By Phil Anastasia
No. 1 Gloucester Catholic could face No. 2 Eastern in the first round of the 40th annual Joe Hartmann Diamond Classic baseball tournament.
Gloucester Catholic (14-1), the No. 1 team in The Inquirer Top 10, projects as the No. 1 At-Large team in the 16-team tournament since the Rams won't have played enough games against division opponents to qualify as the TriCo Classic Division champion.
Eastern (15-1) projects as the likely Olympic American representative although the Vikings could be overtaken for the division spot by Washington Township. Eastern plays at WT on Wednesday.
Under the set format of the Diamond Classic, which rotates matchups every year, the Olympic American champion will face the No. 1 At-Large team in the first round of the tournament.
The 40th Diamond Classic begins with first round games on May 11. The second round will be May 18, with the semifinals set for the morning of May 19 and the finals that evening at Eastern.
Under Diamond Classic rules, the Tri-County Conference is split into two divisions for the purposes of selecting the two representatives -- the Royal Division and the Classic Division.
As a result, teams in the TriCo's Diamond Division are moved "up" to the Royal or "down" to the Classic, based on enrollment.
Gloucester Catholic was moved "down" to the Classic this season. But the Rams won't have played six games against Classic Division opponents by the May 5 cutoff date, so they will not be eligible to be the division representative.
Pitman or Pennsville are likely to represent the TriCo Classic division.
Gloucester Catholic almost certainly will be installed as the No. 1 At-Large team.
-- Contact Phil Anastasia at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @PhilAnastasia on Twitter.