Trailing for the third straight game, Olympic Colonial used a five-run third inning to defeat fellow South Jersey team Burlington County, 7-2, to win the Carpenter Cup championship Sunday at Citizens Bank Park.
It was the sixth Carpenter Cup title for Olympic Colonial, most in the 33-year history of the high school all-star tournament, but its first since 1997.
A two-run single in the top of the first inning by red hot Burlington County catcher Cade Hunter of Lenape opened the scoring. Hunter was 1-for-2 and ended the Carpenter Cup 5-for-9 (.555) with four RBIs.
Coming back from a two-run deficit was no big deal for Olympic-Colonial, which trailed by 13-5 entering the bottom of the seventh inning of a 14-13 win over Tri-Cape in the second round.
The Olympic-Colonial scored five third-inning runs Sunday on RBI singles by Jack Winsett of Eastern and Steve DiTomasso of Haddonfield, an RBI groundout by Haddon Township's Jackson Green, and run-scoring singles by Brian Brown of Camden Catholic and Matt DiOrio of Haddon Heights.
It was the second straight five-run inning in the tournament for the Olympic-Colonial, which turned a 6-5 deficit into a 10-6 victory with five runs in the top of the ninth Friday in a 10-6 semifinal win over Delaware North.
Washington Township's Lorenzo Morello continued his hot hitting with an RBI double in the seventh, increasing the lead to 6-2. Morello went 5-for-10 with three doubles, a triple, four runs scored and two RBIs in the tournament.
"This is the perfect way to end my high school career," Morello said. Stockton and Rowan College of Gloucester County are among the schools he is considering attending. "It can't be any better than to play on the Phillies' field and dog pile with a bunch of great players from Jersey …"
If anybody knows how good the players on this team are it's Burlington County head coach Brian Anderson, who has the same job with Shawnee, a team that plays in the Olympic Conference against many of the Olympic-Colonial players.
"Give them a lot of credit — that is a talented group," Anderson said of the Olympic-Colonial. "Today they bunched hits together when they needed to."
Eastern senior Jesse Barbera settled down after allowing the two first-inning runs and went the maximum three innings. Collingswood junior lefthander Alex Margot, a Kentucky recruit, pitched three scoreless innings.
Trailing 5-2, Burlington County loaded the bases on three walks with one out in the sixth inning. Margot then induced a 1-2-3 double play to end the inning. He also pitched three innings in Friday's semifinal win.
"My arm felt fine," said Margot, who had 11 strikeouts in nine Carpenter Cup innings. "They needed me to pitch and I wanted to win this game."
Burlington County had runners on first and second with one out in the eighth when Cherry Hill West junior lefthander Eli Atiya was called in. He allowed a rolling base hit to load the bases by Johnny Schroeder of Bordentown. It was the only hit he allowed all tournament. Atiya got of the jam by getting a strikeout and fly out.
The Olympic-Colonial scored its seventh run on an error in the eighth. Atiya then pitched a scoreless ninth. He finished 2-0 with a save after pitching 4 1/3 scoreless innings in three tournament relief appearances.
Normally a starter, he adapted fine to pitching out of the bullpen.
"It was great," he said. "It was great having the pressure."
For the Olympic-Colonial players, just competing at Citizens Bank Park was a major thrill. Winning the tournament, with 16 of the top teams from the tri-state area, took it to another level.
"You are in the bullpen and you are like oh, my, we are going to win this," Margot said. "This is just an awesome experience."