Suds' Corner
(by Mike Sunderland, ex-SJ Prep player)

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   The objective of this column is to provide an insightful, detailed look into Philadelphia High School baseball, by viewing and reporting on games that I see, as well as by offering my own additional opinions and commentary on the season.  I will focus specifically on the Catholic and Inter-Ac leagues, as those are the leagues that I know best from my previous experience.  During my junior and senior years of high school, I developed a strong desire to learn as much as I can about each and every opponent.  I am hoping this focus on detail will extend to this column, as I will intend to provide light and insight into this season.  Although for a good part of the season I will be hours away from Philadelphia here at Holy Cross College, I still feel I will be able to produce an interesting view of the upcoming season.  While I am here at school, I will provide my own commentaries based on my knowledge of players, teams etc.  During Easter break I plan to catch a few games, as well as during May, when I am let out of school.  I plan to catch numerous games in May and June, when the season is heating up and the champions are decided.  I hope you enjoy this column.  It is my goal to highlight the skills of numerous players and teams, as well as provide the same publicity for area baseball players that are present for football and basketball players.  If you have any questions or comments or just want to discuss some topic with me, you can reach me at Msuds4@aol.com.


MAY 29
CATHOLIC LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
SECOND ROUND
Carroll 3, Roman 1
  Finally a sunny day!  The story of this game was the dominance of Carroll's ace lefty Frank Gailey.  Gailey was spectacular throughout the game, with only one blemish: a solo homerun by Roman SS Chris Corkery in the 2nd inning.  Other than that shot, Gailey was unstoppable.  He pitched a complete game, giving up that lone run on 3 hits overall.  He racked up 11 strikeouts while only walking 2.  No Roman player reached base more than 1 time against Gailey.   As always he showed pinpoint control and excellent stuff.  Gailey's counterpart, Roman's Pat Dunn, pitched 5 innings, giving up 3 runs on 7 hits.  He struck out 2 and walked none and 1 of his runs was unearned.  Dunn did not give up any runs in any inning other than the 3rd.  While not featuring devastating stuff, Dunn was always around the plate and pitched craftily.  He did show a nice curve with solid break on it.  Dunn was relieved in the 6th inning by hard throwing Anthony Capella.  Against his former school, Capella retired the side perfectly while striking down 2.  Capella featured a dominant fastball that the Carroll hitters in that inning could not keep up with.  Down 1-0 courtesy of Corkery's homer, Carroll rallied to score 3 runs in the 3rd inning.   Gailey led off the inning and helped himself with a perfect bunt basehit down 1st base.  On a steal attempt to 2nd base, no Roman middle infielder covered 2nd and the throw from the catcher sailed high into centerfield.  Showing heads up baserunning Gailey raced toward 3rd and the throw to 3rd from the centerfielder sailed over the 3rd basemen's head, allowing Gailey to score and tie the game up at 1 apiece.  That was a sloppy play by Roman, in which 2 throwing errors allowed Gailey to score all the way from 1st.  Carroll was not done in the inning.  CF Ryan Stewart showed nice bat control in taking an outside pitch to rightfield for a nice opposite field single.  After Stewart stole second RF Matt Smith ripped a double in the gap to knock in Stewart and make it a 2-1 game in favor of Carroll.   Next, 1B Colin McHale unleashed a bomb deep over the centerfielder's head for a double, which knocked in Smith to secure a 3-1 advantage over Roman.  Bolstered by the rock solid pitching of Gailey, this 3-1 advantage for Carroll remained fixed for the entire game.  After the 2nd inning in which Corkery nailed the homerun, Gailey only gave up 1 more hit the rest of the ballgame, an infield single by Roman catcher Jim McKeaney in the 6th inning.   For the game Roman's only hits were the aforementioned single by McKeany and homer by Corkery, as well as a single by CF Jerry Reed in the 2nd.  Gailey struck out the side in the 4th inning and closed out the game with a perfect 1-2-3 inning, striking out 2 in that inning.  The craziest and most controversial play of the game occurred in the bottom of the 2nd.  With Carroll 3B Brian Rorick (single) and 2B John Gardner (walk) at 1st and 2nd, catcher Matt Lisowski drilled a deep drive to left field.  It looked like it was going to bounce off the high leftfield fence but Roman LF Joe Jelinski made a spectacular leaping snare of the ball and the ball dropped out of his glove but he somehow caught the ball with his bare hand as he was falling down.  It was quite chaotic as it was unclear whether the umpires had ruled the ball a catch or hit and the baserunners were confused as well.  It turns out the umps ruled that Jenlinski trapped the ball against the fence (I believe)because Roman retrieved the ball to 2nd base to force out Gardner, who was uncertain whether to advance or not.  Rorick, originally at 2nd base, advanced to 3rd and Lisowski was safe at 1st.  Immeditately after the play, with everyone still confused, the umps began to discuss what happened and Carroll coach Fran Murphy sent Rorick to go home and score.  However, the umps ruled that time was out and Rorick had to return to 3rd.  After the umps ruled that it was a fielder's choice at 2nd base and Garder was out and that Rorick had to return to 3rd, Murphy argued the call for an extended period.  It was a crazy, wacky play but the great hit by Lisowski and the athletic, unbelievable catch by Jelinksi should not go unnoticed.  With Murphy continuing to argue the call, the Roman fans and players seemed to get more pumped up and loud.  On the 1st and 3rd situation with 2 outs the pinch runner at 1st base left the bag early and Roman got him in a rundown.  However he was tagged out just before Rorick touched home plate, and after all that craziness Roman was still up 1-0.  However, due to Carroll's strong 3rd inning they took a 3-1 advantage and that was more than enough for Gailey.  Carroll's hitting was remarkably balanced.  No player had a multi hit game, but 7 of their 9 players had a hit.   In a weird twist, the 1st 6 batters in the Carroll lineup (Dave Puliti, Stewart, Chris Cashman, Smith, McHale, and Rorick) all went 1-3 for the game.  Today 3 runs were enough for Carroll as they received a dominating pitching performance by Gailey.  Carroll advances to a very intriguing semifinal matchup versus LaSalle on Saturday, as LaSalle's MVP pitcher Dan Waters will most likely go against this solid Carroll team in a rematch of last year's championship.

MAY 27
CATHOLIC LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
FIRST ROUND
Roman 4, Bonner 1
  All of the scoring in this contest came in the 1st inning.   Against Roman ace Matt Daley, Bonner struck first in the top of the inning as RF Kevin Horning advanced to 3rd on a single off the bat of LF Kevin Ward.  Horning scored the game's initial run after being driven by a groundball by catcher J.J. Jordan.  However, Roman's bats were roaring to start off this game against Bonner starter Jay Kluka.   The 1st 7 Roman batters hit the ball hard or were hit by a pitch (in the case of CF Jerry Reed).  The balls were flying off the Roman bats and it looked like they were having batting practice.  Leadoff man 2B Mike McFarlane started the assault with a homerun almost directly over the 280 sign in leftfield.   McFarlane is a pretty skinny hitter and it must have been a jolt for Bonner to see him go yard to start the game.  It certainly pumped up Roman, as their bench, enthused by the leadoff homer, made lots of noise and showed lots of enthusiasm.  LF Joe Jelinski followed up the homer with a sharp single up the middle.  RF slugger Anthony Capella drilled a line drive to CF but it was caught by Bonner's Frank Nunan to obtain the 1st out.  The powerful hitting continued as catcher Jim McKeaney laced a double in the gap, driving in Jelinski to give Roman a 2-1 advantage.  SS Chris Corkery then bashed a deep homerun over the leftfield fence, making it a 4-1 Roman advantage.   After Reed was hit by a pitch, 3B Lee McInerney laced a single.   However, Bonner's Kluka showed some resolve and struck out the next 2 batters to finally get out of the jam.  You could not ask for a better start for a playoff game than what Roman's offense accomplished in the 1st inning.  They were fired up and their bats were smoking and they batted around.  However, after this inning both offenses quieted down significantly and no more runs were scored.  After the rocky 1st inning it looked like Kluka was in for a short stay on the mound.  However, to his credit he completely shut down the Roman offense the rest of the way.  After the 1st inning he gave up only 1 hit the rest of the game, a harmless single by Reed.  He threw perfect 1-2-3 innings in the 2nd, 5th, and 6th innings.  Kluka does not throw too hard but he has precise control.  He finished the game giving up 4 runs on 6 hits, striking out 7 while walking none.  After struggling mightily in the 1st inning Kluka settled down and kept the game within reach.  However, the Bonner bats were extremely quiet throughout the game because of the efforts of Daley, who once again pitched a spectacular game showing why he is a 3 time All Catholic pitcher.  Like Kluka, after the 1st inning Daley did not surrender another run.  Daley threw perfect 1-2-3 innings in the 2nd, 4th, 6th, and 7th innings.  He only gave up 3 hits throughout the game, which attests to his dominance.  One hit was the aforementioned Ward single that advanced Horning to 3rd.  The second hit was a legitimate well hit single by Nunan in the 3rd inning.  The only other hit came on a sacrifice bunt attempt by Kluka.  Kluka popped up the bunt high in the air.  However, Daley raced in towards home right when he released the ball and the ball dropped over his head for a single.  Although Daley only struck out 1 batter he was throughly in control of the game and let his fielders have some work.  Daley throws very hard and has exceptional control.  He is a big game pitcher.  Bonner's best chance to get back in the game occurred in the 5th inning.  3B Joe O'Leary started the inning with a walk and Kluka singled with his bunt attempt to give runners at 1st and 2nd with no outs.  After retiring the next 2 batters, Daley walked Ward to load the bases with 2 out.  Bonner catcher Jordan lashed a line drive but it was right at Roman's 2B McFarlane to end the threat.   No player on either team had a multi-hit game.  For Bonner, 2 players reached base twice, Horning (HBP, walk) and Ward (single, walk).  Roman also had only 2 players to reach base twice, McFarlane (HR, safe on error) and Reed (HBP, single).   Roman's roaring 1st inning siege was enough to defeat Bonner, backed up by the dominating pitching of Daley.  Roman plays again tommorow against Carroll at Philadelphia University in what will inevitably be another interesting contest.

MAY 23
CATHOLIC LEAGUE TIDBITS
   I thought I would take the time to bring recognition to some PCL players that were overlooked in All Catholic honors.  It is a tough task to pick these All Catholic teams and not all deserving players can be recognized.  In the Southern Division, O'Hara's Kevin Ahern had a tremendous year at the plate this year.  In the infield, Carroll's John Gardner had another fine season offensively.  KK's speedy 2B Brian Rainone was a sparkplug at the top of the lineup.  In the outfield, Neumann's Billy Canady was a speedster who was always a threat to steal.  Roman's Jerry Reed did a fine job at the top of the order for the Cahillites.  Carroll's Ryan Stewart and Dave Puliti both had solid seasons.  On the mound, Neumann's Jon Brady pitched quite effectively this year.   Carroll's Brandon Gribbin was a solid number 2 pitcher behind Frank Gailey.  KK's Jon Smolenski was a workhorse for the Wolverines.  The Prep's Joe McElwee always kept the Hawks in the game when he pitched.  In the Northern division, LaSalle's catcher Nick Brechbill missed the beginning of the season because of injury but helped the lineup when he came back.  One player that was somehow overlooked was North's SS Dan Paluch.  Paluch was a tremendous player for the Falcons this year.   LaSalle's Jim Harkins had a solid year for the Explorers in centerfield.  McDevitt's Bob Mitros and Andrew Kovach both had strong senior seasons.  LaSalle's Kevin McLoughlin was a tough out in the cleanup spot for the Explorers.  Dougherty's Chris Jackson had a decent season.  The MVPs of both divisions, LaSalle's Dan Waters and KK's Chris Lubanski, had each won the MVP last season as well.   However, I question the choice of Lubasnki as MVP of the South.  No doubt he is the most talented player in the PCL and the entire state of Pennsylvania but I would not pick the most valuable player of the entire league on a 6-12 team.  I feel that the most valuable player of a league should come from a winning team.  Therefore, I would have given the MVP to any of the 1st team All Catholic pitchers (Carroll's Frank Gailey, O'Hara's Mike Antonini, and Roman's Matt Daley).   These 3 pitchers played for the top 3 teams in the division and that is not coincidental.  I feel that if you take any of these pitchers off the team that team will be significantly worse.  These 3 pitchers were workhorses and bona fide aces.   Put Gailey, Antonini, or Daley on teams like Bonner, Neumann, the Prep, or KK and it is not inconceivable that they would be one of the top teams in the league.  I do not feel you could go wrong with picking any of those 3.  I also feel you could make a case for Roman's Anthony Capella, who was terrific at the plate and also could pitch effectively.  This is no offense to Lubanski, who will definitely go down as one of the best players to ever play in the PCL, but it is my belief that the MVP should be on a winning team, a team that has the chance to win the championship.   O'Hara has to be the favored team in the South because they only have to win 1 game to reach the championship.  They will throw ace Antonini in that semifinal game most likely, wheras teams like Carroll and Roman may have to use their aces earlier in the playoffs.  The same goes for LaSalle with Waters.  Don't discount any team, especially Carroll, a team that knows how to win in the playoffs.  Roman has 4 quality pitchers (Daley, Chris Corkery, Capella, and Pat Dunn) so they could be dangerous if they do anything offensively.  Before the season, I had stated that the difference between KK and Carroll might be that KK has 2 top quality pitchers in Smolenski and Lubanski and Carroll has only 1, Gailey.  This turned out to be the exact opposite of what actually happened.  Lubanski did not pitch at all this year, leaving KK only with Smolenski.  This hurt them dramatically, as their 6-12 record can attest to.  In contrast, Carroll's Gribbin blossomed into a solid starter to complement Gailey and they had a successful regular season.  The same holds true in the Inter-Ac where in the preseason it looked like Malvern would have a lethal pitching duo in Will Romanowicz and Paul Keldsen.  However, Keldsen did not pitch all season due to injury and they struggled.  In contrast, GA with 4 solid pitchers (Sean Grieve, Pete Vernon, Joe Matteo, and Matt Bruderek) dominated.  Look for another exciting PCL playoff season, hopefully with a better championship than last year.

MAY 20
CATHOLIC LEAGUE
La Salle 6, North Catholic 4
  La Salle lefty Dan Waters outdueled North righthander Shaun Gallagher in a matchup of 2 of the best pitchers in the PCL this year, as well as between the 2 top teams in the Northern division thus far.   Both pitchers gave up a fair share of hits, as the respective offenses of LaSalle and North are two talented offenses.  North jumped on Waters in the 1st inning, scoring 2 runs.  North SS Dan Paluch started the attack by legging out an infield single and stealing second base.  Paluch scored on a successful double steal on a 1st and 3rd situation with CF Stan Orzechowski.   Orzechowski was knocked in by a double off the bat of Mike Berretta to take a quick 2-0 advantage over the Explorers.  However, LaSalle struck right back with 2 of their own in the bottom of the inning.  SS Andrew Carnevale led off with a walk and CF Jim Harkins followed this up with a single.   Gallagher then hit the next two batters, Waters and OF Kevin McLoughlin to give up a run.  A second run was added when LaSalle catcher Nick Brechbill hit an RBI groundout to drive in Harkins.  Carnevale and Harkins have been a potent combination at the top of the lineup for LaSalle.  Both can swing the bat and run and they really spark the lineup.  North tacked on another run off Waters in the 2nd by an RBI single by leadoff man Chris Wenger.  The score remained 3-2 in favor of North until the 5th inning when North once again added another run off Waters, as Craig Kubis hit a double to knock in Paluch, who had tripled earlier.   Down 4-2, LaSalle came back to score 3 runs in the bottom of the 5th.   Carnevale roped an RBI triple to bring the game within 1.  Next up was Harkins who placed a perfect squeeze bunt to knock in Carnevale to tie the score.  To add insult to injury Harkins was safe on 1st on the bunt.  Later in the inning McLoughlin ripped a single that drove in Harkins and LaSalle took a 5-4 lead.  The Explorers added an insurance run in the 6th as a single by pinch hitter Dave Achey knocked in Tom Galen who had singled and stole a base.  This scoring support was enough for Waters and LaSalle won 6-4.  Waters pitched a complte game giving up 4 runs on 7 hits.  He struck out 9 and walked 2.  Waters has a very high velocity fastball with bite on it.  North's Gallagher also hurled a complete game, giving up 6 runs on 9 hits.  Gallagher struck out 4 and walked 1.   Gallagher is a skinny pitcher but he can really bring it and he also has a decent curve.  However, both teams offenses were potent today.  LaSalle's Harkins went 3-3 with 3 singles and scored 2 runs to spark the offense.  McLoughlin finished up with 2 RBIs.  Carnevale went 1-3 with a triple, walk, and 2 runs.  For North, Paluch had a very impressive game.  He reached base all 4 plate appearances, going 2-2 with a single, triple, walk, HBP, 2 runs, and 2 stolen bases.  That is a great game against one of the most dominant pitchers in the league.  I also liked the spirit of North 2B Chris Wenger.

MAY 19
CATHOLIC LEAGUE
La Salle 13, SJ Prep 6
   This game was tied at 5 apiece going into the bottom of the 5th inning before LaSalle's bats heated up to pull away from the Prep.  In the 5th against Prep starter Jim Fee the 1st 3 Explorer battes, SS Andrew Carnevale, CF Jim Harkins, and RF Dan Waters, all reached base, with Carnevale and Harkins reaching on hit by pitches and Waters reaching on a walk.  LaSalle 1B Kevin McLoughlin followed up with a 2 RBI single, knocking in both Carnevale and Harkins to gain a 7-5 advantage over the Hawks.  Later in the inning LaSalle 2B Tony Liberatore knocked in 2 more runs on an infield single, with Waters and McLoughlin scoring on some heads up baserunning.  Thus, the Explorers led 9-5 after the 5th.  LaSalle added 4 more in the 6th to assure their victory.  The key hit in the 6th was a 2 RBI double by McLoughlin, which once again knocked in both Carnevale and Harkins.  LaSalle 3B Pat Riley followed this up with an RBI triple to notch a 12-6 Explorers advanatge.   Riley was knocked in on a sacrifice fly by catcher Nick Brechbill to obtain a 13-6 LaSalle lead, a margin that would remain for the rest of the game.   The Prep jumped out to a 4-1 lead by scoring 4 runs in the 3rd inning.  A 2 RBI triple by 2B Rob McDonnell knocked in both OF Steve Loke and Fee, who had both singled.  McDonnell was knocked in by the next batter 3B Mark Noonan, who singled.  The Prep tacked on 1 more in the inning as LF Jim Bogan singled to knock in Noonan.  LaSalle starter Dave Achey did enough to secure the win for his team.  He pitched 5 2/3 innings, giving up 6 runs on 8 hits.  He threw a solid curveball that kept many Hawks batters off balance.   Prep starter Fee featured a solid fastball, but the Explorer bats were hot today.   For LaSalle many batters had great days today.  Carnevale reached base all 4 times, going 2-3 with a single, double, hit by pitch, safe on an error, and 3 runs.   McLoughlin finished 3-4 with 2 singles, a double, and 4 RBIs.  Liberatore went 3-4 with 3 singles and 3 RBIs and showed very fast speed.  Riley went 2-4 with a single, triple, 3 RBIs, and 2 runs.  Harkins reached base 3 times, with a single, walk, hit by pitch, and 3 runs.  For the Prep, McDonnell reached base all 4 times, with a single, double, triple, safe on error, 2 RBIs, and 2 runs.  Noonan finished 2-3 with a single, double, hit by pitch, and 2 RBIs. Bogan reached base 3 times, with a single, walk, and safe on error. Catcher Kevin Walker had a great day defensively, gunning down 3 out of 4 base stealers, as well as making a fantastic catch, snagging a foul fly ball over the fence near the Prep bench.

MAY 15
CATHOLIC LEAGUE
Roman 1, SJ Prep 0
  This was a classic pitcher's duel, between Old (Roman senior ace Matt Daley,
who has been an established top notch pitcher in the league for the past few
years) and Young (Prep's Matt Leddy, a frosh making his 1st varsity
league start).  Both pitchers were dominant and shut the other team's offense
down.  Daley was his usual dominant self, pitching a complete game shutout. 
He scattered 5 hits (all singles) and no ball was really hit hard off him all
day.  Daley struck out 10 while walking none in this spectacular pitching
effort.  Daley struck out the side in both the 3rd and 5th innings.  He
showed a high velocity fastball and a very solid curveball as well.  He also
demonstrated great contol, as his zero walks can attest.   For the Prep,
Leddy was just as good.  Leddy also pitched a complete game and only gave up
3 hits the entire game.  He struck out 7 and walked 5.   You can't ask for a
better 1st varsity start for anyone, especially for a freshman.   Although not
showing the same control as Daley, Leddy competed pitch for pitch with one of
the best pitchers in the league and even gave up fewer hits.   Leddy is a
strong right hander that brings a hard fastball.  He also has a solid
curveball to keep the batters off balance.  Leddy is definitely a name to
remember, as he should improve each year with experience.   Leddy only gave up
3 hits, but one of them was costly.  In the 2nd Roman catcher Jim McKeaney
slammed a double against the fence to lead off the inning.   McKeaney was then
bunted over to third by 1B Pete Fischer.   McKeaney was knocked in by a
groundball off the bat of LF Joe Jelinski to score the only run of the ball
game.  McKeaney's double was the only extra base hit of the game for either
team, as both pitchers were thoroughly in control.  The Prep had a decent
opportunity to score in the 5th inning when RF Steve Loke led off the inning
with a single, then stole second on the next pitch delivered.   However, Daley
grew stronger as the Prep threatened to score, striking out the next 3
batters to end the threat.  Baseball sometimes is a weird game.  Prep 3B Mark
Noonan went 1-3 for the game and his single came on a swinging bunt to third
base.  However, Noonan crushed the ball in his other 2 at bats but was
retired on both occasions.  In the 2nd Noonan laced a well hit line drive to
centerfield but it was caught by a nice play by Roman CF Jerry Reed.  In the
7th, Noonan led off the inning with a well hit drive deep into rightfield,
but the ball was caught on an athletic dive by Roman RF Anthony Capella.  If
Capella did not make that spectacular play, Noonan definitely would have had
extra bases to lead off the 7th.  No player for the Prep reached base twice,
although LF Bobby Muth had a single and a textbook sacrifice bunt.  For
Roman, McKeaney finished with a double, walk, and the lone run of the game. 
1B Fischer singled and laid down a decisive sac bunt.   Leadoff man 2B Mike
McFarlane walked twice.  Daley singled and walked.  Coming off yesterday's
1-0 shutout of KK by junior Joe McElwee, the Prep has only given up 1 run in
the past 14 innings of league play.  Roman head coach Joe DeLuca is a former
Prep assistant coach.  Because of Daley and Leddy's dominance, this game was
finished in a swift hour and 45 minutes.  Overall, this was an excellent
display of pitching on both ends today.

MAY 14
CATHOLIC LEAGUE
Bonner 4, Roman 3
  This game was tied at 3 apiece going into the 7th inning.   However, in the
top of the 7th Bonner managed to manufacture 1 run and held on to win 4-3. 
In the top of the 7th with one out Bonner catcher James Jordan reached base
on a slow roller to shortstop to start the attack.  After the second out
Bonner RF Kevin Horning laced an opposite field single to left field to put
runners at 1st and 2nd.  Roman pitcher Pat Dunn then walked Bonner 1st
baseman Paul Cashin to load the bases with two outs.  Next, Bonner SS Mike
Shalon had a gutty at bat, drawing a full count before taking a very close
pitch for ball 4 to bring in the winning run.  Bonner pitcher Jay Kluka
retired the side in order to finish the game in the bottom of the 7th. 
Kluka, a junior right hander, pitched a very strong complete game for the
Friars.  Kluka overcame a rocky start (3 runs in the 1st 2 innings) and shut
down the Roman offense the rest of the way.  Kluka scattered 4 hits through
his 7 innings of pitching, striking out 8 while walking only 2.   Kluka
definitely gained strength as the game went on.  Kluka retired the side in
order in 3 of the 7 innings he pitched, including the final 2 innings.  His
fastball was not blazing but he showed a very decent curveball.   He was
always around the plate and showed good control.  His counterpart, Roman
pitcher Dunn, had a very similar game.  Dunn overcame a 2 run outburst by
Bonner in the 1st inning to settle down and pitch a quality game.  Dunn game
up 4 runs on 6 hits, striking out 5 and walking 3.   However, his 7th inning
bases loaded walk to Shalon proved to be the difference in the ballgame. 
Like Kluka, Dunn did not throw an overpowering fastball but he did possess a
solid curveball.  Bonner jumped out in the 1st inning, powered by a solo
homerun by the junior catcher Jordan to start the scoring attack.  Bonner LF
Kevin Ward followed up Jordan's homer by doubling and he was eventually
knocked in by a groundball off the bat of Cashin.  Roman answered right back
to tie the game in the bottom of the 1st, as C Anthony Capella slammed a
frozen rope line drive homerun over the center field fence, knocking in SS
Chris Corkery who had doubled.  After a combined 2 homers and 4 runs in the
1st inning by both teams, it looked like we we're in for a slugfest but both
pitchers settled down after the 1st inning.  In the 2nd Roman took a 3-2
advantage as CF Jerry Reed lashed an opposite field single, knocking in 2B
Chris Gallagher.  Bonner tied the score in the 4th inning, as Shalon scored
on a near double play groundball by Kluka.  The score remained tied at 3
until the 7th.  For Bonner, Shalon reached base 3 out of 4 times, notching a
double, walk, and hit by pitch.  The one time Shalon was retired was on a
ripped line drive to left field in the 1st inning.  For Roman, Capella went
1-2 with a homerun, walk, and 2 RBIs.  No player on either team had a
multi-hit game.  Capella, usually an outfielder, caught today for Roman.  The
usual catcher, Jim McKeaney, played 1st base.   The loss drops Roman, seeking
a 1st round bye, to 11-4.  For Bonner, seeking the 4th playoff spot, the win
boosts their record to 8-7.

MAY 12
CATHOLIC LEAGUE
Carroll 7, Kennedy-Kenrick 5
   This game was another matchup between these tough rivals and yet another
close game between Carroll and KK.  Carroll came into this game red hot,
having won their last 10 league games and amassing an 11-2 record.  KK has
struggled this season so far, with a 4-9 record coming into the game.  In
their 9 losses prior to this game, KK lost by an average of only 2.5 runs per
game, which shows that they have been competitive but have lost many close
games.  This was yet another a close game that KK could not win.  The
pitching matchup was a rematch of the last pitching matchup, Carroll's Frank
Gailey and KK's Jon Smolenski.   In the previous matchup between these two
teams earlier in the season, Gailey outdueled Smolensky 2-0 at Carroll's
field.  Today at Latshaw-McCarthy field in Norristown the score was much
higher but the result was the same, as Gailey once again beat the Wolverines
of KK.  Gailey went the distance, giving up 5 runs on 11 hits.  However, he
struck out ten and walked none.  Gailey showed pinpoint control and even
though KK managed to piece together some hits, he never lost his composure
and always remained in control.  The lefty throwing Gailey picked off 3
runners at 1st base, which diffused many of the rallies KK potentially could
have had.  Smolenski also pitched a complete game, giving up 7 runs on 5
hits.  However, in contrast to Gailey's pinpoint control, Smolenski had
problems with his control.  Smolenski walked 5 and hit 3 batters.  He also
threw 3 wild pitches and had 2 balks.  However, he showed very good velocity
on his fastball and a strong curveball, which froze many batters.  Smolenski
struck out 6.  Although no player for Carroll had a multi-hit game, all 9 of
their players reached base at least once throughout the game.   LF Ryan
Stewart reached base in all 4 plate appearances, recording a single, 2 walks,
1 hit by pitch, 1 stolen base, and 2 runs.  Carroll struck early on, notching
3 runs in the 1st inning.  They took advantage of several KK miscues in the
1st inning, including 2 walks, a balk, an error, 3 wild pitches, and a
dropped 3rd strike.  Leadoff man Dave Puliti,(2 runs overall) 2B John
Gardner, and Stewart all scored in the 1st.   The Wolverines answered with 2
runs of their own in the bottom of the 1st, as 2B Brian Rainone and C Josh
Eidell started the game with 2 singles and both eventually scored.  Carroll
added another run in the 3rd, but KK once again answered   in the bottom of
the inning, scoring 2 runs to tie the game at 4 apiece.   CF Chris Lubanski
ripped a shot to left field and was knocked in by a double from Smolenski. 
Smolenski was knocked in by 1B Victor Evangelist to tie the game.  However,
Carroll scored 3 runs in the top of the 4th, a lead which they held the rest
of the way.  Carroll's 4th inning scoring burst was highlighted by a 2 RBI
double by 1B Brandon Gribbin, which knocked in Puliti and Stewart.  The game
did get quite exciting in the bottom of the 7th.  Carroll led 7-5 and Gailey
retired the first 2 batters.  Next, Eidell drew a full count before tapping
an easy grounder to second base.  However, the grounder was misplayed for an
error on a very close play, bringing up star slugger Lubanski.   The KK fans
knew that if Lubanski had an at bat with a chance to tie the game, something
good might happen.  However, Gailey induced Lubanski to loft a harmless fly
ball to shortstop, ending the game.  The battles between Gailey and Lubanski
were exciting.  Gailey has been arguably the best pitcher in the PCL for the
past 2 seasons and Lubanski has been the best hitter in that same span.  In
the 1st at bat, Gailey induced Lubanski to pop up the third basemen in foul
territory.  In his 2nd at bat, Lubanski laced an opposite field frozen rope,
a hit so hard that the left fielder had trouble fielding it cleanly. 
Lubanski showcased his blazing speed as he flew into 2nd.   In the 5th inning,
Lubanski popped up to left, and in the 7th, as already mentioned, he popped
up to shortstop.  If anyone doubts the fact that Gailey is a big time
pitcher, they should not, having retired a top notch pro prospect 3 out of 4
times today.  For KK, sophomore catcher Eidell reached base 3 times, picking
up 2 singles and reaching base on an error once.   Smolenski did some damage
at the plate, going 3 for 3, with 2 doubles, a triple, a run, and an RBI. 
Smolenski's 2 doubles were hits that fell into the right place, but his
triple was a deep shot over the centerfielder's head.   KK's 1st basemen
Evangelist went 2-3 with 3 RBIs.  Line of the day: A KK fan, disgruntled by
one of the home plate umpire's strikeout calls, said of him, "If he had
another eye, he'd be a Cyclops."  Ah yes, got to love Greek lore.  Once again
Latshaw was a great place to watch a ballgame, even in the cold weather and
off and on rain.  On Wednesday, Carroll hosts St. John Neumann and KK travels
to St. Joe's Prep.

APRIL 19
NON-LEAGUE
Gtn. Academy 6, Carroll 1
  This was a midseason non-league battle between one of the best teams from the
Inter-Ac and one of the best teams from the Catholic League.   GA has started
off strongly this year, with a 2-0 Inter-Ac record thus far and many strong
showings in non-league contests.  Carroll has rebounded from a slow start in
the PCL (with tough losses to St. Joe's Prep and Roman Catholic) and now has
a 3-2 league record.  During this game at GA, Caroll's bats were quiet
throughout the game due to the strong pitching effort of junior righty Joe
Matteo, who hurled a complete game.   Matteo gave up only four hits in this very
impressive performance, while striking out three and walking three.  Matteo
has a nice arm with a fastball that has decent pop.  He had some nice
offspeed pitches to keep Carroll's hitters off balance.   Most of all, he was
around the plate and let his fielders do the work.  GA has a very solid and
deep pitching staff which also includes lefties Pete Vernon and Sean Grieve
and righty Matt Bruderek.  That gives GA coach Craig Conlin four very
talented pitchers.  The best hit of the game was a crushed home run by GA's
Matt Brown.  Brown turned on a pitch by Carroll starter Lenny Del Grippo and
drove it into the tennis court's in left field, driving in 2B Tyler Stampone,
who had doubled.  I have played at GA's home field for my American Legion
team for three years, and I have only seen a few balls get hit over that far
and high left field fence.  That was an absolute bomb by Brown.  Brown also
hit a deep ball that was caught in centerfield in the 5th inning, to which
one Carroll fan observed, "That would've been out in our field."  GA did most
of their damage in the 3rd inning, scoring four runs off Del Grippo.  3B Dan
Overcash started the attack by legging out an infield single, just beating
the throw by Carroll SS Chris Cashman.  A quick note on Cashman: he was
spectacular defensively throughout the game, showing excellent range on balls
hit up the middle while making all the routine plays as well.   Next, Stampone
singled to right, collecting his second hit of the game.   Brown hit a hard
ground ball to third base, which was misplayed and Overcash scored to make it
a 3-0 GA game.  Next, 1B Ivan Alber hit a clutch base hit, driving in two
more runs.  Alber scampered home eventually when Carroll threw the ball down
to 2nd on a 1st and 3rd situation, and was safe when the throw home was not
accurate.  Thus, GA led 6-0 after 3 innings, and Matteo sailed throughout the
rest of the game with this run support.  After the 3rd inning, both teams'
offenses were very quiet and the game moved along rapidly.   In fact, the
entire game took place in a swift two hours.  Carroll's Dan Ritter relieved
Del Grippo on the mound in the 4th inning and was impressive.   He shut down
GA's offense the rest of the way.  Carroll's lone run took place in the 5th
inning.  LF Dave Puliti started the inning off with a walk and stole second. 
He was driven in by 2B John Gardner.   Puliti, the leadoff hitter for Carroll,
was the only Carroll batter to have consistent success throughout the game. 
He walked twice and singled and looked impressive as a leadoff hitter.  For
GA, CF Sean Grieve had a fine day at the plate, picking up two solid opposite
field hits.  In the 1st inning, a ball dropped in, in which Carroll's CF Ryan
Stewart should have taken charge and called off the second baseman.  After
the inning he was immediately removed by Carroll coach Fran Murphy.  It
seemed like a quick hook, especially for a non-league game, but Murphy was
most likely trying to make his point that outfielders must take charge on
questionable balls.  Stewart returned for a final at bat in the 7th inning. 
GA seemed very up for this non-league game and was constantly cheering on
their team and making noise.  It seems to me that because of the shortness of
the Inter-Ac schedule and the lack of playoffs, that teams from the Inter-Ac
really go all out in every non-league game and play to win.   GA's efforts are
to be commended today, as they played solidly on all cylinders.   GA looks
improved from last year's team and will definitely be one of the top teams in
the Inter-Ac this year.  To me, Carroll seems like they have a smaller lineup
than last year's team, which featured some players that could really bash. 
However, they have an ace in Frank Gailey and it appears that the PCL is very
much up for grabs this year.  GA plays Chestnut Hill Academy on Tuesday and
Carroll plays St. John Neumann on Monday.