In the four years since Corey Hamman took over Donovan’s Catholic baseball program, the Griffins have gone from a bottom-ranked Class B Southern team to a two-time co-divisional champion with a roster packed with players who are going to be back for at least one more season beyond 2022.
Last week, Donovan Catholic added an accomplishment to his recent resume, making his way into the semifinals of the Shore Conference Tournament for the first time in program history and as the No. 22 seed. nothing less.
After that Cinderella run to the Shore’s final four, the Griffins can now add another accolade to their season: Jersey Mike’s Team of the Week.
Donovan Catholic entered the Shore Conference Tournament as the No. 22 seed due to a lack of wins outside of Class B South division play. Prior to their first TBS game, the Griffins’ only non-divisional victory was in the first round of the Ocean County tournament against Jackson Liberty – a Class B South team.
Once TBS started, Donovan Catholic turned the tide. The Griffins started by knocking out No. 11 Manalapan in the TBS first round and three days late went to Christian Brothers Academy and beat the No. 6 seed, 11-1, with senior Shaun O’ Keefe throwing a full game. to improve to 6-0 and junior Gavin Degnan hitting his seventh homer of the season.
Rather than having to beat a third straight Class A North opponent with Middletown South the No. 3 seed on that side of the group, Donovan Catholic headed south after the Rams upset the third-placed Eagles seeded in the previous round. After falling behind 2-0, Donovan Catholic rallied for a 3-2 victory to advance to the TBS Semi-Finals.
Donovan Catholic fell to Jackson Memorial 7-3 in the semifinals on Tuesday, the bottom of the Griffins order doing damage in the fifth inning against Auburn bound southpaw Zach Crotchfelt. Before falling to the Jaguars, the Griffins had three straight wins over opponents Monmouth County by beating Rumson-Fair Haven, 9-5, in a regular season game on Monday.
With the Shore Conference Tournament over, the Griffins turn their attention to the NJSIAA Tournament. Donovan Catholic is the No. 7 seed in the South Jersey Non-Public A section and will host Union Catholic on Tuesday, with the winner traveling to face No. 2 St. Joseph of Metuchen in the section quarterfinals.
2022 Team of the Week Past Winners
Week 1: Shore
Week 2: Pleasant Pointe Beach
Week 3: Christian Brethren Academy
Week 4: Wall
Week 5: From South
Week 6: Frankish Canton