POMONA, N.Y. - Rob Kaminsky was better than advertised.
So was the St. Joseph of Montvale lineup.
The Green Knights turned a highly anticipated showdown into a showcase for their sensational senior lefthander 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 baseball teams.
Kaminsky, a North Carolina recruit projected as a likely first-round pick in the Major League Baseball draft in June, powered through the Rams' lineup with a fastball in the 90-m.p.h. range and a devastating breaking ball.
He also threw about 15 to 20 change-ups, 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's South Jersey rankings as well as the No. 1 team in the Newark Star-Ledger state rankings. "I had to break [the change-up] out."
Senior designated hitter Frank Ragozzino 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 out and a 1-2 count, Sean Breen rapped an RBI single for the first earned run allowed by Kaminsky (6-0) this season.
"We battled to the end," Rams 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 A state final 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 about 15 miles from St. Joseph's campus in Bergen County.
The game turned in the bottom of the third inning, when the Green Knights, No. 3 in the Star-Ledger state rankings, took advantage of two walks and a throwing error on a bunt to score five runs against Gloucester Catholic senior righthander Mike Shawaryn.
Shawaryn, who entered the game with a 4-0 record and a 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, as 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 and striking out five.
"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 anyone and ended up throwing just 87 pitches.
"He's everything they say he is," Shawaryn said.
Gloucester Catholic 000 000 1 - 1 3 1
St. Joseph 005 100 x - 6 7 1
WP: Rob Kaminsky. LP: Mike Shawaryn. 2B: GC-Frank Ragozzino; SJ-Rob Kaminsky. 3B: SJ-Ryan Rivera.