PITMAN (N.J) - A lot has happened over the past 22 years since Gloucester Catholic last won a Joe Hartmann Diamond Classic championship. South Jersey baseball as a whole looked completely different and the current players weren't born yet when the Rams last hoisted the trophy.
Gloucester Catholic finally captured the crown in its first final appearance since 2017. The Rams rolled Delsea, 11-2, in the 49th annual Joe Hartmann Diamond Classic final on Wednesday night.
Barton College commit Damon Suriani went 4-for-4 at the plate with three doubles, a single, and four runs batted in. Miami commit Tate DeRias added a two-run home run, RJ Mustaro notched two singles, and Rider bound senior Matt Leahy tallied two singles, a double, and scored three runs.
Suriani lives for pressure-filled situations.
"I love being in intense moments," the senior catcher said. "There's nothing better than playing with emotion and coming through for my guys."
Gloucester Catholic's Damon Suriani swings at a pitch in an 11-2 win over Delsea in the 49th annual Joe Hartmann Diamond Classic final at Alcyon Park in Pitman, New Jersey on Wednesday, May 17, 2023. Collin Conway/D2 Sports Network
Future Crowder College pitcher Tanner Nolan threw 5.1 innings and allowed two runs, eight hits, and struck out six batters for the Rams.
Despite winning in convincing fashion, the Rams did allow Delsea to threaten a comeback multiple times.
"We need to keep our foot on the gas at all times," Gloucester Catholic coach Dennis Barth said. "There's been a few games this year that we had in our grasp that we just dropped. We'll make sure to clean up what we need to moving forward but for now, we'll soak this win in."
Over the past 22 years, there have been teams in Brooklawn loaded with talent that have captured state titles.
The one that always got away was the Diamond Classic.
"This moment is so special for our program," Nolan said. "None of us were born yet when Gloucester Catholic last won this title but we do understand how important it is to not only us, but the alumni too."