By Phil Anastasia
POMONA, N.Y. -- Rob Kaminsky was better than advertised.
So was the St. Joseph of Montvale lineup.
The Green Knights turned a highly anticpated showdown into a showcase for their sensational senior left-hander and their apparently underrated lineup.
On a cool, clear Saturday night in the Rockland Boulders' picturesque ballpark, Kaminsky pitched a three-hitter with 13 strikeouts as St. Joseph beat Gloucester Catholic 6-1 in a matchup of two of New Jersey's best teams.
Kaminsky, a North Carolina recruit who is projected as a likely first-round pick in the Major League Baseball draft in early June, powered through the Rams' lineup with a fastball in the 90 mph range and a devastating breaking ball.
He also threw about 15-to-20 changes, by far his most of the season.
"That's the best team we faced," Kaminsky said of Gloucester Catholic (16-3), the No. 1 team in The Inquirer Top 10 as well as the No. 1 team in the state in the Newark Star Ledger Top 20. "I had to break it out (the change-up)."
Senior designated hitter Frank Ragozinno had Gloucester Catholic's first hit, a clean double down the left-field line with one out in the sixth inning.
Gloucester Catholic's Giovanni Gussen beat out an infield single in the seventh and took second on a passed ball. With two outs and a 1-2 count, Sean Breen rapped an RBI single to mark the first earned run allowed by Kaminsky (6-0) this season.
"We battled to the end," Gloucester Catholic coach Mike Rucci said. "We didn't play our best game and they played good baseball."
The teams could meet again in the Non-Public South A finals on June 8, as Gloucester Catholic will be in the South section and St. Joseph (17-0) will be in the North.
"I hope we see them again," Kaminsky said after a dominating performance before around 50 scouts who sat behind home plate in the three-year-old stadium that's about 15 miles from St. Joseph's campus in Bergen County.
The game turned in the bottom of the third, when the Green Knights, the No. 3 team in the Star Ledger state rankings, took advantage of a pair of walks and a throwing errror on a bunt to score five runs against Gloucester Catholic senior right-hander Mike Shawaryn.
Shawaryn, who entered the game with a 4-0 record and an 0.00 ERA, issued a walk and a single to lead off the inning. The pitcher fielded a bunt from the next batter, wheeled and fired to third base.
But there was no fielder there was Gloucester Catholic's third baseman had charged on the play.
"Mike made the right play," Rucci said.
One run scored on the error. St. Joseph's Matt Kozuch, Mike Gallo and Dom Paiotti followed with sharply-hit RBI singles.
"I tip my cap to them," Shawaryn said of St. Joseph.
Shawaryn, a Maryland recruit who has been projected as potential third-to-fifth round pick, worked five innings, allowing two earned runs on seven hits with five strikeouts.
"I'll throw it out the back window after tonight," Shawaryn said. "I learned to pitch from behind. That was a challenge."
Through five innings, Kaminsky faced just 15 batters. He didn't walk a batter and ended up throwing just 87 pitches.
"He's everything they say he is," Shawaryn said of Kaminsky.
Gloucester Catholic 000 000 1 -- 1 3 1
St. Joseph Montvale 005 100 x -- 6 7 1
WP: Rob Kaminsky. LP: Mike Shawaryn.
2B: GC-Frank Ragozzino; SJ-Rob Kaminsky.
3B: SJ-Ryan Rivera.