KENILWORTH – The new pitch count rules will not alter how Dayton’s Joe Kastner goes about his business once he takes the mound.
“I’m just going to keep throwing my pitches, let my fielders make plays and go from there,” said the senior right hander Monday afternoon after he tossed a gem to start the 2017 season.
Kastner hurled a five-inning, complete-game, no-hit shutout – striking out eight and walking three – in halting host Brearley 11-0 at Black Brook Park. The Bears return seven starters from last year’s 8-13 squad that won two North 2, Group 1 playoff games before falling in the semifinals at top-seeded Bloomfield Tech.
It was Opening Day for both Union County Conference-Valley Division squads, with Dayton breaking the game open in the second inning with six runs.
Kastner, who tossed 81 pitches, struck out the first batter he faced looking. Of his eight strikeouts, only three were swinging.
“I stuck with my fastball because my curveball wasn’t working,” Kastner said. “I threw it more toward the end because they couldn’t catch up to it.”
Kastner retired the first nine batters he faced, including striking out the side in the third. He had six of his eight strikeouts in the first three innings.
“I felt like I had it as soon as I was warming up,” Kastner said.
Brearley had only three baserunners, all on walks. Leadoff batter Nick Ferrante in the fourth and No. 8 batter Carmen Marabella in the fifth battled Kastner hard by fouling off several pitches before reaching on walks.
Ferrante’s at-bat was eight pitches as he became the first Brearley batter to reach base this season. Marabella reached on a nine-pitch at-bat.
“I felt I pitched well, but I can do a lot better by not giving up the walks,” Kastner said.
Brearley, behind Kastner’s first two walks to Ferrante and Jesse Goncalves, had runners on first and second and one out in the fourth. Kastner kept the Bears off the scoreboard by retiring the next two batters on ground balls to third baseman Anthony Santucci.
“Joe had a great pre-season,” said eighth-year Dayton head coach Mike Abbate. “All his side and light sessions were really good as well as his preparation.
“When we were ahead 8-0 and Brearley had their baserunners, Joe came back to get the next two kids after 2-1 and 3-1 counts. He’s ready to step up.”
Brearley starter, senior right hander Ryan Griffin, walked two batters in the first inning, but got out of the jam without giving up a run. He walked three batters in the second and was not as fortunate.
Dayton, which had the leadoff batter on in all five innings – on three walks, a single and an error – reached the scoreboard first on an RBI-single to left field smashed by leadoff batter Adam Wuest. After the second run scored as the result of an error, Santucci – Dayton’s No. 3 batter – walked with the bases loaded for an RBI and a 3-0 Bulldog lead.
Kastner drove in the inning’s fourth run on a sacrifice fly to right and then Anthony Monguso followed with a two-run double to center to make it 6-0.
In the fourth inning Wuest drove in Dayton’s seventh run with a sacrifice fly to center and then the eighth run was the result of another Brearley error. Brearley’s three errors led to three unearned runs.
Later in the fifth the ninth Bulldog run came in after a fielder’s choice and throwing error. Lefty-batting Matthew Pavick followed with a two-run double to center for the game’s final scoring.
Bryce Forys, a junior, and Jonathan Holland, a senior, both had two hits for Dayton, the first by Forys on a bunt toward third base that also moved a runner over.
Dayton is coming off an uncharacteristic 7-16 season, with the Bulldogs dropping down to the UCC’s Valley Division. Dayton won the Valley Division title in 2010 and then captured the Mountain Division crown outright in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and shared with Johnson and Union Catholic in 2015.
“Our philosophy is that we have to win the game, we can’t worry about tomorrow,” Abbate said. “We still have to get better and continue to focus.”
Brearley returning starters include senior Jesse Goncalves in center, junior Nick Ferrante in right, senior pitcher-first baseman Antonio Sacca, senior pitcher-first baseman Ryan Griffin, junior shortstop Mike Ramos, junior catcher Joe Scanio and sophomore Vinny Rappa, Monday’s right fielder, who started some toward the end of last season.
Although the Bears did not manage to get a hit off Kastner, several players hit the ball hard, including Scanio on a fly out to right in the fourth and Griffin on a fielder’s choice ground ball to third, also in the fourth.
“I thought we did some nice things, but we, obviously, made some key mistakes,” said head coach Joe Capizzano, now in his 20th season at the helm of the Bears. “Ryan got a little frustrated when he didn’t get the low ball call. He can’t let that eat him up.”
Brearley’s miscues in the field could loom even larger in a game that the Bears produce offensively.
“We have to clean it up,” Capizzano said.
While Dayton was able to get in three scrimmages despite the harsh, snow-filled, March weather, Brearley was not able to have a single one this pre-season.
Brearley’s at-school baseball field was also not ready for a varsity game to be played on it.
“My first year (in 1998) we didn’t have any scrimmages and didn’t even step foot on a field until our first game,” Capizzano recalled.
CAPIZZANO A CREDIT TO COACHING PROFESSION
Joe Capizzano became Brearley’s head baseball coach when the school came back for the 1997-1998 school year.
He’s still in charge and continues to have a passion for what he does every spring.
Capizzano and boys’ soccer coach Vince McGowan are the longest-tenured coaches at Brearley.
“I have a good time, teaching the kids about baseball and life,” said Capizzano, who in 2009 joined fellow Brearley coaches Scott Miller, McGowan, Brian Luciani and Amy Efchak in leading Bears teams to sectional championships.
A 1988 Brearley Regional graduate who was Brearley’s starting shortstop as a senior on its 1988 squad that won the program’s only Union County Tournament championship and also reached the North 2, Group 1 final – falling to eventual Group 1 state champion Glen Ridge at Parsippany – Capizzano guided Brearley to Central Jersey, Group 1 sectional state championship games in 2004 and 2009. The 2009 squad that captured the CJ, G1 state championship went on to reach the Group 1 final at Toms River East, falling to Park Ridge.
“I love the game and I love that that kids love the game,” Capizzano said.
UNION COUNTY CONFERENCE-VALLEY DIVISION BASEBALL
Dayton (1-0, 1-0) 0 6 2 0 3 – 11 7 0
Brearley (0-1, 0-1) 0 0 0 0 0 – 0 0 3
Dayton senior RH Joe Kastner (1-0)
5 inning complete game: 0 runs, 0 hits,
8 strikeouts (3 swinging, 5 looking), 0 base on balls,
1-2-3 innings: first, second, third.
Pitch count: 1-11. 2-12. 3-16. 4-22. 5-20. Total: 81.
Brearley senior RH Ryan Griffin (0-1)
3 complete innings: 8 runs (6 earned), 5 hits,
0 strikeouts, 5 base on balls, 1 hit batter,
Pitch count: 1-15. 2-38. 3-24. Total: 77.
BREARLEY RELIEF PITCHER:
Antonio Sacca, senior RH
2 complete innings: 3 runs (2 earned), 2 hits,
0 strikeouts, 1 base on balls,
Pitch count: 4-16. 5-15. Total: 31.
Dayton – Bryce Forys (2, first one a bunt single), Jonathan Holland (2), Adam Wuest. Brearley – None.
Dayton – Anthony Monguso, Matthew Pavick. Brearley – None.
Dayton – None. Brearley – None.
Dayton – None. Brearley – None.
3-Adam Wuest, junior, second baseman
22-Matthew Pavick, senior, shortstop
13-Anthony Santucci, junior, third baseman
11-Joe Kastner, senior, pitcher
5-Anthony Monguso, senior, right fielder
6-William Hodic, junior, first baseman
7-Bryce Forys, junior, center fielder
12-Brian Schramm, senior, designated hitter
2-Jonathan Holland, senior, left fielder
14-Jack Quinn, junior, catcher (did not bat)
2-Nick Ferrante, junior, left fielder
13-Joe Scanio, junior, catcher
3-Jesse Goncalves, senior, center fielder
21-Ryan Griffin, senior, pitcher-first baseman
22-Vinny Rappa, sophomore, right fielder
30-Antonio Sacca, senior first baseman-pitcher
6-Danny Smith, junior, second baseman
15-Carmen Marabella, junior, third baseman
9-Mike Ramos, junior, shortstop