When the All-Catholic baseball teams were announced, one might have thought there was a misprint. Or perhaps someone had simply pasted the same name twice in the same e-mail by mistake.
Indeed, Neumann-Goretti junior Joe Kinee was named a first-teamer not once, but twice. He admitted that he expected to be selected as a pitcher, and for good reason considering his flashy numbers as the second hook of the Saints’ one-two knockout punch of senior lefthander Joe Gorman and the right-handed Kinee.
“I would have been disappointed to be honest,” said Kinee, a graduate of South Philadelphia’s St. Monica’s grade school. “I was really happy with how I pitched.”
However, Kinee was happily surprised when he found out he was also named a first-team infielder. Although his batting average of .385 and terrific defensive skills warrant major consideration for such an elite honor, a player often gets put on the second team to balance out the spotlight.
Then again, “spotlight” is something that doesn’t mean too much for the no-nonsense hurler.
“During the year you get your share of chances to come through,” Kinee said. “When you are on a winning team like me and my teammates, there are a lot of people who share the glory.
“Even when it comes to pressure, there isn’t that much. You want to come through regardless of the situation. We have a good team top to bottom. That’s all that really matters.”
Neumann-Goretti reached the Catholic League championship by virtue of a hard-to-believe 8-7 victory over Monsignor Bonner in a semifinal game at Widener University that lasted 14 innings and was oh-so-close to being called because of darkness. After The Catholic Standard and Times went to press, the Saints beat the Explorers for the title on May 29.
The story line of the semifinal triumph was junior John LaMotta. Despite entering the biggest game of the season with only one inning on his Catholic League resume, LaMotta entered a tie game in the sixth inning and proceeded to toss nine innings and surrender only one run. A bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the seventh ended the storybook 4-hour, 15-minute affair.
“It doesn’t get much bigger than that,” Kinee said. “He came through in a big-time way. He saved the season for us more than anyone else and I’m really happy for him.”
N-G senior Marty Venafro offered similar sentiments about Kinee.
“I’m glad he made first-team All-Catholic in two positions,” Venafro said. “He’s had clutch hits all year and he makes all the plays in the field. He does anything he can to help the team out. I love that. He deserves everything he gets. He’s one of the best players in the league.”
The All-Catholic voters obviously agree.