn't miss the opportunity. Center-fielder Tony Acerbo started things by reaching third base on a throwing error and came home on right-fielder Walt Bak's single. Bak then crossed the plate when Boyer's hot shot to shortstop was thrown wildly to first base. When the dust finally cleared, Bishop Eustace held a 3 to 1 lead and a chance at capturing their first state baseball championship. Although he had to fight off spells of dizziness and ill feelings during the late innings, Boyer surrendered only 2 hits the rest of the way in shutting out the challengers over the last four frames.

Right-hander Dan Boyer not only hurled a 3-hitter to pick up his 8th win of the year. He also was the game's leading hitter going 2 for 3 with a double and one RBI. His mound totals were just as impressive showing 3 hits allowed, 9 strikeouts, 3 walks and 1 run over 7 innings of work. Not bad for a guy who said he was not feeling 100% throughout the whole game.

First Parochial 'A' State Championship - 1973

Once more an area high school used great pitching to bring the state title back to South Jersey. This time Camden Catholic High used the strong left arm of their star hurler Dan Potts to defeat Seton Hall Prep 2 to 1 in extra innings and capture the New Jersey Parochial 'A' championship.

The Irish opened the scoring in the top of the 3rd inning and it was Potts who delivered the key blow. With second baseman Jim Vendetti on base via an infield hit and two outs in the inning, Potts stroked a drive to deep left-field for a triple to plate the contest's first run.

In the bottom half of the 3rd, the Seton Hall Pirates tied the score at 1-1. Although Potts did surrender a double in the inning, his left fielder lost the ball in the sun and it was a throwing error that resulted in the tying but unearned run.

The Pirates kept the pressure on as they threatened to brake the game wide open by loading the bases with no outs on three singles. But, Camden Catholic center-fielder Mike Yeager, first baseman Mike Maher and catcher Mike Karbach executed a perfect double play on what appeared to be a surefire sacrifice fly. The outstanding defense gem killed the rally and seemed to completely demoralize the Pirate players.

The contest stayed tied at 1-1 going into the 9th inning. In the top half of the last inning, however, the Irish finally broke through to take a 2 to 1 lead. Once again it was Potts who delivered the clutch hit, when he singled to score Mike Karbach with the eventual winning margin.

The Pirates didn't go quietly, however, as their center-fielder Ken Negri leadoff the bottom of the 9th with a ringing triple. But once more Potts had the answer when he struck out the next two batters and then picked off Negri at third base to end the game.

Without question, this championship day belonged to Dan Potts and his fabulous play on the mound and at the plate. His strong left arm allowed just 6 hits and no earned runs as he struck out 7 in 9 innings of work. Offensively he was just as productive, stroking a single and triple that drove in both of Camden Catholic's runs.

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