By BRIAN CUNNIFF
On a day his family was honored, Tommy Bolle helped the Wildwood Catholic High School baseball team beat its closest rival for the first time in 10 tries.
Bolle, a sophomore, had two hits and four runs scored as the Crusaders broke a nine-game losing streak to Wildwood with an 18-9 victory under the lights Thursday evening at Maxwell Field.
Bolle is one of six children of Bill and Vicki Bolle. The family was honored prior to the game as a tribute to Bill, who passed away suddenly last year. Tommy is the fifth of Bill and Vicki’s six children.
The family has close ties with both schools. Vicki is a foreign language teacher at Wildwood Catholic. Bill was a basketball player at Wildwood Catholic in the early 1980s.
Three of Tommy’s older brothers, Steve, Matt and Billy, each played baseball and other sports at Wildwood. (Steve spent his first two high school years at Wildwood Catholic before transferring to Wildwood).
Tommy’s other siblings are his older brother, Jeff, and a younger sister, Ivy.
Steve, Matt and Billy each threw out a ceremonial first pitch prior to the game. Wildwood Catholic head coach Jim Norris Jr. said a few words and the family was greeted by the players and coaches from both teams.
In addition to Tommy Bolle’s efforts in the Crusader win, Josh Eckert and Justin Klemick each posted two doubles, two runs scored and two RBI and Giacomo Antonicello singled, doubled and scored twice.
Andrew Zielinski had two hits and two runs scored and Corlen Vallese hit a two-run single for Wildwood.
Interestingly, Matt Bolle played in the contest the last time Wildwood Catholic had beaten Wildwood, on April 20, 2013. He walked twice as Wildwood’s leadoff hitter in a 5-1 Wildwood Catholic victory. Kevin Laffey went 2 for 3 with two RBI and Tyler Norris, the younger brother of the current Wildwood Catholic coach, tossed a three-hit complete game with eight strikeouts.
Wildwood won the next nine meetings between the two schools spread over five seasons until the Crusaders broke through on Thursday.