By Phil Anastasia
Wednesday's South A showdown between Bishop Eustace and Camden Catholic will be one of the most unusual games in South Jersey history: A fifth meeting of the season between the rivals.
That's probably happened in the past. But surely not very often.
The teams met twice in Olympic National play, once in the Ralph Shaw Classic at Audubon and once in the Joe Hartmann Diamond Classic.
Now they will meet in the sectional quarterfinals, with both seasons on the line.
Camden Catholic (19-9) is the No. 11 seed and one of the surprise teams of the SJ baseball season.
The Irish won a share of the Olympic National title (with BE), reached the Diamond finals (beating BE in the semis) and upset No. 6 seed CBA in the South A first round behind senior pitcher Colan Miller (3-0 shutout) and junior catcher Dom Messina (12th double).
Bishop Eustace (21-7) is the No. 3 seed. The Crusaders have won nine of their last 11 behind junior pitcher Devin Smeltzer (8-2 record), senior pitcher Zac Gallen (4-1, pictured) and sophomore outfielder Nick Browne (four homers, eight doubles).
Here's how the split of the first four games went between these fierce rivals:
April 4: BE 9, CC 4 in Olympic National play. Gallen is WP and hits HR
April 6: BE 4, CC 2 in Shaw Classic semis. Smeltzer is WP and Browne and Ryan DiMeo hit HRs.
April 24: CC 5, BE 3 in Olympic National play. Ben Acero is WP and Messina hits two doubles.
May 19: CC 4, BE 3 in Diamond semis. Dan Hartson is WP, Acero gets save and Christian Bilan hits 2-run double.
May 29: ?????