Annual Baseball Classic

John Knebels
Sports Columnist

The 26th annual Carpenter Cup Classic is under way. The 16-team tournament, which commenced June 13 and will conclude at Citizens Bank Park June 20-21, is comprised of high school all-stars from the tri-state area.

The Catholic League roster suggests that it will take quite a squad to overtake the CL as it attempts to join the 1987, 1990 and 2005 teams that captured Carpenter Cup championships. {{more}}

Keeping in mind there were several selections that were not able to commit to the practice and tournament schedule, the 24-player Catholic League team includes representatives from nine different schools.

Not surprisingly, the school with the most players is undefeated Catholic League champion Neumann-Goretti. Five Saints – Joe Gorman, John Snyder, Mike Zolk, Jimmy Kerrigan and Marty Venafro – lead the way.

Venafro said while he understands why some players were not able to attend the prestigious event, he would have been extremely disappointed if he couldn’t play.

“It’s something that might not come along again,” Venafro said. “If you love baseball as much as I do, there’s no way you are going to miss unless it’s something that is completely out of your control.”

Venafro said he was not alone in his passion for the game.

“All of the guys are excited,” he said. “And we’re motivated to try and win a championship. The Catholic League is a great league, and this is an opportunity to show everyone else from around the area how good we really are.”

Neumann-Goretti is not the only school highlighted by multiple players. From La Salle College High School are Joe Forcellini, Corey Baiada, Colin Pine and Tyler Kozeniewski. Monsignor Bonner also has four selections in Matt Dolan, Paul Shepherd, Rich Young and Jim Murphy. St. Joseph’s Prep is represented by Ray Toto, Shane Williams and Kyle Gillen. From Lansdale Catholic are Jon Motts, Rory Clemens and Stefan Swaintek.

Archbishop Ryan’s Eric Frain and Kevin Mack join Conwell-Egan’s Matt Petrizzi, Archbishop Wood ‘s Sean McCloskey, and Father Judge’s Mike McLaughlin.

The head coach is Neumann-Goretti’s Lou Spadaccini.

From the Inter-Academic League, Malvern Prep was represented by Joe Ravert, Drew Hayes, Nick Bateman, Joe Poduslenko, Matt Greskoff and Bill Ford. Reason to be excited about Malvern’s baseball next year? Poduskenko and Ford are sophomores, and the others are juniors.

Unfortunately, the Inter-Ac was limited to one game thanks to a 6-1 loss to the Olympic/Colonial Conference. The team managed only three hits, but two were supplied by Friars – a double by Poduslenko and a single by Bateman.

The Catholic League’s opening contest was played on Wednesday; The Catholic Standard & Times went to press on Tuesday.

John Knebels can be reached at