Reno Regalbuto gives you one of those dead-in-the-eye looks when he says he wants to strike out



So maybe you're thinking he stands about 6-4 and goes roughly 210 pounds and could be playing tight end if he so preferred.

Think again.

At 5-10, he's nothing close to a munchkin. But at 135, you might want to keep him inside on windy days.

"I've been trying to gain some weight," Regalbuto said. "I did over the winter - at least a little - because I was lifting, but I stopped that when the season got here because it was making me a little sore."

Speaking of the season . . . On it goes.

Two days after winning the Catholic League baseball championship, Ss. Neumann-Goretti High yesterday met Franklin Towne Charter, the Public League representative, at Campbell's Field, in Camden, for the Class AAAA City Title and the only available spot in the upcoming state playoffs.

The Saints frolicked. The score was 17-1 and the contest was halted, by the 15-run mercy rule, after four innings.

Regalbuto, a junior lefthander, allowed three hits, all singles, and one walk. He also blew away eight, mostly thanks to a hopping fastball.

"It's more fun striking guys out," he said. "Gives you a good feeling. If I don't strike a guy out? Ah, just go with it. See what happens."

Two more juniors, lefty Mark Donato and Al Baur, are N-G's top two starters and the sight of a rested Baur standing on the mound to start the game would not have surprised.

Coach Lou Spadaccini announced his decision by saying, "It's a shame you only play two [CL] games a week because Reno would be a starter on most teams. After the way he pitched recently, he proved he was ready. He's legit.

"This will help us for states. We're going to need three pitchers. Mark and Al have thrown a lot of innings with a lot of pitches. We'll need that third guy. Reno's got his swagger on right now."

Spadaccini paused, then added with a laugh, "And we're related. He's my cousin."

When Regalbuto is not pitching, it's not as if he's a spectator. He's the starting leftfielder and leadoff batter and in this one he went 2-for-4 with a double, three RBI and two runs scored.

"I like them both," he said of his dual duties. "In the outfield, I like to throw guys out at the plate. Pitching - just get 'em out. Shut 'em down.

"Coach told me I'd be pitching this one after the Catholic final. I knew I would. He knows I have confidence."

The original CT series was halted after the 1980 basketball game when the CL pulled out rather than be forced into girls' events. The first hit in 30 years went to Donato on a two-out single and soon there was an avalanche.

N-G scored six in the second and 10 in the fourth. Fifteen batters strolled - wait, rushed - to the plate in that latter frame.

Overall, Donato finished 3-for-3 with a double, triple, sacrifice fly and two RBI. Joey Armata went 4-for-4 with a double, triple and three RBI. Mike Riverso (3-for-4, double, two RBI) and Billy Fulginiti (three-run double) also enjoyed big moments among the starters and sub Anthony Audia laced an RBI double to bring home the final run.

The Saints bagged 18 hits, with eight going for extra bases.

"You want to keep getting hits," said Regalbuto, who lives near 11th and Oregon, "but you don't want to embarrass them. We did a great job scoring runs."

Franklin Towne tallied in the second inning as Jason Krajewski walked, stole second and scampered home on John Myers' two-out single.

Details of the Saints' state playoff opener, to be held Monday, will be finalized over the weekend.

Like always, Regalbuto will feel no pressure.

"I just do what I do," he said.

Said Spadaccini: "He's a cocky kid. He was one of our MVPs in the title run. Over the second half of the season, really." *