On the Trail
In Daily News boxscores all these years, we have given credit for runs scored to full-fledged pinch-runners but not to courtesy runners. But you know what? The guy who scored the decisive run for La Salle in this year's AAAA state final, centerfielder Jimmy Herron, also did so in the 2012 final. Herron, then just a freshman, was a part-time performer while often serving as the courtesy runner for catcher Corey Baiada. La Salle beat Council Rock South, 3-1, by scoring one in the second and two in the fourth. The latter frame began when Baiada scorched a leadoff double into right-center. Tyler Kozeniewski hit the ball to the shortstop and an attempt to catch Herron was made at third. Didnít work. Mike Piscopo then sent a hard single to right-center and Herron thumped down his foot on the plate. Colin Pyneís bunt moved up both runners and Dominic Cuoci followed by stinging an RBI single to left-center . . . Herron, a receiver, also scored the first -- and thus winning -- TD last fall when the Explorers beat Judge, 35-0, in a AAAA semi. And in '12, he scored the second TD (followed by Ryan Winslow's PAT) that gave La Salle all the points it would need in a 42-13 win over Roman, also in a AAAA semi.
All teams that qualify for playoffs want to storm ahead and capture the championship. But when such joy is not experienced,
all hope is NOT lost. The list below shows that it's quite common for D-12 basketball/baseball teams to win state titles after falling short in league action. (Football is not included because overall titles are no longer possible in the Cath and Pub.)
Final tally: Nine yes, eight no.
|How State Champs in Basketball/Baseball Fared in League Playoffs|
|Year||School||Sport||Class||Champ?||Result of Final League Playoff|
|2006||Prep Charter||bask||AA||No||lost in quarterfinal to Comm Tech|
|2007||Prep Charter||bask||AA||Yes||beat Gratz|
|2009||Carroll||bask||AAA||No||lost in semifinal to Roman|
|2011||MC&S||bask||A||No||lost in semifinal to Constitution|
|2012||Neum.-Gor.||bask||AAA||Yes||beat SJ Prep|
|2012||Imhotep||bask||AA||No||lost in round of 16 to Comm Tech|
|2012||Constitution||bask||A||Yes||beat Boys' Latin|
|2012||La Salle||base||AAAA||No||lost in final to N-G|
|2013||Vaux||bask||A||No||lost in final to Imhotep|
|2014||Constitution||bask||A||No||lost in final to King|
|2014||La Salle||base||AAAA||No||lost to Roman & N-G (double elimination format)|
Below are some nuggets Joe Parisi's career. After coaching La Salle High's baseball team for 28 seasons (1986-2003, sabbatical in '04, 2005-14), he has retired. Seventeen of his teams advanced to at least the semis and his overall record was 453-238. He will continue as the school's athletic director and become the CL's baseball moderator for 2015. Best of luck to a class act!
|Joe Parisi's La Salle Career . . .|
|CL championships . .||'88||'94||'05||'13|
|Other years in finals||'90||'96||'00||'02||'03||'09||'12|
|Other years in semis||'90||'93||'99||'01||'06||'11||('14)|
|Years not in playoffs||'86||'95|
|*State AAAA crowns||'12||'14|
|#City AAAA Titles||'12||'13||'14|
|*-CL joined PIAA for '09 season|
|#-City Titles resumed in '09 season|
|Note: Double-elimination format; no official semis but among the last four teams to survive|
CLASS AAAA FINAL
La Salle 4, Conestoga 2 (8 inn.)
(At Penn State)
Hey, the strategy worked the first time, so why not try it again, right? When a kid's a horse, you ride him. In the 2012 final, coach Joe Parisi started sr. RH Kevin Long on three days' rest and he hurled the Explorers to a 3-1 win over Council Rock South. (In the '12 semi, Long needed seventh inning relief help from soph RH Dominic Cuoci.) Today, on three days' rest, Cuoci got the starting nod and claimed the win (seven innings) while sr. LH John Scheffey provided assistance by going the nice-and-easy, 1-2-3 route in the home eighth. Time for elation! Time for a pile of humanity! This one featured some hairy moments for the 'Splorers down the stretch and there were times when things weren't looking peachy. In the top of the seventh, a squeeze play was botched and second-and-third with one away quickly became only-on-second with two away. A foulout quickly terminated the would-be uprising. Then, in the bottom half, a two-out infield bobble enabled Conestoga to get runners to second and third. An intentional walk was issued and Cuoci enjoyed a big-boy moment by retiring sr. C Andrew Turner on a fly to right. Sigh of relief. On to the eighth! Sr. 2B Brad Schneider drew a four-pitch walk and jr. LH Brendon Little was removed in favor of the staff ace, sr. LH Jake Bufo. Jr. CF Jimmy Herron and Cuoci greeted him with singles to center and left, respectively, to load the bases. Though sr. C Nick Dermo grounded into a short-to-home forceout, jr. 1B Brian Buckley spanked a two-run single to center and La Salle owned a nice cushion heading into the bottom half. Due to the PIAA's pitching restrictions (no more than 14 innings in one calendar week), Cuoci needed to forget the mound and find a new home (at third base). Scheffey strolled in from the bullpen and prevented any hint of drama thanks to two groundouts that sandwiched a whiff. Cuoci allowed eight hits in his stint (three did not leave the infield) and both runs were earned. He walked two, finalizing his season's total at SIX, and struck out two. Meanwhile, La Salle's first two runs were unearned. In the first, a two-out throwing error off Herron's grounder enabled Jimmy to reach second. Cuoci then hammered an RBI single to left. In the third, jr. SS AJ Grezeszak and Schneider started things off by milking walks. A pickoff attempt was made on Grezeszak at second, but the ball clanged off his leg as he was sliding back into the bag and dribbled into shallow right. He and Schneider advanced, thus Herron's flyball to deep left-center (maybe 385 feet, the 410 sign was right behind) became a sac fly. For Conestoga, sr. 3B Brandon Ruffenach (a balk put the runner in scoring position) and sr. SS Tommy Richter (a sac did so this time around) stroked RBI singles in the fourth and fifth, respectively. Buckley enjoyed making strong contributions overall. Aside from going 2-for-3 with a walk and the two RBI, he prevented two errors thanks to the scoop of a low toss and a snag/sweep tag off a high, off-target throw. Cuoci finished 2-for-4 with the RBI. Herron scored twice while adding the sac fly. As in '12, the Explorers showed great resolve in the AAAA tourney after falling short in their effort to win the CL championship. The 2012 disappointment was even tougher, I'm guessing, because La Salle lost the final, 5-4, to Neumann-Goretti, in eight innings. I watched this game on PCN after shelling out $7.95, plus tax, for a one-day subscription (ha ha). The broadcast was high quality. Unfortunately, my computer is ancient and there were hiccups every 4-5 seconds THROUGHOUT the game. Talk . . . about . . . frustrating. Luckily, the sound wasn't affected, so it was almost like "watching" a radio broadcast. Anyway, congrats to the Explorers! Lots of great kids and coaches and the good vibrations given off by all were never-ending.
The list below shows all Pub/Cath guys who have been starters for multiple state champs. So far, no one in football or baseball has accomplished the feat. That could change today when La Salle meets Conestoga, 1 p.m. at Penn State, for Class AAAA diamond honors. Dominic Cuoci will start (on the mound or at third base) for the Explorers. He was the starting shortstop for the 2012 state champs. (Note: Wood's AAA football champs in '13 had no starters still around from '11.)
UPDATED: Dominic Cuoci is the first baseball player to make the list!
|Starters for Multiple State Champs|
|Marcus Morris||Prep Charter||2006||2007|
|Markieff Morris||Prep Charter||2006||2007|
|*Dominic Cuoci||La Salle||2012||2014|
|*-baseball (others played basketball)|
Below you'll find La Salle's postseason results (6-2 record) and statistical totals for those eight games. Thanks to coach Joe Parisi, scorekeeper Rob McLaren and DN reporter Aaron "Ace" Carter for their help! The Explorers will play one more game . . . tomorrow, 1 p.m., at Penn State for the PIAA Class AAAA championship. Their opponent will be Conestoga.
UPDATED through end of season.
|La Salle's Postseason Results|
|CL 1st round||Conwell-Egan||W||9-2|
|CL LB 1st||Bonner-Prendie||W||5-3|
|CL LB 2nd||Neumann-Goretti||L||0-1|
|City Title||Washington||W||16-1 (5)|
|AAAA 1st round||Boyertown||W||6-3|
|AAAA final||Conestoga||W||4-2 (8)|
|La Salle's Postseason Batting/Pitching Stats|
|John Scheffey (2-2)||23||21||9||5||7||14||1.52|
|Dominic Cuoci (5-0)||35||35||10||8||3||27||1.60|
Below you'll find Neumann-Goretti's postseason results (9-2 record) and statistical totals for those 11 games. Thanks to assistant Joe Messina for his help! In the last at-bat of his career, first baseman Josh Ockimey, last week selected in the fifth round of the draft by the Boston Red Sox, notched RBI No. 100!! Congrats!!
|Neumann-Goretti's Postseason Results|
|CL 1st round||Carroll||W||4-0|
|CL LB 1st||Wood||W||5-4 (8)|
|CL LB 2nd||La Salle||W||1-0|
|CL LB final||O'Hara||W||3-0|
|CL 1st final||Roman||W||11-1 (5)|
|CL 2nd final||Roman||W||11-0 (5)|
|City Title||Phila. Academy||W||12-1 (5)|
|AA 1st round||Berks Catholic||W||5-3|
|Neumann-Goretti's Postseason Batting/Pitching Stats|
|Charlie Jerla (4-0)||23||13||1||0||8||17||0.00|
|Ethan Pritchett (2-1)||20 2/3||12||5||5||7||22||1.69|
|Gino Tripodi (1-0)||3 1/3||2||1||1||1||2||2.10|
|Pat Doudican (2-1)||24||21||11||8||17||20||2.33|
This is year No. 6 for Catholic League teams in PIAA competition. Though no pitchers have twirled a no-hitter, or allowed just one safety, four have limited the opponent to two hits. La Salle sr. RH Dominic Cuoci joined the list yesterday, in a 3-0 win over Spring-Ford. He fanned nine. The top effort in that category belongs to Neumann-Goretti's Mark Donato (11 in his two-hitter listed below).
|Two-Hitters Thrown by CL Pitchers in State Playoffs, 2009-14|
|2||Kyle Mullen||SJ Prep||West Chester East||2009||4A qtr|
|2||Mark Donato||Neumann-Goretti||Twin Valley||2009||3A qtr|
|2||Ethan "E" Pritchett||Neumann-Goretti||Bloomsburg||2014||2A qtr|
|2||Dominic Cuoci||La Salle||Spring-Ford||2014||4A semi|
PIAA CLASS AA SEMIFINAL
Loyalsock 4, Neumann-Goretti 3
(At Northern York High, in Dillsburg)
The wounds left by this loss are not going to heal for a while. Perhaps never for those Saints who truly care to the highest possible degree. With all due respect to Loyalsock, the defending state champion, this game should have been played on Christmas morning because N-G presented some giant-sized gifts. We'll jump to the latter stages, then wind our way back. In the fifth (vs. jr. LH Pat Doudican, the starter) and sixth (vs. sr. LH Charlie Jerla), Loyalsock scored one run apiece thanks to blatant errors to leave behind a 2-2 tie. And then, in the visiting seventh, a baserunning miscue cut short a stirring moment and caused the game to end, right then and there. Soon, the Saints could be spotted in right field, spread out far and wide and displaying all varieties of despair. In time, hopefully, they'll remember much more about the back-to-back wins that yielded the Catholic League championship and the season's overall greatness. But again, this one was a crusher and there's no getting around that description. Loyalsock's last two runs scored on the ol' wander-off-first, hope-to-score-from-third play. The first off-target throw, toward the plate, was made by star sr. 1B Josh Ockimey, who was recently drafted in the fifth round by the Boston Red Sox. The second, also toward the plate, was made by soph 3B Nicky D'Amore, who'd made a great play on a bunt just one inning earlier to get a force at second. The run, unearned, was the only one, of any kind, allowed by Jerla through 23 postseason innings. Understandably, the Saints were a shade crestfallen as they began to bat in the seventh. And the hopes dimmed a little more when soph CF Brian Verratti, already 2-for-2 with one RBI on matching shots to center, struck out. However, jr. 2B Vinny Vaccone ripped a single to center and the bench buzz returned. Next, jr. RF Bay To chopped out to RH Kyle Datres, a junior already committed to North Carolina, for out No. 2, but when Jerla got plunked that meant the tying runs were on base with Ockimey coming to bat. N-G was one strike from defeat when, bang!, "Ock" inside-outed a scorching grounder inside the third-base bag toward the corner. Vaccone scored with no problem and Jerla, from first base, thought he could do so as well. Pumped with emotion and perhaps unable to hear that coach Kevin Schneider wanted him to stop, Jerla sped around third. Alas, almost standing at the bag, Datres caught a pinpointed relay throw. Knowing that trying to return to third would have made absolutely no sense, Jerla, who'd momentarily braked, had no choice but to head for home. The throw went to C Evan Moore, who chased Jerla a short distance and had no problem making the game-ending tag. What a deflating finish . . . In his five-inning stint, Doudican allowed seven hits and two walks while recording three strikeouts. Jerla surrendered one apiece (the hit was a leadoff double smoked into the left-center gap) to go along with a whiff. Honestly, Loyalsock did a tremendous job with moving guys along in the two-run second. Two perfectly-placed/punched-hard sacs wound up going for base hits and the second brought in a run. Those babies were textbook. Major props. N-G tallied one run apiece in the third and fourth. An error made the first one unearned; Ockimey got it home with a sac fly to left. In the fourth, D'Amore thrashed a one-out double down the rightfield line and Verratti got him home with two outs by hammering a liner up the middle that ticked ever-so-slightly off Datres' glove. Loyalsock, in Williamsport, had at least twice as many supporters as N-G. One was a quite loud lady, and the N-G folks did not withhold sarcastic comments. (One even told a Loyalsock batter to do a better job of placing foul balls, with the hope that one would hit Ms. Chirper.) Meanwhile, mindful that Dillsburg does not exactly match South Philly in terms of the kind of people who live there, one N-G parent kidded that the first ball would be thrown out by Jed Clampett (ha ha). Google him, young heads. Others tried to one-up the first guy by mentioning other back-in-the-day TV hicks. Former Lamberton star Chris Calciano, who scouts for the Red Sox and was most responsible for getting his team to heavily pursue Ockimey, was in attendance. Congrats to N-G on a special season. And since so many stalwarts will be returning in 2015, more great moments will be expected.
Here is a list of all Public League, Catholic League and Inter-Ac League players who have been selected in baseball's amateur draft (1965-2014) while in high school. Two Catholic Leaguers were tabbed in the first year. Egan's Rich Koslick opted not to sign, then attended Tennessee Tech, in Cookeville. He was drafted again by the Yankees (28th round) in '68 and spent two years in the New York-Penn League. He lived in the South thereafter and died in 2012 at age 65. St. James' Dennis Malseed also opted not to sign, then was drafted again the following January out of Philadelphia Textile (now Philadelphia University). He pitched for eight seasons in the Pirates' farm system, advancing as high as AA. Career record: 35-33 with a 4.06 ERA. Just five players on the list below have reached the majors -- Southern's George Riley ('74), Penn Charter's Mark Gubicza ('81), Central's John Marzano (also '81), Northeast's Jesse Levis ('86) and Malvern's Ben Davis ('95). Of course, other Pub/Cath/Int guys have made it after being drafted out of college, or even after being signed as free agents. Note: a few of the no-no guys (check last two columns) did play pro ball after signing as free agents. If I missed anyone . . . email@example.com. Thanks!
Baseball Draftees Selected
Directly Out of
Public, Catholic and Inter-Ac Schools, 1965-2014
|1965||Dennis Malseed||St. James||P||29||Indians||no||yes|
|1966||William "Bill" Scott||Germantown||SS||59||Dodgers||no||no|
|1966||Tom Brooks||St. James||P||8||A's||yes|
|1967||Norm Kraft||Judge||3B||8||White Sox||no||no|
|1967||Tim Foy||Judge||C||35||White Sox||yes|
|1968||Bill Menk||Lincoln||P||9||White Sox||no||yes|
|1969||Mike McKinney||St. James||P||24||A's||no||no|
|1970||David Lawson||Gtn. Academy||P||4||Yankees||yes|
|1970||Jim Sloan||Penn Charter||P||17||Expos||yes|
|1970||David Smith||St. James||C||17||A's||yes|
|1972||Tim Lewis||Gtn. Academy||P||39||Dodgers||no||yes|
|1978||Tito Nanni||Chestnut Hill||1B||1 (6)||Mariners||yes|
|1978||Craig Shumock||Gtn. Academy||3B||14||Twins||no||yes|
|1978||Tom Stauffer||Bonner||P||9||Blue Jays||no||no|
|1979||John DeLeon||University City||1B||30||Orioles||yes|
|1981||Mark Gubicza||Penn Charter||P||2||Royals||yes|
|1988||Mark Steffens||Gtn. Academy||OF||23||Phillies||no||no|
|1989||Jack Stanczak||La Salle||1B||5||Astros||no||yes|
|1993||Courtney Batts||Penn Charter||INF||25||Orioles||no||yes|
|1994||Rick Welsh||Gtn. Academy||SS||8||Orioles||no||no|
|1995||Ben Davis||Malvern||C||1 (2)||Padres||yes|
|1995||Chris Heck||North Catholic||P||26||Pirates||no||yes|
|1998||Josh McKinley||Malvern||SS||1 (11)||Expos||yes|
|2003||Chris Lubanski||Kennedy-Kenrick||OF||1 (5)||Royals||yes|
|2007||Mark Adzick||Penn Charter||P||18||Phillies||no||no|
|2009||Rob Amaro||Penn Charter||3B||40||Phillies||no||no|
|2010||Sean Coyle||Gtn. Academy||SS||3||Red Sox||yes|
|2010||Keenan Kish||Gtn. Academy||P||34||Yankees||no||yes|
|2011||Andrew Amaro||Penn Charter||2B||47||Phillies||no||no|
|2014||Josh Ockimey||Neumann-Goretti||1B||5||Red Sox||??|
As mentioned in yesterday's nugget, this was year No. 50 for baseball's amateur draft. Neumann-Goretti 1B Josh Ockimey was the eighth African-American Pub/Cath/Int player to be drafted while in high school. The first guy, Germantown's William "Bill" Scott, aside from starring in baseball, was a first team All-Pub football honoree and a second-teamer in hoops. He scored 18 points in the '66 championship game, though G-town fell to Edison. Scott did not sign with the Yankees. Roger Gordon, my Penn Charter classmate and a long-time youth baseball coach beloved by all in Philly (and beyond), knew Scott as a teenager and thinks he attended Delaware State or Cheyney. I'll try to nail down that fact. PC's Courtney Batts was a first-magnitude receiver at the University of Delaware.
UPDATE: As Roger confirmed, William "Bill" Scott attended Morgan State, in Baltimore. Not sure if he played other sports there, but he was definitely a prominent basketball player.
African-Americans Who've Been
Out of Pub/Cath/Int Schools (1965-2014)
|1966||William "Bill" Scott||Germantown||SS||59||Dodgers|
|1979||John DeLeon||University City||1B||30||Orioles|
|1993||Courtney Batts||Penn Charter||INF||25||Orioles|
|2014||Josh Ockimey||Neumann-Goretti||1B||5||Red Sox|
Below you'll find the Pub/Cath/Int players who've been selected in the first five rounds of baseball's June draft while in high school. (Other Philly products have been tabbed that high while in college.) This is year No. 50 for the draft (1965-2014). Neumann-Goretti 1B Josh Ockimey is the only African-American on this list.
|Philly Players Who've Been Selected in the First Five Rounds|
|1970||David Lawson||Gtn. Academy||P||4th||Yankees|
|1978||Tito Nanni||Chestnut Hill||1B||1st (6)||Mariners|
|1981||*Mark Gubicza||Penn Charter||P||2nd||Royals|
|1989||Jack Stanczak||La Salle||1B||5th||Astros|
|1995||*Ben Davis||Malvern||C||1st (2)||Padres|
|1998||Josh McKinley||Malvern||SS||1st (11)||Expos|
|2003||Chris Lubanski||Kennedy-Kenrick||OF||1st (5)||Royals|
|2010||Sean Coyle||Gtn. Academy||SS||3rd||Red Sox|
|2014||Josh Ockimey||Neumann-Goretti||1B||5th||Red Sox|
|*reached major leagues|
|spot in round is listed for first-rounders|
It happens once a month on the 5th: Neumann-Goretti breaks a major league record!! Sometimes in concert. Sometimes alone. On May 5, as you might remember, the Saints (eight) and Carroll (seven) combined to score 15 runs in the ninth inning of N-G's 14-13 victory, thus eclipsing the MLB record for runs in ONE extra inning (12). Yesterday, thanks to soph RH Ethan "E" Pritchett, the Saints bested Bloomsburg, 1-0, in a PIAA Class AA quarterfinal and that was their fifth postseason shutout (four in the CL playoffs) and this one in the states. No MLB squad has ever won five times by shutout in one postseason. Once again, I called Elias Sports Bureau (thanks for the help, guys!) and the man on the other end of the phone (did not want his name listed) said the MLB record for postseason shutouts is four, and that it's owned by four teams -- the New York Giants in 1905, the New York Yankees in '98, and the San Francisco Giants in 2010 and '12. N-G has achieved its five shutouts in 10 chances -- seven in the CL playoffs, one City Title and two state playoffs. The '05 Giants' feat is amazing because only the World Series was played in that era. They only got five chances! (The other game in that WS was also a shutout.) The opportunities for the other squads were 13 ('98 Yankees), 15 ('10 Giants) and 16 ('12 Giants). By the way, N-G has allowed 14 runs in its 10 postseason games for a 1.4 average. Breakdowns for N-G and the MLB squads are below.
UPDATED through final game of season, a semifinal loss to Loyalsock. Four runs were allowed, making the final total 18 runs in 11 postseason games for a 1.6 average.
|Neumann-Goretti's Five Postseason Shutouts (in 10 Chances)|
|*Pat Doudican/Jerla||Carroll||CL First||4-0||2||5|
|Charlie Jerla||La Salle||CL LB||1-0||4||5|
|Ethan Pritchett||O'Hara||CL LB-Final||3-0||4||7|
|Charlie Jerla||Roman||CL Final-2||11-0||4||8|
|Ethan Pritchett||Bloomsburg||AA qtr||1-0||2||9|
*-suspended by rain after 6 innings; in the completion Jerla pitched a 1-2-3 7th with no Ks
|MLB Teams With Four Postseason Shutouts|
|1905 NY Giants||World Series||Phila. A's||4||5|
|1999 NY Yankees||ALDS||Texas||2||3|
|World Series||San Diego||1||4|
|2010 SF Giants||NLDS||Atlanta||1||4|
|2012 SF Giants||NLDS||Cincinnati||0||5|
CLASS AAAA QUARTERFINAL
La Salle 3, Hazleton 1
(At Parkland High, in Allentown)
The baseball gods are still on duty and tonight (the game started at 7:11) they favored the 'Splorers. Yes, a total of five hits were posted in the first inning (one run) and fifth inning (two runs), but La Salle scored its markers on a groundout and a pair of bases-loaded, feel-free-to-trot-home-buddy walks. They also benefited from an outrageously unusual ending. Here we go . . . Sr. LH John Scheffey began the seventh by needing just three pitches to notch what would be his sixth and final strikeout (looking). He then issued sr. 3B Mitch O'Donnell, the No. 9 hitter, a four-pitch walk, and jr. OF David Klein drew a five-pitch pass as the plate ump's tight-all-night strike zone appeared to take on the size of a postage stamp; La Salle had been on the favorable end earlier. Jr. CF-P Joe Baran hit a regular flyball to jr. CF Jimmy Herron for out No. 2 and soph LH-OF Dante Biasi followed with a routine grounder to sr. SS AJ Grezeszak. Oops. Perhaps in his excitement to scoop, toss, end this baby and go celebrate, Grezescak committed a bobble and that left the bases loaded for cleanup hitter Robert John, a jr. C with a big frame. At the end of the Neumann-Goretti/Bloomsburg report, I wrote that one of the most important traits an athlete must show is the ability to make a quick bounceback from adversity. As for AJ . . . didn't have to!! The next batter, sr. 2B-RH Sal Biasi did hit a grounder toward shortstop. Notice we didn't write TO shortstop? Reason: the ball hit Klein as he ran from second toward third! He did jump in an attempt to avoid it, but there was, literally, no getting around it. Automatic out. Ballgame. At my request, coach Joe "Or Maybe Mike" Parisi (more on that nickname choice later -- smile) asked AJ afterward whether the ball would have gotten to him; my angle from next to La Salle's dugout wasn't the greatest. AJ said it would have, and the WAY he said so made you KNOW he would have made the play to end it. Scheffey finished with a six-hitter. He forced the Cougars to strand nine runners, including six in scoring position. He allowed the run in the third as Baran sent a groundball single to center. As for La Salle's uprisings, sr. 2B Brad Schneider (groundball single down the leftfield line) and Herron (crunched single to left-center) had the hits in the first while sr. DH Adam Arcadia (leadoff bunt single), Schneider (looping, one-out single to right) and Herron (infield single to second) collected safeties in the fifth to load the bases. After sr. 3B Dominic Cuoci fanned, sr. C Nick Dermo and jr. 1B Brian Buckley drew full-count walks to bring in runs and get the Hazleton folks a howlin'. During that sequence, the strike zone was about as big as my baseball scoresheet (smile). La Salle managed seven hits (the two others came in the second) and left five runners in scoring position. Schneider and Herron had two apiece. In the third, Herron was guilty of leaving second base too early after Dermo lined to center, so a doubleplay resulted. We did exhaustive research. It's the only mistake Jimmy has made in his entire sporting life (smile). It was cool to see a high school game played at night. The lighting was sufficient, though of course the light standards were not WAY up there so any high flyball had to be carefully tracked. Had a nice pregame talk with La Salle sr. hoopster Sean Greenberg, who came out to lend support (as did maybe a dozen other-sport athletes). Sean is headed for Penn State (main campus) and will likely try to make the team as a walk-on. Note to coach Pat Chambers (Episcopal product) and assistant Brian Daly (Bonner product): Sean is still blossoming and would be a wonderful addition to your program. The kid's a go-getter. Joe Parisi was called "Mike" by the PA announcer during pregame intros. Guess what? Joe has a brother named Mike and he was a pretty good pitcher (Archbishop Ryan, Spring Garden College, Pen-Del League) back in the day. On the way home, a visit was made to the Allentown rest stop on the turnpike's Northeast Extension. Any possible chance to wolf down a burger and fries at Roy Rogers must be seized. Also in line were a La Salle player and, assumedly, his mom. They were tall and slender. They must not hit the Fast Food Trail too often (ha ha). UPDATE . . . The player was '11 grad Nick Krol. The mom was Joyce. Nick's brother, Joe "Cardinal" Krol, is a pitcher on this year's squad.
CLASS AA QUARTERFINAL
Neumann-Goretti 1, Bloomsburg 0
(At Parkland High, in Allentown)
Any coach would feel great to have soph RH Ethan "E" Pritchett as his No. 1 starter. On the Saints, Pritchett is coach Kevin Schneider's No. 3 starter and -- check it out -- he's doing so well, he has pitched two shutouts in postseason action. Not bad, eh? In the losers bracket final, he posted a four-hitter with seven strikeouts as N-G bested O'Hara, 3-0. Today he went that effort a few notches better, twirling a two-hitter with nine whiffs and two walks (one intentional). Obviously, when the score is only 1-0, you're walking a way-up-there tightrope and only jagged rocks are below. But Pritchett Wallendaed his way across with minimal difficulty and the shutout was No. 5 (in 10 games) during this quite-amazing postseason. "E", who lives in Camden, N.J., and formerly attended Paul VI, in South Jersey, faced 26 batters and just once did five guys go to the plate. That was in the sixth. With one away, sr. CF Colby Klingerman zipped a sinking liner that one-hopped jr. RF Bay To. Klingerman thieved second while sr. RF Evan Ball was striking out, so a window was left open for Schneider. Pitch to star sr. RH Colton Hock, or put him on base? The unofficial baseball book of dos and don'ts says to never put the go-ahead run on base, Hock was waved down to first and Pritchett had to face sr. 1B Ricky Klingerman, a lefty who'd twice grounded out to sr. 1B Josh Ockimey. Again, Klingerman sent a grounder to the right side. But this time it traveled to jr. 2B Vinny Vaccone, who made the gobble-it-up and tossed to "Ock" to end what turned out to be a non-uprising. Pritchett pitched a 1-2-3 seventh -- a sliding catch toward right-center by To, a grounder to soph 3B Nicky D'Amore and a game-ending looking K. That punchout gave "E" at least one whiff in every inning. Niiiiice! Like always, as the game ended, the understated Pritchett walked off the mound like someone who was walking a dog. Not a hint of emotion. That's how he rolls (smile). According to Joe Messina, who guides N-G pitchers, Hock, a Stanford signee and potentially a high-round draftee, was working on two days rest after pitching five in Monday's first round. He throws serious flames and there were times when he REALLY humped it up. N-G managed four hits and they came in a two-in-a-row fashion. With one away in the third, soph CF Brian Verratti, the No. 8 hitter, fired a groundball single into right. Vaccone then sent a single through the vacated left-side hole (Verratti had briefly acted as though he was going to try to steal second) to make it first and second. After To popped out, the run scored only because of a passed ball that was followed by a wild pitch. Not exactly a classic rally, but one suspects the Saints didn't mind a BIT (smile). In the fourth, jr. C Tommy Nardini and jr. DH Pat Doudican posted one-out singles. After D'Amore moved them up by inside-outing a groundout to first, jr. SS Justin Curtin worked a four-pitch walk. Though the first two pitches to Verratti were balls, Hock regrouped and wound up recording a punchout; he finished with 10. Though "Ock" fanned in all three of his at-bats (very hard to believe), he made a spectacular, full-dive effort in an attempt to catch a foul pop near N-G's dugout. Wonderful effort. Also, he finished with 11 putouts and seven involved no one else (three grounders, four popups). In the third, D'Amore bobbled an easy grounder. The next batter also hit a grounder his way, but more toward the line. Nicky made an impressive, across-the-body stab and got the out at first. That's one of the most important traits an athlete must show: the ability to make a quick bounceback from adversity.
Here is a list of strong, lengthy (at least five innings) relief performances made by Catholic League pitchers in postseason contests. In '99, La Salle's Keith Olender and Conwell-Egan's Phil Papirio (his dad, Rich, was the coach) combined to pitch 12 innings. In '12, N-G's John La Motta and Bonner's Pat Vanderslice combined to pitch 15. That game lasted 14 innings and required 4 hours, 15 minutes. Huck covered it and he's still exhausted (smile). His game report is here. . . . Did I miss any other goodies? firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks.
UPDATED with Frank Rauscher's performance in '91. Thanks to then-Carroll coach Frank Allison.
UPDATED with info about Brendan Murray. Had a nice talk the evening of June 8 with Brendan, who happens to be the brother of the Prep's forever soccer coach/athletic director, Jim Murray. Brendan, a righthander (and in that season a soph), said he started that game in left field and that his pitching stint was interrupted by two rain delays. In all, the game and delays lasted roughly 5 1/2 hours! Brendan credited CF Ray Palmer with a tremendous, over-the-shoulder catch that kept three runs off the board. Maybe two weeks beforehand, Brendan said, he pitched complete games separated by two days. In the second, he walked the first three batters . . . but finished with a no-hitter!!
|Strong, Lengthy Relief Performances Made by CL Pitchers in Postseason Games|
|1962||Brendan Murray||SJ Prep||St. James||Lost||CL final||8||allowed four hits and no runs in nine-inning game|
|1985||Chris Gies||Judge||St. James||Won||CL final||6 2/3||allowed three hits and no runs|
|1986||Bob Valach||Ryan||Wood||Won||CL 2nd||6 2/3||allowed two hits and no runs; fanned six|
|1988||Chuck Coleman||Egan||Ryan||Lost||CL 1st||5||allowed no hits/runs|
|1990||Frank Rauscher||Carroll||O'Hara||Won||CL 2nd||6||allowed five hits and no runs; fanned 11|
|1999||Keith Olender||La Salle||Egan||Won||CL 2nd||5||allowed four hits and one run (unearned) while fanning six|
|1999||Phil Papirio||Egan||La Salle||Lost||CL 2nd||7||allowed two runs while fanning six|
|2006||Rob Graham||Bonner||O'Hara||Won||CL 2nd||5 2/3||allowed no runs and four hits while fanning nine|
|2007||Andrew Candelore||Carroll||Bonner||Won||CL 1st||5 2/3||allowed one run (unearned) and one hit|
|2009||Brian Zielinski||La Salle||Wood||Won||CL semi||6||allowed two runs (one earned) and five hits; fanned five|
|2012||John La Motta||N-G||Bonner||Won||CL semi||9||allowed one run and four hits; fanned 10|
|2012||Pat Vanderslice||Bonner||N-G||Lost||CL semi||6-plus||allowed one run (unearned) and five hits|
|2013||Dan Furman||Bonner||W. York||Lost||3A 1st||8||allowed three runs (one earned) and five hits|
|2014||Charlie Jerla||N-G||Berks Cath||Won||2A 1st||6||allowed no runs and three hits|
Every pitcher strives to post an impressive ERA. Neumann-Goretti sr. lefthander Charlie Jerla is doing even more. In postseason action this year, he owns a perfect AKORA. What the heck is that? I just made it up (ha ha). The letters stand for Any Kind Of Run Average, and Jerla has allowed no one to cross the plate in 22 innings. With slick-fielding help from his teammates, of course. In his latest bit of mastery, two days ago, Jerla entered a first-round AA state playoff vs. Berks Catholic in the second inning, with no outs and a runner on first. He allowed three hits over his six-inning stint while also walking/whiffing three apiece. The Saints overcame a 3-0 deficit to win, 5-3. Jerla has made six appearances (two as a starter) and his record is 4-0. Charlie was the Saints' No. 3 pitcher last year behind then-seniors Joe Kinee and John La Motta and this year he shares the load with jr. LH Pat Doudican and soph RH Ethan "E" Pritchett. Joe Messina, pitching coach for first-year boss Kevin Schneider (and for two other coaches beforehand), said of Jerla, "I've never seen a kid so locked in. And I've never seen a kid improve as much from freshman to senior year. Definition of hard work being rewarded. He never stopped trying to get better." Jerla, also a productive outfielder, is headed for D-I Marist.
UPDATED through final game of season, a semifinal loss to Loyalsock. Charlie pitched one inning, in relief, and allowed one unearned run along with one hit and one walk. He also fanned one.
|Charlie Jerla's Final Postseason Pitching Stats|
|Charlie Jerla (4-0)||23||13||1||0||8||17||0.00||0.30|
Masterman's Liam Shanahan spent his freshman season splitting time between the mound and that position located between second and third base. Yes, shortstop. Big deal, you say? So do we, but without the sarcasm (smile). You see, Shanahan throws lefthanded and that makes him quite the rarity. In preparation for this posting, with the help of the DN/Inky database, I did some research on lefty shortstops. Two prominent ex-Phillies are part of the club. In '93, as the Phillies marched toward the World Series, I did weekly profiles on team members. John Kruk said he played SS at Keyser High, in West Virginia, because his brother, Larry, was the school's other pitcher and the coach figured it was easier to just move those guys back and forth. Also, in '87, Jamie Moyer told Inquirer columnist Frank Dolson that he'd played SS in his younger days. In '08, Unionville High sr. OF Pete Hissey (now in the minors; has advanced as high as AAA) played SS in a non-league game, and he said he'd routinely played it through Jr. American Legion. Meanwhile, in a preview for the '87 high school season, I wrote that Kensington would have a lefty SS, Johnny Rivera. Yesterday, I had a brief chat with La Salle jr. CF Jimmy Herron, a lefty. He said he played SS until roughly age 11 in intra-mural games. And to wrap up with a weird one . . . On Sept. 13, 1979, the Orioles visited the Blue Jays. The O's starting SS was Tom Chism, a lefty from Chester High who'd always been a first baseman through a successful minor league career. (His MLB career was quite short.) One problem: Chism did not actually "play" SS in that game. He batted in the top of the first, then Kiko Garcia went out to play the position. Liam is the son of Pat Shanahan, a prominent basketball ref and former player at Neumann. Liam had a wonderful first season for the Blue Dragons, averaging 18.4 points in 16 games. And he scored some of those points righthanded.
This was also part of the '93 John Kruk profile:
Best advice he has received: "When my dad, our coach, asked me to play shortstop in a summer league at age 13 or 14, I told him I didn't want to play there anymore after making three errors in one inning. He told me, 'If you don't want to play shortstop, go home, I don't want you.' He said, 'You play where the coach tells you to play.' That taught me young to respect the coach."
PIAA FIRST-ROUND PLAYOFFS
AAAA: La Salle 6, Boyertown 3
A: Schuylkill Haven 12, Masterman 2 (5 inn.)
(Doubleheader at Richie Ashburn Field)
La Salle game: There IS a baseball god. And today he fiiiiinally let sr. RH Dominic Cuoci pitch on a day when I was among the witnesses. I half-expected "Cootch" to not be on hand and for coach Joe Parisi to say something outrageous such as, "He's spending the week in Idaho. He wants to learn how to grow potatoes." Just my luck! But pitch he did and win he did, albeit in semi-crazy fashion. Cuoci, who's bound for Saint Joseph's, allowed 10 hits while going the distance. But six of those, including a run-scoring bunt single in the seventh, never left the infield. In fairness, the Bears did spank some shots right into outs. Cuoci walked none and whiffed five. La Salle scored two in the first and four in the fourth. Two RBI apiece went to sr. C Nick Dermo (shot to center in the first), jr. CF Jimmy Herron (grounder through the left side) Cuoci (crunch-job double to the base of the fence in right). The Explorers had just five hits, but milked five walks and absorbed three plunkings. Sr. 2B Brad Schneider and sr. RF Ryan Coonahan (both singles) collected the hits that were not previously mentioned. Dermo gunned down a pair of would-be thieves. Parisi's new nickname is "Possum." In the fourth, sr. SS AJ Grezeszak fouled off a squeeze bunt. As Grezeszak stepped back in, Parisi yelled in from the third-base coach's box, "C'mon, hit a line drive somewhere, No. 7!" It was a ruse! Grezeszak bunted again! But the baserunning wasn't exactly high quality, so no run was scored. Luckily for La Salle, Schneider then got plunked and the two-run hits by Herron and Cuoci came immediately thereafter. Interesting nugget: Boyertown's squad included Dalton Hughes and T. Dalton Hughes. The T stands for Timothy, but he goes by his middle name because his dad goes by Tim. They're not related.
Masterman game: As most Philly people know, Masterman is considered the crown jewel of public high schools from the academic standpoint. With that in mind, and perhaps sensing that the Blue Dragons might be in for a long afternoon against a team with bigger, older kids, assistant John Katzner quipped right before the game began, "When this is over, we want to play them in 'Jeopardy.' " Within five innings, it WAS over. The visitors scored two apiece in the first and third and four apiece in the second and fifth while Masterman managed two in the third. Through the fourth, the good thing for Masterman was that SH at least was earning its runs. Then, the final four markers were unearned. The pitching was split between jr. RH Greg Whitehorn and frosh LH Liam Shanahan. When not pitching, each guy played shortstop. Have you been paying attention?? Yes, we saw a lefty shortstop! Very cool! Shanahan caught a liner and got an assist after gloving a grounder and tossing to frosh 3B Scott Phillips. Shanahan also had two impressive moments on the mound. He came all the way in to the plate area to snag a popup in the fourth, then in the fifth scrambled to his right to smother a chopper and gun to soph 1B John Pizzollo for the out. Masterman's one uprising began when jr. 2B Gil "Schuylgil" Haven was plunked and walks were drawn by frosh LF Nick Vicoli and Shanahan. Whitehorn chopped into a 1-2 forceout, Phillips phanned and Pizzollo sent a grounder up the middle that should have ended the inning. Instead, a misplay allowed two runs to score. Overall, Masterman's three hits -- all singles -- went to Vicoli, Shanahan and frosh Isaac Levy. Have you been paying attention, part II? The Blue Devils were incredibly young this season. There were NO seniors on coach Vic Otarola's roster and just three juniors. The future should be very bright. In the second, SH sr. LF Mike Feryo hit a double over Levy's head. When Feryo came up again in the third, Otarola yelled out to Levy, "You might want to move back! He hit it over your head last time!" You know what's coming . . . Though Levy did move back a few steps, Feryo again hit the ball over his head. SH arrived at Ashburn Field in a tour bus. The Blue Devils were loving that one. They were kidding about how crazy a ride up there on a regular School District "banana bus" would have been. "Hey, Mr. O," sub frosh Jack Winner said to Otarola. "How'd you like to be on a bus with us for three hours? I'll sit right next to you!" Something tells me he's the team clown (smile).
The PIAA state playoffs begin today and six District 12 teams will be involved -- three apiece from the Cath and Pub. Below are won-lost and runs for/runs against totals for each league, broken down by classification, since they began participating in state playoffs in 2009 and 2005, respectively. One team, La Salle in AAAA in '12, has won a state title. SJ Prep ('09 in AAAA), Neumann-Goretti ('09 in AAA) and N-G again ('12 in AAA) have advanced to semis. In the Pub in '06, two AAAA teams participated. Central advanced to the semis. Overall, D-12 teams are 16-46 and have been outscored, 459-162. The Pub has experienced outrageous struggles, going 4-34 while being outscored by 352-72.
|Results for Catholic League Teams in State Playoffs (12-12, 90 RF-107 RA)|
|CLASS AAAA||CLASS AAA||CLASS AA|
|Results for Public League Teams in State Playoffs (4-34, 72 RF-352)|
|CLASS AAAA||CLASS AAA||CLASS AA||CLASS A|
In deep South Philly, the last three days of this week produced some amazing firsts. Friday and Saturday, vs. the Mets at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies played consecutive games that lasted as long as 14 innings for the first time in their history. They won the first one, 6-5, in 14, then lost the second one, 5-4, again in 14. Those games required 10 hours, 55 minutes, and 945 pitches were thrown. But on Thursday, southwest of CBB at Richie Ashburn Field, in FDR Park, the first of three City Titles offered a goodie, as well. (As did game No. 3, as detailed in Friday's Tedbits). In what turned out to the last inning (fifth) of Neumann-Goretti's 12-1 rocking of Philadelphia Academy for Class AA honors, sr. 1B Josh Ockimey, an Indiana signee who's expected to be selected in the upcoming draft, sat on a 3-0 fastball and hammered a grand slam to right-center. The ball landed a shade to the right of the 375-foot sign, so we'll say it traveled 370 feet. This game was the 49th in CT history (one apiece from 1945-79, as many as three each year since '09) and Ockimey's slam was the first. Also, "Ock" was the Catholic League's first lefty swinger to hit a postseason slam. That covers all varieties of games: CL playoffs, CTs, state playoffs. Below is a list of postseason slams by CL players. The first didn't occur until a first-round playoff in 1988, and it was, what else, slammed by Bonner second baseman Jim Snell. The second baseman was the Friars' seventh hitter, the opponent was St. Joseph's Prep and the ball traveled roughly 360 feet to left-center at Haverford College, according to the note on my scoresheet from that day. Also, the pitch was a 2-0 fastball. Below is a list of all slams hit by CL players . . .
|Postseason Grand Slams by Catholic League Players|
|'14||*Josh Ockimey||Neum.-Gor.||Phila. Acad.||AA CT||right-center at Ashburn Field|
|'09||Matt McAllister||Wood||La Salle||CL semi||dead left at Philadelphia University|
|'07||Joe Ashdale||Judge||North Cath.||CL 2nd||left-center (over the Blue Monster) at Widener University|
|'04||Chris Cashman||Carroll||Ryan||CL final||dead left at La Salle University (moments after his foul popup was dropped)|
|'97||Mike DeLuca||Neumann||Carroll||CL 2nd||left-center (deep into the trees) at Philadelphia Textile (now University)|
|'93||Brian Schaller||Wood||Kenrick||CL 2nd||dead left at La Salle University; ball hit a car that belonged to a college coach|
|'88||Jim Snell||Bonner||SJ Prep||CL 1st||left-center at Haverford College|
In 1983, Ben Franklin became the first team to win a Public League baseball championship with a lineup featuring only African-American (six) and Latino players (three). Going back to 1975, I strongly believe only nine other African-Americans have been starters for Pub champs (total is now up to 11, as of June 1). The details are below. If I missed someone, please speak up. email@example.com. In '83, Franklin's African-American starters were Deron Miller, Curt Fripps, Steve Thomas, Randy Clark, Anthony Franklin and Anthony McQuillar. The Latinos were Ron Friedrich, Eddie Arocho and Orlando Ortiz. The boxscore for that game, detailing their performances, is here.
UPDATED JUNE 1 to include Central 3B Ricardo Tull in 2010. Thanks to his teammate, Mark Gervasi, for the heads-up! As well
as Central 3B Barron Johnston in 2009 (yielded to a DH; not part of batting order).
|African-American Starters for Public League Baseball Champions, 1975-2014|
|'14||Ishmael Bracy||1B||Washington||Fkn Towne||3-2||Went 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored|
|'10||Ricardo Tull||3B||Central||Frankford||7-3||Went 1-for-3|
|'09||Ian Lewis||CF||Central||Northeast||12-2||Went 1-for-3 with two RBI, a run scored and a steal|
|Barron Johnston||3B||Central||Northeast||12-2||Was not part of batting order|
|'01||Noah White||P||Central||Lincoln||1-0||Pitched a 4-hitter with eight strikeouts|
|Teddy Lipford||SS||Central||Lincoln||1-0||Went 0-for-3 (Central managed just two hits)|
|'96||John Griffin||RF||Northeast||Central||5-4||Went 2-for-5 with a double and scored the winning run in the 11th|
|'93||Michael Tatom||RF||Central||Washington||4-3||Went 0-for-2, but plated a run with a sac fly|
|'84||Leroy Mines||CF||Northeast||Central||11-0||Went 0-for-4 with one run scored|
|'79||Ernell Harley||SS||Mastbaum||Bartram||10-9||Went 2-for-4 with a double and one RBI|
|'76||Stan Hendrickson||CF||Central||Southern||11-1||Went 0-for-4|
Yesterday, in an 8-0 win over Franklin Towne for the Class AAA City Title, Wood soph RH Anthony Russo became the first pitcher in city postseason history (Public, Catholic, City Titles) to strike out as many as 14 batters while also allowing no more than one hit; only quarterfinals onward for the Pub. ***In a Pub round-of-16 game in '92, Central beat King, 12-1, as Chris Camburn was credited with a no-hitter and 15 whiffs. This game was not covered in person by a DN reporter or stat man.*** Below are lists for CTs only. There have been 51 CTs, one apiece from 1945 through '79 and 16 total over the last six years -- six apiece in AAAA and AAA, four in AA. The games were scheduled for nine innings through '66. The '68 contest, played at the Phillies' Connie Mack Stadium, was a true classic. Here's that recap:
Egan 1, Southern 0 (11 inn.)
A pair of lefties, Egan's Dennis Yesenosky and Southern's Willie Jones, were masterful in this marathon. Yesenosky allowed two hits and three walks and set strikeout records for seven innings (12), nine innings (17) and overall (20). Jones allowed eight hits and fanned 16. In the home 11th, singles by Tony Varacallo, Dan Connors and Jim Colella loaded the bases. Jim Carpenter sent a sinking liner to right and Vince DeMeis made the catch. With all three runners moving a doubleplay was possible, but DeMeis's throw to first was off-line. Jones then walked Paul Scalzone on four pitches to end it. In the sixth, Southern had runners thrown out at second and the plate.
|Lowest-Hit Performances in City Title History|
|1||Bob Eichhorn||N. Catholic||Overbrook||'50||9||7|
|1||Bill Mendek||W. Catholic||Mastbaum||'79||7||10|
|1||Anthony Russo||Wood||Fkn Towne||'14-3A||7||14|
|Highest-K Performances in City Title History|
|16||Willie Jones||Southern||Egan||'68||10.1 (L)||8|
|15||Mike Marks||N. Catholic||Southern||'54||9 (L)||4|
|15||Mike Flanagan||St. James||Lincoln||'62||9||6|
|14||Mike Flanagan||St. James||Bartram||'63||8||4|
|14||Tom Brooks||St. James||Lincoln||'65||9 (L)||5|
|14||Anthony Russo||Wood||Fkn Towne||'14-3A||7||1|
|(L) = losing performance|
(At Ashburn Field)
Wood 8, Franklin Towne 0
La Salle 16, Washington 1 (5 inn.)
Neumann-Goretti 12, Phila. Academy 1 (5 inn.)
Wood game: If the championship plaque winds up becoming warped, blame Brian Klumpp and Bobby Heck. Klumpp is an assistant and Heck is a soph and maybe five minutes after the plaque had been earned, Klumpp gave Heck, a soph bench guy, the OK to dump a bucket of frigid water on coach Jim "Dege" DiGuiseppe Jr. Heck approached from behind and got Dege good. He also got the plaque because it was still in the coach's hands (smile) . . . Later, Dege and friends celebrated the win at the nearby Chickie's & Pete's and Dege reported via text that he was "freezing." No doubt! . . . Wood's standout was soph RH Anthony Russo, who used a riding fastball and effective curve to pitch a one-hitter with 14 strikeouts! One more whiff and he would have tied the forever record for CTs lasting seven innings. Lefty George Riley, who went on to pitch in the majors, mowed down 15 for Southern vs. Ryan in 1974 . . . Russo took a no-hitter into the sixth. Sr. 2B Ray Lopez led off with a clean single (grounder, a shade to the right of the middle) to center. He then was doubled off as frosh C Jason Santiago sent a liner right into Russo's glove . . . Five of Russo's whiffs came on called third strikes . . . He walked one (jr. LF Steve Callahan with two away in the seventh) . . . Sr. SS Erik Bowren went 3-for-4 with a double, homer and four RBI. He provided an immediate boost with a three-run homer to dead left in the first. The ball cleared the fence maybe 12 feet to the right of the 330-foot sign . . . Soph RF Joe Lancellotti went 2-for-3 with one RBI. Sr. LF Matt Funk posted two hits and scored twice . . . FT sr. 3B Brian Bradley, again and again, had bullets hit to him or near him or over his impressive leaps (smile) . . . Callahan came within a whisker of making a tremendous catch of a bolt off Funk's bat . . . FT soph 1B Zackery Beltran, already an impressive swinger, was missing due to a school function.
La Salle game: I know this will come as a gigantic shock, but sr. LH John Scheffey got the start for La Salle. This was my seventh view of the Explorers this season, including one just for pics and one via the Internet. He has pitched EVERY time! As far as I know, I'm not his uncle (smile) . . . The Explorers dropped an 11-run bomb in the second, sending 17 batters to the plate. There were six hits and sr. RF Ryan "Future Mayor of Oreland" Coonahan had the most productive, a two-run single. There were also five walks, and a got-plunked . . . That uprising was given major life but what appeared to be a missed call at third on a steal. Not sure why that one unfolded the way it did . . . One of Washington's players left early to go to a prom . . . La Salle jr. CF Jimmy Herron was productive in every plate appearance: sac fly, walk, RBI single, single . . . Early in the game, first base ump Mike Finney yelled, "That's a . . . ," stopping himself short. Budding DN legend Aaron "Ace" Carter quipped, "I never saw a balk on a balk call." Ha, ha, ha . . . GW jr. 1B Ishmael Bracy went to the mound for the third and posted two strong innings before La Salle reached him for four in the fifth . . . Felt good for La Salle jr. Connor Williams. Always a runner, he got a chance to hit in the fifth and ripped a two-run single to left . . . Rumor has it: coach Joe Parisi's face is still quite sore because he had to smile for such a long stretch as the Explorers posed for a post-game team pic (ha ha).
N-G game: Early this week, N-G sr. 1B Josh Ockimey swooshed to Miami to work out for the Marlins, a sure sign that he's being taken very seriously for the upcoming draft. Today he again showed why. "Ock" went 3-for-4 with five RBI and a grand slam was part of that package. In the fifth, he jumped on a 3-0 pitch and launched one over the fence in right-center, a shade to the right of the 375-foot sign. It was the first slam in CT history! . . . Jr. RF Bay To walked, doubled, singled and walked while bagging two RBI and scoring thrice . . . The best hit in the three-run first was a two-run double smashed to right by jr. DH Pat Doudican . . . Jr. 2B Vinny Vaccone wonderfully repped No. 9 hitters everywhere, going 3-for-3 with a triple, one RBI and three runs scored . . . The starter was soph RH Ethan "E" Pritchett. He almost hit sr. 1B Travis Zink in the helmet, then DID hit Tim Zink, Travis' brother and a jr. C, in the helmet. He then was removed for what was said to be a flareup of back pain . . . Thus, the win went to jr. RH Gino Tripodi . . . PA scored in the fourth when sr. SS-RH Eric Heisler fired a leadoff double over the RF's head, moved over on a passed ball and raced home when Tripodi made an errant throw on a pickoff attempt . . . PA soph 2B Tyler Sharp is the son of Washington assistant Craig Sharp. Tyler's brother, Corey, last year was an All-Public OF for G-Dub. He was on hand today. Ditto for Jake Wright, a first team All-City OF last year for Washington (and second team punter). He just finished a post-grad year at The Hill School, in Pottstown. Great to see you, guys! . . . In all, the Cath rang up a 36-2 scoring advantage in the three CTs. Ouch!
This is school year No. 6 for the Catholic League as a PIAA member and that means the City Title baseball series, originally scrapped after the '79 contest, is in year No. 6 of part two. Unfortunately, the results have been extremely one-sided. The Catholic League has captured all 13 contests and has happily ch-chinged its way to a 135-14 scoring advantage (now 171-16). There were no AA games in '11 and '12 because District 12 and District 1 are combined for playoff purposes and two 12 squads from the different leagues did not happen to meet. In olden times (smile), the Cath won the last four CTs. The Pub's last win was in '75, when Southern bested O'Hara, 7-1, behind Jack Manfredi's nine-K no-hitter. Here's hoping today's games are competitive . . .
UPDATED with 2014 results
|Class AAAA||Class AAA||Class AA|
|2014||La Salle||Washington||16-1||Wood||Fkn Towne||8-0||Neum.-Gor.||Phila. Acad.||12-1|
|2013||La Salle||Frankford||8-0||Bonn.-Pren.||Fkn Towne||5-0||Neum.-Gor.||Prep Char.||5-2|
|2012||La Salle||Frankford||14-1||Neum.-Gor.||Phila. Elec.||13-0||None|
|2009||SJ Prep||Central||11-1||Neum.-Gor.||Fkn Towne||17-1||Kenn.-Ken.||Esperanza||12-1|
MAY 28 (Evening)
Eleven of the last 16 Pub titles have been won by coaches who earned All-Pub honors while playing . . .
|Coach||School||Title(s)||Played for . . .||All-Public Honor(s)|
|Calvin Jones||Northeast||1999||Edison||1st team 3B in '69 and '70|
|Bob Peffle||Frankford||2000, '03, '04, '05, '07||Frankford||1st team SS in '65|
|Juan Namnun||Frankford||2008, '11, '12, '13||Frankford||2nd team P in '95|
|Ken Geiser||Washington||2014||Washington||1st team C in '79|
Here is a breakdown of Washington's 10 Pub championships . . .
Note: In yesterday's final, each starter -- Washington's Roger Hanson and Franklin Towne's Steve Callahan -- pitched seven full innings for the first time since the '86 final. In that one, Central's pitcher was Rich Fernandez.
|Year||Coach||Foe in Final||Score||Winning Pitcher||RBI Leader|
|1978||John Hughes||Northeast||9-4||Marc Ross||Rich Young (2)|
|1980||John Hughes||Northeast||5-4||*Jack Obozian||John Foreman (2)|
|1982||John Hughes||Southern||8-6||Dave Shepherd||Scott Gisler (3)|
|1985||Joe O'Hara||Frankford||14-1||Wally Tittelmayer||Glen Hassett (4)|
|1986||Joe O'Hara||Central||7-1||Kevin Higgins||5 with 1 apiece|
|1987||Joe O'Hara||Roxborough||14-1||Kevin Higgins||Larry Kolongowski (5)|
|1988||Joe O'Hara||Central||7-3||*Ken Mulderrig||Larry Kolongowski (2)|
|1991||Joe O'Hara||Lincoln||18-8||Ray Barnhart||Vince Trunfio (4)|
|1995||Joe O'Hara||Northeast||7-6||*Frank Jarosiewicz||Jeff Whitmore (3)|
|2014||Ken Geiser||Franklin Towne||3-2||Roger Hanson||Ishmael Bracy (2)|
Long-time -- even medium-time -- followers of Pub baseball will find two upcoming facts impossible to believe, but here we go: Washington has not won a championship since 1995 and has not appeared in a final since '99. Fact No. 2 will change today when the Eagles meet Franklin Towne Charter, at 3:30, at Ashburn Field in deep South Philly (FDR Park, across Broad Street from the Sixers/Flyers arena). Will Fact No. 1? Up to the players. In the '95 final, Washington bested Northeast, 7-6, in nine innings, at La Salle University as Ric Mruk, with the bases loaded and everyone playing in, crushed a 330-foot, walkoff single off the leftfield fence. The Eagles made a return trip to the final in '99, but were thumped by Northeast, 15-6. The 2000 season brought a shocker. In the round of 16, Washington fell to Saul, 3-2. The Razorbacks were only in their third Pub season and occupied a spot in lowly Division C. They scored their three runs in the visiting seventh on an error and two bases-loaded walks. Not pretty. In today's game, the Eagles will be the visitor and that shouldn't make them cringe. While winning nine championships from '78 to '95, the Eagles seized five of those as the visiting team. A member of that '78 squad was Ken Geiser, who's now in his third season as the coach. Though a backup in '78, he became a starter as a senior in '79 and was impressive enough at catcher to earn second team Daily News All-City honors. Can't imagine too many guys have "come out of nowhere" to that degree . . . Today's game will be shown on Sports Fan Base Network with Ari Bluestein on play-by-play and Randy Seidman on color.
Washington's 14 Seasons
With No Title-Game Visits
|Year||Eliminated in . . .||By . . .||Score|
|2000||Round of 16||Saul||3-2|
When Neumann-Goretti recently captured the Catholic League baseball championship, a rare trifecta was completed. For the first time since the 1959-60 school year, the coaches of title-winning teams in three major sports were NOT products of CL schools. Gabe Infante, who steered St. Joseph's Prep to the AAAA football title, graduated from Memorial High, in West New York, N.J. -- The winning coaches at the AAA and AA levels, Wood's Steve Devlin (Ryan) and West Catholic's Brian Fluck (West), ARE grads of CL schools. -- Carl Arrigale, who led N-G to a sixth consecutive CL basketball crown, starred in hoops at Penn Charter, of the Inter-Ac League, and was the I-A MVP in '84. Kevin Schneider, N-G's first-year baseball coach, hails from Lawrenceville, N.J., and was a pitching star at Lawrence High before achieving the same status at Monmouth University. In 1959-60, the respective coaches were Jack Ferrante (Bonner football), Tom Sabol (Bonner basketball) and Paul "Bart" Bartolomeo (Neumann baseball). All three were truly amazing. Ferrante, who was born in Camden, then raised in South and West Philly, attended a trade school that did not offer football. He dropped out in the 10th grade to work in a supermarket. He got his football start with neighborhood teams, later played for a minor league team and gradually became so good, wow, he wound up starting at wide receiver for the Eagles' championship teams in 1948 and '49! Sabol starred in all three major sports at Southern (class of '45). He was a first team coaches' All-Pub honoree in football and basketball and likely was in baseball, as well, though a list for that season is not available. In football, his 66-yard fumble return enabled the Rams to top West Catholic, 13-7, for the City Title. In basketball, he had 10 points and dominated the boards as the Rams thumped West Philly, 45-21, for the Pub crown. The '45 baseball Rams also ruled the Pub and he was the team's top pitcher. Three league championships in ONE school year. Not bad, eh? "Bart" was a first team fullback on the Bulletin's All-Scholastic Team (best players in five-county area) for Southern in the fall of 1933. He later coached football AND baseball for 33 years apiece (1946-47 through 1978-79) at N-G's forerunners, garnering two CL championships in football and four in baseball. By the way, over the last 40 years Schneider is the eighth CL baseball coach to produce a championship in his first year. Mike Zolk did likewise for N-G in '12. The period began with a three-in-four-years run: Bill Dugan for O'Hara in '75, Joe McDermott for Judge in '76 and Bob Koch for Roman in '78.
This is the 70th season of Catholic League baseball -- Part Two, that is; the league had a short first stint from '24 through '27 -- and Neumann-Goretti captured its fourth championship in the last six seasons: '09, '11, '12 and '14. Three guys were starters for three of those teams, and now four guys can claim they were starters for three champs. For N-G, the three are '12 grads Marty Venafro (always at shortstop) and Nicky Nardini (DH as frosh; C as junior and senior) and '14 grad Josh Ockimey (always at first base). The other three-time starter for a champion was Frank Ryan, the rightfielder for long-gone St. James' consecutive titlists in '61, '62 and '63. He was still around in '64, but the Bulldogs fell in the final to Judge, 7-2. Ockimey, a lefty swinger bound for the University of Indiana (maybe; we'll see what happens after the upcoming draft), started in 16 CL playoff games over his four years as a starter -- three apiece in '11, '12 and '13, then seven this year. His stats are below. Meanwhile, Nardini is now an assistant under first-year coach Kevin Schneider and Nicky's brother, Tommy, a junior, is the starting catcher.
|Josh Ockimey's Career Stats in 16 CL Playoffs|
Aside from setting a new CL record for most major-sport playoff wins in one year, with six, Neumann-Goretti's baseball squad doubled the mark for shutout victories. Six teams had managed to post two. The Saints rolled to four thanks to Charlie Jerla, Pat Doudican and Ethan "E" Pritchett. In its seven playoff games, N-G outscored its opponents by 37-10 (and by 35-5 in the wins). One note about Jim Wilks, who posted two shutouts for O'Hara in '75. They were his fourth and fifth in a row! Also, that was his first year as a pitcher. He was a catcher in '74.
|CL Schools With at Least Two Shutouts in a Playoff Series|
|1975||O'Hara||St. James||Jim Wilks||Semi|
|1983||St. James||Roman||Tim McCarthy||First||8-0||3||7|
|1987||Judge||La Salle||Chris Gies||First||6-0||3||7|
|1990||Wood||La Salle||Dan Kusters||Semi||6-0||3||8|
|2012||La Salle||SJ Prep||Kevin Long||Quarter||6-0||1||5|
|La Salle||Charlie Jerla||LB||1-0||4||5|
|*-suspended by rain after 6 innings; in the completion Jerla pitched a 1-2-3 7th with no Ks|
MAY 23 (Evening)
Here are the final stats for Neumann-Goretti in seven CL playoffs (6-1 record) . . .
|*Some runs scored by CRs/PRs Joe Lolio & Mike Plotcher|
|2 Doubles for Doudican/Ockimey, one for To/Jerla (no 3B/HR)|
|Charlie Jerla (3-0)||16||9||0||0||4||13||0.00|
|Pat Doudican (2-0)||18||13||5||4||11||16||1.56|
|Ethan Pritchett (1-1)||12||9||5||5||5||11||2.92|
CATHOLIC LEAGUE "SECOND FINAL"/CHAMPIONSHIP
Neumann-Goretti 11, Roman 0 (5 inn.)
(At La Salle High)
Well, folks, we DID get to witness an all-time CL first in major-sports history, though not the one that looked possible earlier this week. After getting through the winners bracket at 3-0, Roman had two chances to become the first-ever, sub-.500 team (7-8 in Red play) to win a championship in 262 seasons of football, basketball and baseball. Instead, N-G has become the first team in those sports (maybe any sport?) to storm to six CL postseason victories!! The Saints captured a win in the original quarterfinals, let's call them, and then fell to O'Hara in a semifinal. They rolled to three triumphs in the losers bracket, then steamed to two more W's over Roman in the last two games of the double-elimination format. Basically frolicked, too. Both games required just five innings (4 1/2 today, actually, as coach Kevin Schneider's squad was the home team) and the total score was 22-1. Unfortunately, one-sided championship tilts have not been uncommon recently. Just last year, La Salle muffled SJ Prep, 10-0, in five innings. There were also mercy-rule verdicts in 2010 (Bonner beat Ryan, 13-3, in five) and 2007 (SJ Prep sliced and diced Ryan, 19-0). And if you want to travel back to 2002, Carroll that year mashed La Salle, 16-0. Like Wednesday's, this game was scheduled for Widener but just a shade before 1 p.m. the school informed CL folks that the field was unplayable. Bad form, Widener folks. It took THAT long to realize the game couldn't be played there? Brutal. Luckily, Joe Parisi, La Salle's coach and AD, was able to pinch-hit in grand fashion and Ward Field wound up looking perfect (while, as always, giving fits to folks trying to take pics due to assorted, how-it's-laid-out reasons -- smile). Through 2 1/2, the game was scoreless and moving quickly and there was a chance for a vintage contest. Oops, check that. The Saints rang up four runs in the third and seven more in the fourth and, for all players, coaches, umps, spectators, etc., the holiday weekend got off to a somewhat early start (at 5:06). The bottom of the order provided the impetus in the third as jr. SS Justin "Babbles" Curtin (just kidding, he's the quietest kid ever) singled hard to left-center, soph CF Brian Verratti drew a walk and jr. 2B Vinny Vaccone beat out a perfect bunt, halfway toward third, that was meant to be sac. Jr. RF Bay To, the leadoff hitter, was victimized by a nice, sliding catch in RF by sr. Matt De Treux off a sinking bloop, but sr. LH Charlie Jerla, a righthanded batter, followed with a rousing, two-run double to right-center. In all, thanks to a misdirected throw, three runs scored. Sr. 1B Josh Ockimey got one more home with a sac fly. The fourth was mostly messy due to a walk, three HBPs, a costly error, a wild pitch and a passed ball. RBI via singles went to Verratti (looper to left) and jr. DH Pat Doudican (medium velocity to right). "Ock" and jr. C Tommy Nardini suffered plunkings to get runs home. Jerla, who finished the playoffs with an 0.00 ERA in 16 innings (not even an unearned run was scored against him; ya smellin' a Tedbit?), had an interesting outing. He allowed four hits, walked two and whiffed eight. After he fanned sr. 2B-3B John Crossfield in the second, Jerla held apart his facing-upward hands and, while glaring into Roman's dugout, cried out, "Yeah! Let's go!!" Some Cahillites had been directing chippy chatter at him -- nothing outrageous, just the kind that kids like to use to get going -- and Jerla used it to provide extra motivation. Plate ump TJ "The Enforcer" Berry visited the mound, and that was that. Jerla really went the full-brass route in the fourth after a misjudged popup (single for sr. 3B Connor McKenna) and ringing double (by sr. CF Conor Smith into the leftfield corner) made it second and third with nobody out. Jerla fanned two, issued a walk to load the bases, then made a return trip to K-ville to terminate the attempted uprising. Interestingly, though all four of Roman's hits reached the outfield, no other balls did. The seven non-K outs came on five grounders (including a sac), a popup and a soft liner (Curtin made an impressive catch). A nice scene afterward came when assistant Joe Messina, who has won crowns with N-G under three head coaches, flipped Schneider the game ball and said, "Here ya go, buddy. First of many." The goofiest visual: four Saints leapfrogging over each other one at a time. Say what?! With the loss, coach Anthony Valucci's Roman squad finishes 10-10 in CL play (N-G went 18-3). The Cahillites truly outdid themselves in those three earlier triumphs and there will be some great memories to last a lifetime. The one bummer was that McKenna had to sit down early due to a neck issue. N-G will meet Philadelphia Academy in the Class AA City Title (details TBA) while Roman, based on a complicated points system, has to yield to La Salle for the spot in the AAAA City Title. The Explorers will play Washington (details TBA). In AAA, it'll be Wood vs. Franklin Towne Charter (ditto). Meanwhile, this was the first time since 1971 that the CL crown was decided on a high school field. Here's that recap:
Weather permitting, the Catholic League championship will be decided today, 3:45, at Widener University as Roman and Neumann-Goretti again do battle. Below are playoff stats for each team. Thanks to assistant Joe Messina for helping us to flesh out N-G's, as boxes were not published in the Daily News for two of the Saints' three games in the losers bracket. Good luck to both teams!
|Matt De Treux||10||3||1|