Erbeck Brothers Produce No-Hitter in MCT Win, But Hun Baseball Falls to Hopewell Valley in Semis
By Bill Alden
Jack Erbeck wasn’t going to let lack of rest keep him from starring on the mound for the Hun School baseball team as it hosted Trenton Catholic Academy in the Mercer County Tournament quarterfinals last Wednesday.
“Coming off a four-day rest is very tough,” said senior standout Erbeck, who had pitched a shutout in Hun’s 2-0 win over Seton Hall on May 3. “I battled; I kept my pitches down and I was throwing first pitch strikes.”
Showing toughness, righty Erbeck held eighth-seeded TCA hitless through five innings, striking out eight, walking three and leaving with top-seeded Hun leading 4-1.
“I had to trust my stuff and work off my curve ball as well and my off speed pitches,” said Erbeck, who went went 1-for-2 at the plate with an RBI to help his cause. “I had to trust my defense behind me and I got the job done.”
Erbeck’s younger brother, sophomore Ricky, came on in relief and finished the job on the mound gem with two hitless innings as Hun won 4-1.
“Ricky closed the door,” said Erbeck. “He is a great pitcher, he has a ton of potential. He throws the ball hard, we are still working on his secondary pitches. He is going to be big for us coming down the stretch. I put a lot of pressure on him sometimes because I expect so much of him.”
As a team co-captain, Erbeck enjoys working with the squad’s younger players.
“It has been cool, I have been mentoring the freshmen and sophomores,” said Erbeck, who is headed to Fairfield University where he will be playing for its baseball program. “I think some of the kids do look up to me; it is really special.”
Hun head coach Tom Monfiletto credited Erbeck with producing a special effort in the win over TCA.
“He usually has a full week of rest; he sucked it up and he battled through for this teammates,” said Monfiletto
“He was fantastic; this was a really, really gutsy performance. I am proud of him. He threw as well as he has been throwing the entire year, which is brilliantly.”
The younger Erbeck was also brilliant in his own right as he completed the no-hitter, striking out two and giving up a walk.
“Ricky has been great in that role,” said Monfiletto. “In a couple of big games he came in and shut the door and then did it today. This was huge.”
While the Hun offense didn’t come up huge in the win, it got the job done as jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first and had six hits on the day with Anthony Bencardino also picking up RBI.
“We squared a couple of balls up that were right at people,” said Monfiletto. “We did have to manufacture some runs today.”
The Raiders, however, failed to manufacture runs in the MCT semis as they fell 4-0 to fourth-seeded and defending champion Hopewell Valley.
“Hopewell is an unbelievable program, there is a reason they are always deep in the tournament every single year,” said Monfiletto, looking forward to the matchup. “It is a great opportunity to play them for sure.”
Hun, now 19-2, has another opportunity to go for a title as it will be playing in the state Prep A tournament this week where it is seeded first and will host fourth-seeded Lawrenceville in an opening round contest on May 15.
Monfiletto believes his players will keep their focus as the program goes for a fourth straight Prep A title.
“They don’t listen to noise,” said Monfiletto. “I think they still have stuff to prove.”
No matter what happens in the Prep A tourney, Erbeck has enjoyed a memorable senior year with this teammates.
“It is the group of guys and the bonds we have out of school,” said Erbeck, in reflecting on what makes the Raider squad special.
“We have been working hard all year long, weight training in the fall and then winter.”