Zoom, he did it again

The former player makes history in his return to the Saints

The Saints successfully defended the Catholic League crown. (Photo provided by Neumann-Goretti baseball)

By Bill Gelman

Mike “Zoom” Zolk knows what it takes to win the Catholic League baseball title.

He won one as a member of the Neumann-Goretti Saints during the 2011 season.

He also watched his father, Mike Zolk, lead the Saints to a league championship the follow- ing season.

Fast-forward to present day, and Zoom is back in a new role as head coach of the Neumann- Goretti baseball team. For those wondering if the former second baseman has what it takes to be a successful Catholic League coach, the answer would be a resounding yes. The proof comes in the form of Saturday’s (May 27) 6–4 title win over Archbishop Wood at Immaculata University.

“It’s always the coolest thing to win a Catholic League championship,” Zolk said. “It’s awe- some feeling to do it in my first year.”

He made history in the process, becoming the first player in Catholic League history to win the baseball crown as a player and coach.

Call it a winning tradition that includes back-to-back league crowns and five over the last seven seasons. The latest victory included plenty of nail-biting drama. Wood opened the game with a three-spot in the first inning, but the Saints matched the number in the bottom half of the frame. Brian Reynolds knocked in two via a single. Wood added another run in the third before the East Passyunk Crossing-based squad pulled away for good with more runs in the bot- tom of the inning.

The winning effort included

The Neumann-Goretti baseball team successfully defended its Catholic League crown with a 6–4 victory over Archbishop Wood.

Photos provided by Neumann-Goretti baseball

key contributions from the senior leaders. Pitcher Phil Sanborn, a Second Team All-Catholic hon- oree, got his first taste of varsity action this season, played like a veteran last weekend with a complete-game effort in which surrendered six hits while strik- ing out four. He is 5–1 with a 1.81 ERA.

Classmate Jared Healey, who is the Catholic League Defensive Player of the Year and First Team All-Catholic selection (making just two errors on the season), went 3-for-3 at the plate, which included a double, and scored a pair of runs. In the postseason, the senior shortstop is batting .667 (6-for-11).

But the 17–4 Saints success story would be incomplete without mentioning staff ace George Masciulli. He is 7–0 with one save and a .89 earned run average. His record includes a 4–0 semifinal victory over Archbishop Ryan, which took place on May 24. He turned in 6.1 innings of work.

Other players have been recognized with All-Catholic recognition. Aidan Baur and Joe Messina received second-team nods while RJ McGettigan made the third team.

Like his playing days, Zolk is in his comfort zone at Neumann- Goretti. When former head coach Kevin Schneider resigned last spring to become the head baseball coach at Immaculata University, the former All-Catholic standout wasted little time expressing his desire for the vacant post.

“It was a no-brainer,” he said.

The Saints season is far from complete. The local squad defeated MaST Community Charter on Thursday (June 1), 8–4 for the AA city title. The focus now shifts to defending their PIAA AA state crown. In Monday’s (June 5) first-round action, Neumann-Goretti will play District 1 champ Dock Mennonite at Archbishop Wood High School (655 York Road, Warminster).

Sounds like pressure, but Zolk, assistant coaches Joseph Messina, Nicky Nardini and Ron Malandro along with the players are up for the challenge.

“We love the pressure,” Zolk said.

But no matter happens the rest of the way, Zolk will always be able to say he coached Neumann-Goretti to a Catholic League title, just like his dad.

“It’s awesome,” the younger Zolk said of the accomplishment. “I am glad I could do something similar to what he has done. It’s a pretty cool feeling repeating something at the same school.”