What had been a quiet weekend ended with a big-time bang for the St. Augustine Prep baseball team.
The Hermits erupted for eight runs on nine hits in the final two innings to stun top-ranked and previously undefeated Gloucester Catholic, 8-6, on Sunday in the marquee matchup of the two-day, seven-game Coaches vs. Cancer showcase at Millville.
"We'll remember this the rest of our lives," said St. Augustine sophomore third baseman Gerry Peacock, who delivered a pair of two-run singles in the Hermits' improbable rally.
After a 1-0 loss to Old Bridge on Saturday, St. Augustine was behind, 6-0, to Gloucester Catholic after five innings before a large crowd on an overcast afternoon at Mike Trout Field.
"We were like, 'This can't be happening again,' " St. Augustine rightfielder Kevin Eaise said of the possibility of losing back-to-back games by shutout.
St. Augustine (8-3), the No. 4 team in the Inquirer Top 25, got an RBI single from Joe Bonczak and a two-out, two-run single from Peacock in the sixth.
In the seventh, the Hermits scored five times, as Eaise rapped a two-run double and Peacock hit another two-out, two-run single.
"The senior leaders in the dugout, they were telling us to stay in the game, to get loud," Peacock said.
St. Augustine also got strong work from relief pitchers John Halbrunner, Paul Meduri, and Cole Vanderslice, who combined for 41/3 scoreless innings.
Vanderslice, a sophomore righthander, struck out the side in the seventh, showing a fastball that touched 87 mph on radar guns and a nasty slider.
"I'd like to have his future," St. Augustine coach Mike Bylone said.
Lillo Paxia had two hits with an RBI and a run scored for Gloucester Catholic (13-1), the No. 1 team in the rankings.
Gloucester Catholic starter Brendan Bean, a Penn recruit, made his debut for the Rams after sitting out half of the season as a transfer from Wildwood.
Bean, a lefty who touched 91 mph with a fastball in the first, allowed just three hits through five innings but was charged with seven of the Hermits' eight runs in the final two frames.
"Give St. Augustine credit," Gloucester Catholic coach Adam Tussey said. "We had chances to put the game away and didn't do it."
St. Augustine 000 003 5 - 8 12 1
Gloucester Cath 114 000 0 - 6 7 0
WP: Paul Meduri. LP: Brendan Bean.
2B: SA-Josh Hood, Kevin Eaise; GC-Lillo Paxia.