Baseball – Week 7 Jersey Mike’s Team of the Week: Donovan Catholic
In four years since Corey Hamman took over the Donovan Catholic baseball program, the Griffins have gone from a bottom-of-the-standings Class B South team to a two-time division co-champion with a roster that is packed with players who will be back for at least one more season beyond 2022.
Last week, Donovan Catholic added an accomplishment to its recent resume, playing its way into the Shore Conference Tournament semifinals for the first time in program history and as a No. 22 seed, no less.
After that Cinderella run to the Shore's final four, the Griffins can now add yet another distinction to their season: Jersey Mike's Team of the Week.
Donovan Catholic entered the Shore Conference Tournament as the No. 22 seed due to a shortage of wins outside of Class B South divisional play. Prior to their first SCT game, the Griffins' only non-divisional win was in the Ocean County Tournament first round against Jackson Liberty -- a Class B South team.
Once the SCT started, Donovan Catholic turned the tide. The Griffins started by knocking off No. 11 Manalapan in the first round of the SCT and three days late, they went to Christian Brothers Academy and pummeled the No. 6 seed, 11-1, with senior Shaun O'Keefe pitching a complete game to improve to 6-0 and junior Gavin Degnan hitting his seventh home run of the season.
Rather than have to beat a third straight Class A North opponent with Middletown South the No. 3 seed on that side of the bracket, Donovan Catholic traveled to Southern after the Rams upset the third-seeded Eagles in the prior round. After falling behind, 2-0, Donovan Catholic rallied for a 3-2 win to advance to the SCT semifinals.
Donovan Catholic went down swinging to Jackson Memorial, 7-3, in the semifinals on Tuesday, with the bottom of the Griffins order doing some fifth-inning damage against Auburn-bound left-hander Zach Crotchfelt. Before falling to the Jaguars, the Griffins made it three straight wins over Monmouth County opponents by upending Rumson-Fair Haven, 9-5, in a regular-season game on Monday.
With the Shore Conference Tournament run over, the Griffins turn their attention to the NJSIAA Tournament. Donovan Catholic is the No. 7 seed in the South Jersey Non-Public A section and will host Union Catholic on Tuesday, with the winner traveling to play No. 2 St. Joseph of Metuchen in the sectional quarterfinals.
Past 2022 Team of the Week Winners
Week 1: Shore
Week 2: Point Pleasant Beach
Week 3: Christian Brothers Academy
Week 4: Wall
Week 5: Southern
Week 6: Freehold Township