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High School Baseball:
Strong Pitching From Blackburn as Rams Win in Extra Innings

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

By Jerome Michaels
SJSports Special Correspondent

If it wasn't for that uncharacteristic loss during the Diamond Classic, Gloucester Catholic wouldn't have to prove themselves again that they were the same team that won some many games. In the South Jersey Non-Public B bracket, the second seeded Rams were hosting Mater Dei who was the seventh seed. In a pitcher's duel that advanced to extra innings, starting pitcher Matt Blackburn knew he had to continue pitching well after giving up late in the game. Still on the mound after keeping Mater Dei off the scoreboard during their top half of the eighth inning, Gloucester Catholic was able to score the winning run off of an error. The Rams 3-2 victory now advances them to the semi-finals.

During the post season tournament, all of a team's accomplishments are rewarded with a seeding position. The win/loss record of the team is thrown out the window and each team must play baseball against their opponent. Gloucester Catholic had an impressive record and knew how important it was to get ahead on the scoreboard in this playoff game. The scoring began with the Rams finally breaking a scoreless tie in during the bottom of the fifth inning. But Mater Dei responded with two runs of their own during the top of the sixth inning. Blackburn continued to impress as he finished the game with fourteen strikeouts. The winning run would be scored during the bottom of the eighth inning off of an error and Gloucester Catholic would advance to the semifinals.

Photos by Frank Crescenti