St. Joseph's to Wage Holy War on Campus

St. Joseph's to Wage Holy War on Campus

For the first time since the formation of the Big 5, the St. Joseph's Hawks will host the Villanova Wildcats on their own campus. Rather than playing the game at the Palestra, per usual, SJU will take its bi-annual home game with rival Villanova to its newly refurbished fieldhouse—the Hagan Arena.

Detailing the story for the Daily News, Dick Jerardi also writes that the Temple Owls will be similarly impacted and thus making the trip down City Line Ave at some point this season.

University officials say the move is far from permanent, and really more of a temporary decision aimed at reinvigorating the program. Plus, the school won't vacating its second home altogether, as SJU will still play the remainder its Big 5 match ups versus Penn and La Salle at the Palestra.

Comments from head coach Phil Martelli and SJU athletic director Don DiJulia after the jump...

Coach Phil Martelli has long insisted that his school would continue to play its home games at the home of the Big 5. Unfortunately for the program, the Hawks haven't seen much success inside the Palestra in recent years, a factor no doubt, at least in part, prompting the move.

From the Daily News:

"This," Martelli said, "might get people's attention. There's been a lot of discussion at the levels on campus about creating the buzz, getting the fervor and the fire back. How do you do it? The easy thing is to say win games. To get the building where it's kind of bursting at the seems again."

It does seem quite a long time ago that university had so many people in the Fieldhouse that it was potentially in violation fire codes. Those Jameer Nelson-David West, St. Joe-Xavier show downs have become a forgotten relic of a not so distant past.

Though the move has generated some blow back, particularly this ESPN piece lamenting the end of tradition, it's nearly impossible to fault the Hawks. They've willingly played their Big 5 games at the Palestra longer than any other school, save for, of course, Penn.

Villanova makes the Hawks travel to the Main Line every other year, just as Temple similarly enjoys the atmosphere of its own confines. Both schools play better on their own campus. So, it makes sense for Joe's to try something of the sort.

True, the school will lose the additional ticket revenue generated from playing in the substantially larger Palestra, but it may be a short term loss for a long term gain.

We were able to get in touch with university athletic director Don DiJulia to get his thoughts on the move. While DiJulia acknowledges that the 2011-2012 ticket returns will obviously be less than usual, he stresses that move was made for the basketball reasons Martelli mentions above.

That said, the AD remains hopeful that the added buzz will prompt an increase in season ticket sales, thereby sparking a renewed interest in the program.

If the experiment works, then the Hawks succeeded. If not, the school always retains the option to move its full slate of Big 5 home games back to the Palestra.

Phillies 2B prospect Valentin (shoulder) out; Kingery to stay at Double A for now

Phillies 2B prospect Valentin (shoulder) out; Kingery to stay at Double A for now

The Phillies' depth at second base has taken a hit.

Jesmuel Valentin, the starter at Triple A Lehigh Valley, is headed for surgery after dislocating his left shoulder. General manager Matt Klentak indicated that it was likely Valentin would miss the remainder of the season.

Valentin, 23, made a good showing in big-league spring training camp and, in fact, was the last position player cut from the 25-man roster. He had been off to a slow start at Lehigh Valley, hitting just .229 with a .573 OPS in his first 29 games.

With Valentin out, the Phillies could promote top second base prospect Scott Kingery from Double A to Triple A. While that is likely to happen at some point, nothing is imminent, Klentak said. The IronPigs will use veteran Pedro Florimon at second for the time being.

Kingery, 23, has been on a tear at Reading. He entered Monday leading the Eastern League in homers (13), extra-base hits (25) and slugging (.651). Overall, he was hitting .289 with a 1.018 OPS.

"Not imminent," Klentak said of a possible promotion for Kingery. "Very possible down the road. We've got more than enough infield coverage (at Triple A) to be fine and Kingery is good where he is."

Kingery, a 2015 draft pick, played just 37 games at the Double A level last season. He entered Monday having played in 37 games there this season.

Kingery on Monday was named the Eastern League player of the week for May 15-21. He went 9 for 30 with five homers, six RBIs, nine runs scored and an .833 OPS.

N.J. high school baseball player performs big-league worthy bat flip

N.J. high school baseball player performs big-league worthy bat flip

With all the bat flips going on in Major League Baseball by the likes of Odubel Herrera and Jose Bautista, it's a good bet that kids watching the game are taking notice.

Gloucester Catholic High School's Chris Turco has apparently seen the celebration.

In a game on Sunday, Turco launched the ball high above the wall in left field. However, he may have launched the bat even higher.

Look at this ridiculous bat flip.

According to Kevin Minnick of South Jersey Sports Digest, both of the next hitters were plunked and Turco's team lost.

Despite that, Turco is giving the pros a run for their money in the bat flip department.