By Steven M. Glassman
Director of Sports Information
April 7, 2019
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ—Manor College (4-12 Overall, 2-4 Region XIX Division III) freshman pitcher Briant Loya (Philadelphia, PA/Parkway Center City) (2-2) threw a complete game, striking out eight as the Blue Jays defeated the Atlantic Cape Community College Buccaneers (10-11, 6-7), 6-4, in game one of a doubleheader at Surf Stadium.
The Blue Jays opened the scoring versus Buccaneers freshman starting pitcher Pat Spina (0-2), scoring twice in the first. Sophomore shortstop Jose Romero (Philadelphia, PA/Frankford) singled to right. Sophomore first baseman Hector Morales' (Philadelphia, PA/Esperanza Charter) single to right advanced Romero to third. Morales stole second. Atlantic Cape freshman catcher Jake Morrissey's passed ball scored Romero and moved Morales to third. Sophomore right fielder Cristian Diaz (Philadelphia, PA/Franklin Towne Charter) walked and stole second. Sophomore catcher Abimael Mercado (Philadelphia, PA/Juan Ponce De Leon [PR]) walked to load the bases. Sophomore designated hitter Sauriel Baez' (Philadelphia, PA/Esperanza Charter) single to left scored Morales.
The Buccaneers answered with three runs in the bottom of the first. Sophomore Oscar Tejada led off with an infield single and freshman center fielder Brian Dickson also reached base. Freshman shortstop Justin Maniero singled to right to load the bases. Sophomore first baseman Kyle Eppright's none-out, single to right scored Tejada and Dickson and tied the game at two. Eppright advanced to second on the throw. Maniero scored a run to take the lead, 3-2, after one inning.
Manor took the lead for good in the top of the second. Freshman center fielder Shawn Vega (Philadelphia, PA/Olney Charter) singled to center with one out and Vega stole second. Romero walked and he and Vega stole second and third, respectively, on a double steal with one out. Diaz' double to center scored Vega and Romero to give the Blue Jays a 4-3 lead and knocked Spira out of the game. Spira was replaced by freshman Tim Jones.
The Blue Jays' defense played a role in the bottom of the second. Buccaneers freshman left fielder Nathan Koss reached base to lead off the inning and moved to second on Tejada's single to left. Dickson's flew out to Diaz and Koss attempted to advance to third, but, was thrown at third by Diaz on the play. Tejada advanced to second on Diaz' throw. Romero threw to Morales on a Maniero ground ball to end the second inning.
Neither team scored between the third and fifth innings.
Manor added to its lead in the sixth. Sophomore second baseman Abdur Mujahid (Philadelphia, PA/Boys Latin) walked versus Jones and advanced to second when Jones hit Vega with a pitch. Romero reached on a fielder's choice to second and moved Mujahid to third. Morales' two-out double to center scored Mujahid and Romero to give Manor a 6-3 advantage.
Atlantic Cape sophomore designated hitter Anthony Barretta walked with one out and advanced to third on Koss' double to right. Tejada walked to load the bases. Dickson's two-out sacrifice fly to center scored Barretta to close the gap to 6-4.
Loya struck out Eppright and freshman right fielder Phil Santa Maria swinging to start the bottom of the seventh. Sophomore third baseman Sean Dillon singled to center. Representing the tying run at the plate, Morrissey grounded out, freshman third baseman Eddie Colon (Philadelphia, PA/Olney Charter) to Morales, to end the game.
Batting Leaders: Diaz went two-for-three (including a double and triple) and two RBI and a walk. Morales went two-for-four (including a double) and two RBI. Romero scored three runs. Mercado walked twice. Vega stole two bases for the Blue Jays.
Dillon went two-for-four. Eppright knocked in two runs for the Buccaneers.
Pitching Leaders: This is Loya's second complete game of the season. He also pitched a complete game in game one of a doubleheader versus Region III Division III Corning Community College on March 17, 2019.
Spina started the game for Atlantic Cape, striking out four in 1 2/3 innings. Jones finished the game in relief, striking out five in 5 1/3 innings.
About Surf Stadium: Surf Stadium (aka "The Sandcastle") was the former home of the Atlantic City Surf from 1998 through 2008. The field's dimensions are 309 feet to left and right fields and 400 to center. The Surf played in the independent Atlantic (1998-2006) and Canadian-American (2007-2008) leagues. They were also charter members of the Atlantic League. The Surf won two South division titles (2002 and 2005) and the league's inaugural championship in 1998. They also reached the Canadian-American postseason semifinals in 2007 and 2008.