Spotlight: Gloucester Catholic senior Brett Tenuto

In the moments before Gloucester Catholic played Holy Cross in the Non-Public A South baseball quarterfinals, Brett Tenuto was urging his teammates to get off to a fast start.

But Tenuto did more than talk. He hit a home run in the top of the first inning.

"That eased some of the tension," Tenuto said.

The senior third baseman came through again in the sectional semifinals Friday against Bishop Eustace. Tenuto drove in the game's first run in a 4-0 victory that sent the Rams into Tuesday's Non-Public A South championship game against St. Augustine Prep.

"It feels like we're back, playing the way we know we can play," Tenuto said.

It's not as if Gloucester Catholic (26-4) has stumbled this season. But given the high expectations after state titles in 2010 and 2011, the Rams were disappointed to lose a couple of games in the Bishop Gorman Easter Classic, to fall to North Jersey power Don Bosco, and especially to drop a 4-0 decision to Millville in the first round of the Joe Hartmann Diamond Classic.

"I think a lot of us, myself included, got a little nonchalant," said Tenuto, who has signed to attend Stony Brook on a baseball scholarship. "I think we started thinking just because we had "RAMS" on our chests that we could just walk out there and beat anybody."

Since that May 12 loss to Millville, Gloucester Catholic is 9-0. The Rams have beaten South Jersey Group 2 champion Buena (twice), South Jersey Group 2 finalist GCIT, Non-Public B South finalist Sacred Heart, and Diamond Classic champion Bishop Eustace as well as Holy Spirit and Holy Cross to reclaim the No. 1 spot in The Inquirer's South Jersey rankings.

Tenuto has a .432 batting average, with 38 hits, 38 runs, and 29 RBIs. He is tops on the team in slugging percentage (.753) and doubles (12), and is tied for the lead in home runs (four).

"We have a bunch of seniors who have been starting since we were sophomores," Tenuto said. "It went by so fast. We're starting to realize that this is it, that we could be playing our last game in a Gloucester Catholic uniform."

   - Phil Anastasia