CARPENTER CUP SEMIFINAL
Mercer County (N.J.) 4, Bicentennial/Inter-Ac 3
It was a great run by a team with comparatively few teams to choose from, but it ended today and, thus, the school year for Public, Catholic and Inter-Ac athletes is officially over. The BIA boys went down fighting. Down by 4-2 with one out in the ninth, Episcopal jr. SS Dan Williams sent a ball through the box for a single to center. Sr. 3b Mike Dyzsel (Bristol) launched a drive to very deep center. The ball likely should have been caught, but the CF did a little circling and a double resulted, with Williams moving to third. Soph rf Matt Brown (Gtn. Academy; earlier great catch on L-ON-G run) grounded out to third as both runners advanced. Dyzsel died at third, though, as jr. CF Dan Plunkett (Mallvern) was retired on a routine grounder to shortstop. The BIA's first two runs came in the first inning as jr. C Joe Illgas (Malvern) and jr. SS D.J. Reagoso (Malvern) delivered RBI singles. Great pitching was supplied by jr. RH Matt Bruderek (GA) and jr. LH Tom Close (Haverford School). Each hurled three shutout innings and allowed one hit apiece. Bruderek fanned one; Close three. Mercer scored all of its runs in the seventh. Jr. RHP Joe Matteo (GA) was charged with three, jr. LHP Sean Grieve (GA) with one. The crucial blow, an RBI triple to center to make it 4-2, came against Grieve. I hope everyone has a safe, enjoyable summer and football is, what, 2 1/2 months away? Yeah, baby!
CARPENTER CUP CLASSIC QUARTERFINAL
Bicentennial/Inter-Ac 10, Suburban American 6
Chestnut Hill coach Stan Parker is one of the tourney's co-directors and, indirectly, he helped his squad collect this victory by pushing up the starting time from 6 p.m. to 5:45. Heavy thunderstorms were predicted and one rolled in right after the bottom of the seventh. Working quickly, jr. LHP Pete Vernon had just retired SA in a four-batter frame and that made the game official. Everyone was sent home nine minutes later as serious lightning, thunder and heavy rain hammered the Vet. (The seven-inning, complete-game rule, rather than five, is in effect so substitutes receive exposure to college scouts. Players are limited to six innings; pitchers to three.) Vernon pitched two innings in following jr. LHP Mike Lorentson (Malvern) and freshman RHP Greg Folgia (Christopher Dock). In the sixth, SA loaded the bases with two away but Pete recorded a strikeout to end the threat. BIA scored in each of the first four innings, posting one, four, three and two. Only one of the team's eight hits went for extra bases; that was a double by sr. DH Taylor Baum (Penn Charter). Baum also had what was likely the hardest hit ball of the night, but it went right to the rightfielder. Soph LF Danny Overcash (Germantown Academy), jr. C Joe Illgas (Malvern) and sr. 2B Gilly Lane (Chestnut Hill) all stroked RBI singles. The best defensive play was made by soph 1B Joe Rosati (Episcopal), who caught a high, twisting foul popup almost against the restraining fence a shade beyond the rolled-up tarp. In two tournament games, dividing time between 3B and LF, Overcash is 4-for-7 with an RBI. Also, he has served the squad at third base and in leftfield. Not that anyone cares, but the reporters had a rough time of it afterward. People kept coming through the press box to announce that ALL power in the Vet would be shut off by the city at about 9:30. I managed to file my story by about 9:10. Three guys were still working when I left. I hope their stories made it into their respective papers.
CARPENTER CUP ROUND OF 16
Bicentennial/Inter-Ac 6, Catholic League 4
This wasn't the most enjoyable baseball-watching experience of my life. There were 12 walks and 12 errors (seven by the CL) in this 9:30 a.m. affair and there was very little crispness. Like always when the BIA team wins, the bulk of the production came from Inter-Ac players. All seven pitchers were I-A guys and four of them had scoreless outings -- Haverford School jr. LH Tom Close, Gtn. Academy jr. RH Matt Bruderek (two), Episcopal sr. RH Jason Brown and GA jr. LH Sean Grieve. Sr. DH Taylor Baum (Penn Charter) went 2-for-2 with a walk, Episcopal jr. SS Dan Williams singled and walked and scored twice, GA soph 3B Danny Overcash doubled and singled in three trips, Malvern jr. C Joe Illgas had an RBI single, and GA soph RF Matt Brown had a pair of singles. In absorbing a first-round loss for the fourth consecutive year -- oh, how the mighty have fallen -- the CL played sloppily and largely looked uninspired. Maybe the effects of Senior Week? The best performance was turned in by sr. LHP Frank Gailey (Carroll), who fired one-hit ball over three shutout innings and struck out five. This kid never goes through the motions. I still can't believe D-I schools didn't go after him. The next best moment came on defense, when sr. 1B Jimmy Porreca (Neumann) made a fully-extended dive to his right to glove a hot grounder. Excellent! RBI hits went to sr. RF Mike Maule (Ryan, double), sr. DH Kevin Ahern (O'Hara, single) and sr. 3B Joe DiMenna (O'Hara, single). Sr. 1B Kevin Horning (Bonner) and sr. SS Brian Campbell (O'Hara) were the only CL players with two hits. Campbell added two stolen bases.
Delaware County 9, Public League 0
Both teams entered with 1-17 lifetime records, but that similarity turned out to be meaningless. The Pub was humbled yet again and only had one decent chance at scoring. That happened in the eighth when walks to sr. DH Andrew Stridiron (Roxborough) and jr. SS Cory Shaeffer (Frankford) and an infield single by sr. C Juan Colon (Edison) loaded the bases with two out. Sr. CF Randall Eggleton (Bartram), who'd singled in his previous at-bat, took a called third strike to end the threat. The Pub was perfect-gamed through three and sent the minimum 18 batters to the plate through six. Sr. CF Matt Colon (Frankford) singled in the fourth and was doubled off after a line drive, then jr. LF Bryan Adamson (Northeast) singled in the fifth and was erased in a groundball doubleplay. The best performance was turned in by sr. RHP Carlos Rivera (Frankford). He pitched three hitless, scoreless innings. He did walk three. Sr. RHP Joe Farina (Frankford), working on three days rest, was roughed up for six hits and four runs in 1 1/3 innings. The game was postponed from Sunday and was tacked on to what originally was going to be a tripleheader. It started at 9:48, ended at 12:21.
PUBLIC LEAGUE FINAL
Frankford 3, Northeast 1
The Pioneers had extra pressure on their shoulders, entering with a perfect record both in The Pub (now 17-0; one game canceled) and overall (19-0). They didn't storm to victory, but they were mostly in control. Jr. RHP Joe Farina threw a four-hitter with six strikeouts and only one runner -- sr. 1B Steve Sandberg, who scored a fourth-inning run on a single by jr. LF Bryan Adamson (3-for-3, double) -- advanced past second. Jr. LH Andrew Lihotz pitched well for Northeast, with 10 strikeouts in a five-hitter. He also picked off two runners and sr. C Brandon O'Malley gunned down another. Frankford scored two in the third and the first was a serious freebie. Soph RF Andrew Bracero walked and stole second. O'Malley's throw was poor and Bracero zoomed for third. The throw from jr. CF Jay Banks skipped past 3B and into the out-of-play area and Bracero trotted home. The run became earned anyway when sr. CF Matt Colon hammered a triple to right-center. Sr. C Adam Hartman followed with an RBI double halfway up the fence in dead-center; the ball traveled abut 345 feet. Frankford's sixth-inning insurance run came when Farina singled and jr. SS Cory Shaefffer, a steady fielder in an unflashy way, slammed a triple deep over Banks' head. My DN story focused mostly on Colon, who suffered a severely broken nose in the semis when he fouled a ball off his face. He played CF (he was a catcher all season) and wore a protective cage on his batting helmet. Hartman, usually an OF, filled in at catcher and threw out the only guy who attempted to steal. He also avoided passed balls. A key moment came in the fourth: With a run in and Adamson at second, soph 3B Chris Steinke ripped a liner to left-center. Colon sprinted over to make the catch and, seeing that Adamson was running and running, made a hurried throw in trying for a doubleplay. The ball was high and bounded into the infield. Jr. 1B Geoff Minetola picked it up and threw to sr. 2B Howard Sherman, thus getting the DP the hard way. Kudos to La Salle's grounds crew, which had the field in tremendous shape after the start was delayed for an hour to 3 o'clock. I also want to extend special thanks to Joe Stanley, the PL baseball chairman. I can't even imagine how many times I had to call him this spring because of all the rain problems. He was always helpful and patient.
CATHOLIC LEAGUE FINAL
O'Hara 5, La Salle 4
The Lions don't sleep in the seventh inning, that's for sure. After scoring four in the home seventh to beat Conwell-Egan in the semifinals, this time they scored two to edge La Salle. The sequence, against jr. LHP Dave Achey: walk to sr. C Kevin Ahern (sr. Zac Bradley entered as a pinch-runner and stole second), walk to sr. 3B-SS Joe DiMenna, sac by sr. LF Brian Placido, successful squeeze by sr. 1B Mike Antonini to score Bradley, RBI single to RF by jr. PH Paul Titchenell. Titchenell's hit came on a 1-2 count with DiMenna steaming down the line with designs on stealing home!! Sr. 2B Tony Liberatore made a leaping, all-out attempt to catch the liner, but could only come close. O'Hara, showing great teamwork, had six sacrifices on the day. Placido, already 2-for-2 with a walk and two RBI, could have half-hearted his bunt attempt with hopes of getting a chance to actually hit. He didn't and got the job done. Antonini's sac was his third of the game! Sr. RF Mike Greeley led off the fifth with a solo homer to dead left against sr. LHP Dan Waters, who pitched a no-hitter in the semis vs. Carroll. An interesting sequence preceded the homer: When he was called out to end the top of the fifth, Waters stared hard at plate ump Carlos Deno while walking away. In the bottom half, Waters' first three pitches to Greeley, all borderline, were called balls. On a 3-1 count, Greeley slammed the homer. As he caught Deno's toss of a new baseball, Waters muttered at him, "That's what happens." His obvious thought: That Deno had pinched him in retribution for the stare, causing him to groove one. Waters pitched the first five innings. He threw 100 pitches after 73 on Saturday and moved to LF by mutual agreement with coach Joe Parisi. La Salle's three-run sixth came against soph LHP Josh Rickards, who did a great job under intense pressure, and sr. RHP Brian Campbell (star SS, also). Jr. 3B Pat Riley slapped a one-out single, jr. C Nick Brechbill singled (and yielded to jr. PR Mike Glaccum), sr. 1B Doug Interrante drew a walk and the last pitch was wild, allowing Riley to score. Campbell replaced Rickards and walked Liberatore. Sr. RF Tim Galen grounded a ball to second. Glaccum would have scored anyway, so he received credit for an RBI as the ball was bobbled. Sr. SS Andrew Carnevale hit a ball that was too slow to be a doubleplay and Interrante scored. Sr. CF Jim Harkins popped out to end it. I never thought this game was going to be played. The field was wet and it was raining right up to gametime. There was no rain for about the latter half of the game, though. Kudos to John Fleming, O'Hara's interim manager. He did a great job while filling in for Frank Allison, who suffered head injuries in a fall at work. Frank, one of the all-time good guys, is coming along nicely. He was in attendance for both playoff games, in uniform. Check my DN story for the contributions of The Rally Turtle (smile).
CATHOLIC LEAGUE SEMIFINAL
La Salle 9, Carroll 1
Dan Waters is called "Muddy" by his teammates after a late, great blues singer. After this performance, they might want to change that to "Rainy." Yes, the raindrops, every so often, with varying intensity, were fallin' on Waters' head in the second game of this La Salle University doubleheader, but he barely noticed and fired an almost-perfect no-hitter. The sr. lefty, a Maryland signee, struck out 10, walked none, hit none and faced just one batter over the minimum with a mid-80s fastball. He had only himself to blame for not achieving a perfecto. Leading off the second, jr. OF Matt Smith chopped a ball to the 1B side of the mound. Waters had plenty of time, but he bobbled and bobbled again and then made an ill-advised, off-line throw to first. The double error put Smith at second and he scored with one out on a sac fly by jr. SS Chris Cashman. The best defensive play came from sr. SS Andrew Carnevale on a grounder up the middle by sr. 2B John Gardner with two away in the fifth. Two steps on the other side of 2B, Carnevale scooped up the grounder and retired Gardner with a strong, true throw. Great defense! Sr. RF Tim Galen made a pair of nice running catches. At bat, the Explorers did not exactly sting the ball to all locales. In fact, many of its runs scored on errors and fielder's choices. The two big hits came from sr. LF Kevin McLoughlin (two-run single in fourth) and Carnevale (two-run single in fifth). Sr. 2B Tony Liberatore had a fine day in the No. 8 spot, going 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored.
Here's my scoresheet for Carroll:
CATHOLIC LEAGUE SEMIFINAL
O'Hara 10, Conwell-Egan 9
C-E would be happy to never see O'Hara again in a postseason game. In the '83 final, the Eagles led by 5-2 in the visiting seventh and O'Hara had two outs with nobody on and an 0-2 count. O'Hara stormed to a 10-6 win. Ouch! In this one, O'Hara was the home team and it erupted for four runs in the bottom of the seventh to claim a 10-9 win. Ouch again! The sequence this time: single by sr. C Kevin Ahern, single by sr. 3B Joe DiMenna and walk to sr. LF Brian Placido to load the bases. Jr. LHP Jon Squire replaced sr. RHP Mike Kane and walked jr. PH Mike Conn to force in a run. Sr. P-1B Mike Antonini inside-outed a looping, two-run double down the rightfield line. Sr. RHP Todd Puzycki replaced Squire and fanned jr. 2B Nick Longmore. Soph CF Steve Cook was issued an intentional walk and coach Rich Papirio brought in sub jr. LF to stand at 2B and make for a five-man infield. Jr. sub RF Dan Thiel sent an RBI single to RF. It would have been deep enough to be a sacrifice fly anyway. Cook went 4-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI while sr. SS-P Brian Campbell went 2-for-4 with two RBI and got the win in relief (two innings). Ahern went 2-for-3 with an RBI double. C-E received three-run doubles from sr. 1B Matt Brazil and Kane (four RBI total) and jr. CF Tim Carroll made a pair of great catches -- one close to 400 feet from the plate; another with a dive to his right side (glove hand). Carroll also went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Kane showed all kinds of heart after pitching three perfect innings just two days earlier.
CATHOLIC LEAGUE SECOND-ROUND PLAYOFF
Conwell-Egan 5, Judge 4 (10 inn.)
It's not too often that a Judge team beats itself in money situations, but it happened this time. A throwing error in the seventh helped C-E force extra innings and another one helped to end it in the 10th. Jr. CF Tim Carroll was hit by a pitch to start the inning. Jr. C Matt Fischer flied to right and sr. 1B Matt Brazil followed with a shot to soph 3B Dan Higgins. Higgins had no problem making the catch, but when he tried to double Carroll off first, his throw zipped past sr. 1B Steve Sellers and over the out-of-play line, allowing Carroll to advance to third. Sr. SS Todd Puzycki followed with a groundball single down the leftfield line to wrap things up. In the seventh, sr. LHP Jim Glowienka issued a walk to sr. 3B-P Matt Kane to start and then sr. PH Jim Moran tried to bunt him over. Glowienka gloved the ball with no problem, but his throw to second was off-line. Two batters later, sr. 2B Nick Natriello hammered an RBI double to deep CF and Glowienka was removed in favor of jr. RHP Chris Panas, who'd been playing SS. Carroll lifted a sac fly to medium CF and the Eagles had the tie. Fischer followed with a single to left and it could have ended right there. But sr. LF Kevin McDevitt made a strong, true throw and jr. C Dale Curry was perfect with the catch-tag sequence and the affair went to extras. Kane pitched three perfect innings in relief. Judge literally did nothing against him. Curry had an outstanding day, collecting two hits (one was an RBI triple to VERY DEEP center) and throwing out two runners. With one out in the sixth, he gunned the ball to second to pick off Carroll. Then, with courtesy runner Kerry Higgins on first, Glowienka uncorked a wild pitch. Curry could not find the ball right away and Higgins tried to take two bases. Curry rubbed him out by at least five feet. A bad "throw," you could say, was Sellers' undoing. The lefty took a no-hitter into the fourth and went grounder/grounder/whiff. But strike three was wild and Brazil hustled down to first. Puzycki and soph LF Matt Burns (for an RBI) followed with singles and Sellers dealt back-to-back walks to Kane and soph LHP Chris David, forcing in a run. When Sellers went ball one on sr. RF Ryan Moran, Judge coach Joe McDermott popped immediately out of the dugout, brandishing a hook.
PUBLIC LEAGUE SEMIFINAL
Frankford 6, Central 2
Part One of a Pub-Cath doubleheader at La Salle Univ. Just like C-E in the CL playoff, I hadn't seen Central this season and wasn't sure what to expect. Frankford had little difficulty overall. Jr. RHP Joe Farina twirled a four-hitter with nine strikeouts and had a no-hitter until there were two away in the fourth and jr. P-OF Brandon Watson smacked a liner just out of the reach of sr. 1B Geoff Minetola. Farina yielded two scratch singles in the sixth and a two-run, seventh-inning single to sr. 2B Erick Navas. He quickly recovered to get the last two outs and end it. Farina did not throw quite as hard as I thought he would, but as he pointed out afterward, it was the first hot, sunny day in a long time and he was feeling slightly drained by game's end. The Pioneers scored two apiece in the second, third and fourth. Frosh DH Ramon Reyes had a two-run double in the second. Sr. RF Joe Danihel made a long run and got some leather on the ball right against the foul line. In the third and fourth, sr. 3B Carlos Rivera and Farina had RBI singles. The worst moment came in the second when sr. C Matt Colon fouled a ball off his face. He suffered a broken nose and facial lacerations and sr. LF Adam Hartman had to go behind the plate. He did a nice job back there and showed arm strength on his between-innings throws to second! Frankford had just one error and even that one was borderline (it came on a popup among three fielders). Sr. LF Jeff Newman also did well when taking Hartman's spot. He doubled to LF and used his good wheels to force an infield error, at least in part. I liked Central reliever Andrew Reynolds, a soph RHP. He pitched no-hit, no-run ball over the last 2.2 innings. He also has a cool nickname: Harry Potter. At one point a Central fan yelled, "C'mon, Potter, show 'em your magic!"
PUBLIC LEAGUE PLAYOFF
ROUND OF 16
Northeast 10, Kensington 0
Some hunches are better than others. This matchup had some appeal because Kensington's Joe Egenolf is a good coach and usually gets the most out of his players and I'd heard some good reports on sr. RHP Francis Colon, who's all of about 5-foot-4. Two problems: the Tigers had only a handful of true players and they experienced great difficulty in making simple plays both in the infield and behind the plate. Mix that with the pitching of Northeast jr. LH Andrew Lihotz and this one was a no-contest. Thanks mostly to a tailing fastball, Lihotz twirled a five inning no-hitter and he finished in style, striking out the side in the fifth. He fanned seven in all and walked three. Kenzo only had 13 official at-bats because Lihotz picked off one runner and sr. C Brandon O'Malley erased another on a would-be steal. The best hitting feat came from jr. 1B Bryan Adamson. Granted, it's only 322 feet to dead CF at Northeast, but a pretty strong wind was blowing straight in. Adamson punched a hole right through it with a solo homer. He also smacked a bad-hop, two-run single. Sr. 2B Jeff Barow had a sacrifice bunt in the first inning an later contributed a pair of RBI singles. Jr. CF Jay Banks had two doubles and one RBI and scored two runs. O'Malley went 2-for-3 with an RBI and scored twice; the runs were actually scored by courtesy runner Dan McGill. I like the energy and approach of Kensington jr. CF-P Josh Williams, a lefty thrower and hitter. He loves the game and it shows. This was a simple thing, but so many kids do it wrong: In the second inning, Northeast sr. LF Nick Diamond sent a fly to Williams. Runners were on base and Williams showed proper fundamentals, backing up and getting up a head of steam as he caught the ball so he'd have his body behind his throw. It was true and strong and no one could advance. Well done! Before the bottom of the first, manager Jade Barron was reading the lineup and ticked off the names of the first three batters, jr. SS Joe Cross, Barow and Diamond. Someone, and it might have been Jade herself, said, "Sounds likes hits!" Diamond deadpanned, "At least the first two." He proceeded to go 0-for-3.
PUBLIC LEAGUE DIVISION B SHOWDOWN
Edison 4, Olney 3
This one did not disappoint. Edison and Olney are only a half-mile apart, if that, and both teams' rosters are filled with Hispanic players who all seem to know each other, which makes for interesting by-play. (Since I understand Spanish enough to get by, spectating is even more enjoyable -- smile). Olney showed up with only nine players. Twelve had recently been on the roster, but two were sick and one was serving a school suspension. Nevertheless, the Trojans competed and showed big heart in the visiting seventh, scoring twice to forge a 3-3 tie. In the bottom half, jr. LF-P Danny Camacho reached on an error and sr. SS German Sanchez pounded a grounder to soph 3B Carlos Beltre. Sanchez hustled down the line to prevent a doubleplay and starting RHP Oscar Colon was re-entered into the No. 3 hole. Against sr. RHP Edwin DeLeon, originally the SS, Colon lined a hit to center. The ball skipped past frosh CF Edwin Burgos and Sanchez came all the way around to score and end it. In Sanchez (sac fly, two runs scored) and sr. 2B Luis Garcia (2-for-3, walk, RBI), Edison is pretty good up the middle. Sanchez is an impressive leader and made a heads-up defensive play in the fourth. Jr. 3B Gilbert Boria bobbled a soft grounder as he cut in front of Sanchez and baserunner Juan Diaz at first gave the impression he was going to try to score from second as the ball rolled away. Garcia rushed in from second, scooped up the ball and made a true throw to sr. C Juan Colon. Diaz was almost halfway down the line, but no one was at third. Sanchez rushed over. His arrival, catch and tag were pretty much simultaneous. Oscar Colon is a somewhat bulky kid with decent stuff. He was pitching on a tender left knee and any time he ran the bases, he was doing some serious peg-legging. He came out with nobody out in the seventh after soph C Carlos Rosado (3-for-4) blooped a two-run single to left, tying the score at 3-3. Camacho walked jr. P Kelington Tejada to load the bases with one out and then went 3-1 on jr. RF Wilfredo Maldonado before rallying to get a K. Diaz then grounded into a fielder's choice. About 150 people watched the game. It was a nice atmosphere. Edison will move up to Division A next year.
Prep Charter 4, Dobbins 1
The only thing bigger than the pitchers was the strike zone. This one featured 500-Plus Pounds of Pitching Passion as PC jr. RHP Matt Brydges and Dobbins soph RHP Jamil Phillips did battle to decide second place in Division C. Aided by a umpire who expanded the strike zone by at least 30 percent, the hurlers dominated and the game was over in 1 hour, 27 minutes. Unbelievable. Brydges held Dobbins to three hits, struck out six and walked none. Also, his teammates were guilty of just one error and that was a bobble in RF after a single. That occurred after jr. 1B Keon Richardson, who can really run, led off the fourth. Sr. 2B Cedric McNear followed with an RBI double to CF. Jr. 3B Tyrone Barringer smoked the next ball, but it went right to frosh 2B Bill McGovern and he stepped on second for a doubleplay. So, in effect, Brydges retired the last 12 batters in order. Brydges led off PC's second with a double and could only rumble to third as jr. SS Kevin O'Donnell singled to center. Jr. RF Henritz Ismael, the No. 9 hitter, later drew a walk to force in a run and jr. 3B Steve McCann added a two-run single through the hole to left. PC added an unearned run in the fourth. Phillips had stuff similar to Brydges', but his control was not as good. He allowed six hits and walked five while fanning 11. An interesting play in the fourth: With McGovern on third, McCann struck out on a pitch in the dirt. As the ball squirted away, McGovern ran home. Jr. C Jerrick Harris bent over with his back to McGovern, picked up the ball and managed to tag McGovern for the third out. PC is a first-year PL member (for baseball; it has already played two hoops seasons) and has some respectable players. It plays at 24th and Jackson, in South Philly, and has no seniors on the roster, so the future should be bright. Coach Shawn Magee is very animated and keeps the scorebook while coaching at third base. The guy coaching at first base, whoever he was, was wearing streetclothes. Repeat after me: Only in The Pub! (smile)
Episcopal 8, Haverford School 2
This was a goodie. Mostly crisp fielding, a few hard-hit balls and an impressive pitching performance by an unheralded sophomore, RH Chris Sherwin. This kid does not throw hard, but someone definitely taught him how to PITCH. His location was excellent (no walks) and he almost never threw two consecutive pitches at the same speed. Sherwin went six innings, allowing four hits and striking out four. He was scored on only in the fourth, when sr. RF Mike Fitzpatrick singled to left-center and jr. LHP Tom Close followed with a two-run homer just over the hill in right-center (it's a pretty short distance, but the ball was hammered.) Sr. RHP Jason Brown, who started the game at 2B, worked the seventh, showing good velocity along with some funky arm angles that had to be distracting. Episcopal's batting star was soph 1B Joe Rosati, who throws and bats lefthanded. He went 3-for-4 with a two-run triple and three RBI. His triple rocketed over the head of jr. CF Noah Cooper. Brown had two RBI on a groundout and double and got down a sacrifice bunt that helped set up another run. Jr. SS Dan Williams, a righthanded batter, also powered a two-run homer to a spot above the hill in right-center. In the leadoff spot, jr. RF Fran Grunde collected a walk and single and scored twice. Close showed excellent stuff, but his command was off and he fought himself slightly. His best FBs had to be mid-80s, especially in a three-K third. He'll be someone to watch next season. The best defensive play was made by Episcopal 3B Brinty Markle, a junior. He sprawled to his left to glove a hot smash by frosh 3B Nick Tom and got the force at second. Episcopal soph LF Brian FitzPatrick is no relation to Haverford's Mike Fitzpatrick. Brian is cooler because his name has the capital P in the middle (smile). Episcopal backup 2B Craig Wallace is friends with my daughter, Kristen. His family owns a Heavenly Ham store in Marlton, N.J., and Kristen worked there a little during Easter weekend. As far as I know, she didn't drive the place out of business.
North Catholic 8, Dougherty 2
I kept hearing great things about sr. RHP Shaun Gallagher and now I know why. In the first three innings, especially, he was very impressive with a hopping/tailing fastball (probably in the mid-80s) and a curve with a seriously sharp bend. The 6-1, 185-pounder went five innings in all, allowing three hits and one walk while striking out six. It was his first UNcomplete game. His record is now 6-1 and his ERA is 1.02. He has allowed just 10 runs total in 48 innings, so even his All Run Average is impressive (1.46). Dougherty sr. RHP Tim Lighthill deserved a better fate. His mates made two costly errors in the fourth after sr. C Mike Karpovich hammered a one-out double to deep CF. Lighthill departed after the first two batters reached base in the fifth on an infield hit and an error. The inning yielded five runs as sr. reliever Jose Medina, a righty, was touched for a two-run single by soph 3B Tim Wallace and one-run single by sr. 1B Brian Wehrman. (Later, back at his original position, 3B, Medina made an outstanding play on a wicked grounder close to the line.) In the sixth, backup sr. C John Paffen, not exactly Mr. Fit and Trim (smile), showed good hustle to prevent a doubleplay and earn himself an RBI. In CD's seventh, the highlight was an RBI double by soph C Mike Copestick. Soph RF Luke Ashenbrenner got another run home with a groundout. I counted six lefties among Dougherty's 13 batters. Jr. 1B Mark Lynch was particularly pesky, as he kept fouling off some of Gallagher's best fastballs. Among the spectators: Penn State NG Scott Paxson (he lives near Piccoli Playground though he went to Roman), ex-North SS Rich Wilde (a starter on the 1977 CL and City champs) and North JV coach Pat Murphy, in his first public outing since last week suffering a heart attack while coaching the team. Dougherty's first-year coach is Paul Ellis, who in '90 coached Wood to the CL title. It was nice to see him again!
Germantown 10, Gratz 1
My main reason for going to this game was to do a story for the Daily News on G-town's unique situation this season. Coach Ted Horne had to step aside for health reasons right before tryouts were to begin and by the time Thomas Monson was appointed to take his place, it was a month into the season and the Bears were charged with six forfeits. They have gone 5-0 on the field with wins over three respectable teams (Kensington and Franklin in addition to Gratz). It's possible the Bears will replay the forfeits, but I tend to doubt it since they'd have to play almost every day between now and May 16. Anyway . . . jr. RHP Haneef Hill did the throwing and was impressive. He fanned 14 in the six-inning game (stopped by rain; they EASILY could have finished) and allowed four hits. He's a solid kid with an effortless delivery and good command of a FB and curve. To hang in Division A he'd need to throw a shade harder, but I like this kid. He plays 3B when not pitching. The other team leader is sr. SS-2B Tyree Jones. He had a triple and single in five at-bats, stole two bases and scored twice. Jones takes leadership seriously. After watching jr. CF Najee Fulton take some uneven swings while fanning, Jones pulled Fulton aside and gave him some quick tips in patient fashion. Fulton even said "thanks" at the end of the session. It was nice to see. Jr. 1B Christen Johnson had a two-run double, a single and two walks. Frosh 3B Andre Fisher went 2-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. His brother, Robert, a soph C, batted cleanup. Jones made a spectacular diving catch of a windblown popup in shallow LF. Gratz' pitcher was frosh RHP Karl Howard, who's said to be an excellent point guard prospect. He didn't throw badly, though he was obviously green. Jr. SS Kazeem Sanders absolutely smoked a long liner to LF. Sr. RHP Johnny Torres worked the last inning. He threw reasonably hard out of a sidearm delivery. When I saw the name Whitney Warfield on G-town's roster and then got a look at the kid's face, I just had to ask him, "Is your pop's name Percy?" Percy Warfield played basketball for Franklin back in the day. He's Whitney's uncle, as it turns out. The family owned (still owns?) a store on Lehigh Ave. at about 25th/26th; somewhere in there. I always thought the name was cool: Warfield's Variety For This Society.
Judge 2, North Cath. 2 (tie)
Well, this one was over quite fast (just over an hour), but there was no resolution. A quick, sudden shower came in the top of the sixth and flooded the field and everyone headed home. Plate ump Chris Opanel insisted the game would have to replayed in its entirety because the score was tied, and he's known for being tremendous in the area of rules knowledge. North tied the score in the home fifth as jr. 1B Ed Jaskowiak walked, moved to second on a passed ball and went to third on a grounder to sr. SS Ryan Carrelli. Carrelli probably could have made a play on Jaskowiak, but he opted for safety. With soph LF Brett Bryan up, a squeeze was called. Bryan missed the ball, but Jaskowiak came hard and was safe with a steal as it appeared no one warned jr. C Dale Curry that something was up. North's first run scored in the first as jr. CF Stan Orzechowski doubled off the fence in left and sr. C Mike Karpovich delivered a single to right. Sr. 3B Shaun Gallagher and Bryan added singles in the second and third, respectively. Judge sr. RHP Chris Panas fanned three and mostly kept the ball down. Judge scored twice in the first as sr. 2B Don Winterbottom came in on a balk and sr. 1B Steve Sellers hammered an RBI double WAY out to left-center. Winterbottom and jr. CF Joe Sanford added later singles. Sr. LF Kevin McDevitt also singled to start the sixth and advanced on a passed ball. The game was halted with a 1-2 count on Sanford, in case Opanel was incorrect and it'll have to be continued from that point. North jr. RHP Mike Berretta struck out three and was similar to Panas in stuff and demeanor. North jr. ss Danny Paluch went 0-for-2, but hit two rockets right at people. After watching such sloppy baseball Monday and Thursday, this game was a breath of fresh air. The infield at Piccoli is in great shape. Coach Tom Wenger and his assistants are working hard to keep it that way.
Washington 24, Northeast 23 (click here for boxscore, and here for Randy's tidbits)
Hmmmm. What are the chances that I own a national sports writing record for highest-scoring games seen in a week? The other day it was 36 runs, as Ryan beat O'Hara, 20-16. Today it was 47 runs!! Amazing!! The first two innings gobbled up 87 minutes and the game in total took 4 hours, 6 minutes. It ended at 7:24 as jr. 2B Adam Eisman (five RBI) lined a single to left to score pinch-runner Justin Presley and set off a wild celebration. Jr. 3B-P Ken Radziak opened the home seventh with a single to right and yielded to Presley. Sr. 1B-P Harry Parfitt fanned on a pitch in the dirt and, with first base occupied, was automatically out. But he dashed toward first and sr. C Brandon O'Malley, momentarily duped, made an offline throw, enabling Presley to advance to third. Eisman followed with his hit. As he was being mobbed, he bellowed, "Let's play another one!" Let's not and say we did (smile). This game was often brutal, but since it became such a memory-maker with so many twists and turns and comebacks and blown leads and such, I didn't mind being there for so long. DN sports writer Mike Kern arrived at 4:45 from a round of golf in South Jersey thinking he'd see two innings. He saw five! His son, Steve, is GW's sr. SS. They were 40 hits, 8 doubles, 2 triples, no homers, 23 walks, 3 hit batsmen, 17 stolen bases, 14 errors and 8 wild pitches. Twelve of the runs were unearned. Only three half-innings were scoreless. In seven, at least nine players batted. Northeast sr. Steve Sandberg was scratched as the starting pitcher because of arm tenderness and a hamstring problem. He played first base, then later relieved. Off a full outing Monday, Lihotz pitched twice in relief and went 4 1/3 innings total. Parfitt, who also pitched Monday, got the win by going 2 2/3 innings. At 5:56, with only the fourth inning about to end, Northeast soph DH Dennis Heebner departed for a doctor's appointment. For Washington, sr. CF Marcus Kennedy reached base all six times with three hits and three walks, jr. RF Brian Morgan went 4-for-6 with a double and three RBI, sr. handyman Dennis Massott went 3-for-4 with two walks and three RBI, sr. DH Bruce Bauer had a double and triple en route to six RBI, and Radziak went 4-for-6 with three RBI. For Northeast, jr. SS Joe Cross collected two hits, three walks and two RBI, jr. P-OF Bryan Adamson went 3-for-5 with two doubles, a triple and four RBI, and jr. OF Jay Banks had two hits and two walks en route to three RBI. Northeast blew leads of 8-0 and 15-8. I took a couple of post-game pictures. I'm curious to see how they turned out. If you are, too, check More Special Photos.
Olney 5, Mastbaum 4
Olney's field is one of my favorites because the fans are always lively and people keep walking by on the street to shout out encouragement or bust cubes. Also, there's always the chance that a foul ball is going to dent a car; always an exciting moment (smile). Olney is extremely young with three freshmen, two sophs and two juniors in the starting lineup. The pitcher was soph RH Carlos Beltre, who's thin with long legs and a decent delivery. As he gets older and fills out, he could become a horse. Interestingly, he pitches from the stretch no matter what. He allowed five hits, fanned 10 and walked five. Most of his strikeouts came with runners in scoring position. Only one of Olney's runs was earned. The Trojans forged a 4-4 tie in the sixth on a throwing error and RBI triple by sr. C Edwin DeLeon (the ball was stung, but jr. CF Jose "Tito" Colon would have caught it if not for a slight wrong turn as he broke for it.) In the seventh, a WP-E2 combo put sr. LF Wilfredo Maldonado on second to start the inning, and freshman 1B Juan Torres put down a perfect sacrifice bunt. Frosh ss Bienvenido "Ben" Beltre won it with a sacrifice fly to RF. B. Beltre and soph 2B Carlos Rosado had singles in a two-run first. Jr. DH Kelington Tejada had an RBI single in the fourth. While lunging forward, frosh Edwin Burgos made a spectacular catch of a line drive in CF. For Mastbaum, losing pitcher Johnny Marrero, a jr. RH, and jr. LF Alex "Mouse" Norat both had two hits and one RBI. Sr. 3B Jose Perez, who right after the game headed to practice for the Daily News-Eagles City All-Star Game, had the Panthers' other hit. Marrero allowed four hits and fanned five. Mastbaum had just 10 players in uniform. Coach Bob Levy said four players were recently ruled academically ineligible and that three have been promoted from the JV since the start of the season. Olney had 12 players. Olney's regular coach, Barry Strube, showed up in his Air Force reserve threads and helped interim boss Jeff McKenna guide the squad. Only one ump, Joe Dembik, showed up. He called balls and strikes from behind the mound. When an Olney player struck out, a Mastbaum parent yelled, "Whoa, watch that wind, buddy. You're blowing me out of my seat!" Kudos to DeLeon, who will attend Franklin and Marshall to major in engineering! A great accomplishment!
Ryan 20, O'Hara 16
Phew, I went through four pencils at this tilt. Just kidding. But I did ask myself more than once, Can anybody here play this game? This was major sloppy and wild, but it became a happening because the score soared to such unusual proportions. The score was 8-6 Ryan after two innings and 33 guys had already batted. The final numbers: 33 hits, 4 doubles, 1 triple, 5 homers, 9 walks, 8 hit batsmen, 13 errors. For Ryan, so. SS Anthony Carter went 4-for-6 with a two-run homer and three RBI, sr. RF Joe Kline went 4-for-6 with an RBI, soph P-3B Rob Fisher and sr. 2B Mike Leone two-run singles, sr. OF Mike Maule reached base three consecutive times by absorbing pitches to the body or helmet, and soph C Nick DiEnno was on base six consecutive times thanks to a double, four errors and a plunking. O'Hara sr. C Kevin Ahern, a lefty swinger who inside-outs the ball in John Kruk fashion, had NINE RBI on a three-run double, grand slam and two-run single. Sr. LF Brian Placido and jr. 1B Paul Titchenell also homered for the Lions. Ryan built leads of 14-6 and 20-12. Aherns two-run single, followed immediately by Placidos two-run homer, gave OHara a quick four-spot in the sixth and made it 20-16. That convinced Ryan coach Ron Gerhart to wave in jr. LHP Tom Dolan from CF. Dolan threw three serious heaters past Titchenell to end the inning and then had a mostly uneventful seventh. At bat, Dolan went 3-for-3 with a triple, homer, four RBI and three walks (two intentional). I loved the game-long enthusiasm shown by Maule. He was constantly trying to stir his teammates. At one point the home plate umpire turned and said, "I feel like I've called 500 pitches." The game last 2 hours, 54 minutes. After interviewing Dolan, I headed straight to Taco Bell for two soft tacos and a medium diet Pepsi. It was only the third time I'd eaten fast food. All day.
GAMP 2, Northeast 0
It was cloudy throughout and even drizzled, briefly, but this one was quite enjoyable. You know how most young lefties are wild? Not today. GAMP sr. Mario Malatino and Northeast jr. Andrew Lihotz hooked up in a tight-and-bright goodie and the time of game was only 1 hour, 46 minutes. Malatino faced just 22 batters, one over the minimum, in a two-hit, one-walk, 11-strikeout performance. Lihotz surrendered three hits, walked none (he did hit a batter) and fanned eight. The only scoring in this rematch of last year's title game, also won by GAMP, came in the third when soph 2B Dominic DeMarco reached first on a two-out bunt (soph 3B Chris Steinke bobbled briefly and his throw was an eyelash late; it had to be scored as an error) and sr. SS Anthony Caines smacked a two-run homer to dead left. It's 305 feet down the line. This one traveled about 320 and came against a pretty stiff crosswind. Northeast put two runners on in the second, but just three guys batted. Weird, huh? Jr. LF Bryan Adamson led off with a single deep into the hole, but he rounded first much too far and was retired, 3-4-1. Lihotz fanned, then sr. 2B Jeff Barow singled to right. He advanced to second on a wild pitch and tried to go to third on another errant delivery, but was an easy out as jr. C Andrew Challender made a strong throw. The game ended the same way as Challender threw out Steinke at 2B. GAMP sr. LF David Scirrotto had a pair of singles in three at-bats. NE has suffered two huge blows. Sr. P-3B Ken Wlodarczyk has injured his elbow to the point where he needs reconstructive surgery and an important infielder has been lost to academic ineligibility. "They were two of my three captains," coach Sam Feldman said. GAMP's starting RF, soph Gabe Natale, is the son of Bartram FB coach Frank "Roscoe" Natale. DeMarco is likely no taller than 5-3/5-4, but he is VERY fast. Northeast sr. 1B Steve Sandberg, also a K-P, has been told he'll be able to play in the Daily News-Eagles City All-Star Game. Check this out: he throws and bats lefthanded, but kicks rightfooted. I was hoping to do a story on this game for the Daily News, but was told there was no space. Sorry 'bout that, troops.
Roman 2, Bonner 1
Anthony Capella certainly knows how to entertain. Veteran website visitors will remember that "Ant" was quite outrageous two years ago and at one point I playfully had to ban him because every other e-mail, or so it seemed, was from him or about him (smile). Now, he's all grown up and has a chance at becoming a pro! Capella starts in rightfield and bats third for Roman, but his future likely lies in pitching. In this one, after warming up briefly between innings, he relieved in the sixth and hit 87-88 mph on a Mets scout's radar gun almost immediately. In Mitch Williams fashion, Capella lived very dangerously, giving up four hits and a walk before nailing down the save. He also fanned four. (The exact details are in my DN story). Capella is talking with West Virginia about a scholarship, but when a kid can light up the radar gun like that, he has a chance to get drafted or offered a free agent contract. In a showcase event in Florida, one of his throws from RF was clocked at 92 mph. Jr. RHP Pat Dunn was excellent in his five-inning stint. He served up a solo homer to impressive soph LF Kevin Ward, but no one else ventured past 2B and Dunn fanned five. He doesn't throw especially hard and his control is spotty (five walks), but he recorded clutch outs. Bonner sr. RHP Frank Nunan was quite impressive, allowing four hits and fanning 10. He walked three and two of those guys scored. Nunan was hitting 80-81 on the gun. He's a gritty kid and there's much to like about him. Roman's runs came in on RBI singles by sr. C Jim McKeaney and sr. LF Joe Jelinski. McKeaney, a strong kid with a good presence behind the plate, also gunned down a would-be basestealer. Bonner sr. C Kevin Leddy had to leave the game in the seventh after taking a foul tip on his meat hand. He was in great pain; it didn't look good. His replacement, soph Tom Moran, also erased a would-be basestealer (by a LOT) with a cannon-like throw delivered in perfect, from-the-ear form. Watch this kid! He's also a pitcher and, for that reason, has been playing very little behind the plate. He's over 6-foot and still kind of lean, with plenty of room to fill out. Overall, Ward went 3-for-4 out of the cleanup spot.
Gtn. Academy 5, Penn Charter 3
The headliner in this one was GA jr. LHP Sean Grieve, who's also an outstanding QB. In the very first inning, Grieve hit 87 on the radar gun belonging to Phillies scout Joe Romano and as the game went on, he was consistently clocked in the 83 to 85 range. He reached 87 about six times total. Grieve went five innings and retired the last seven batters in order. He struck out six and allowed three hits, all in PC's three-run third. Jr. LHP Pete Vernon worked the last two innings and Charter had a great chance to force at least a tie in the seventh. But after the Nos. 8 and 9 hitters, jr. DH Eric Feinschil and jr. 3B David Skinner, delivered singles, soph C R.J. Hollinshead popped up a bunt for out No. 1. Sr. 1B Taylor Baum then smoked a single to CF, loading the bases. Sr. P Matt Ryan then grounded into a tailor-made, 4-6-3 doubleplay to end it. GA is still very young. Of the 11 players used by coach Craig Conlin, of La Salle High and University basketball fame, 10 were underclassmen (six jrs; four sophs). In GA's three-run first, jr. C Alex Kaplan (one-run) and soph 3B Dan Overcash (two-run) had RBI singles. Kaplan's groundout got a run home in the second. Ryan, bound for Boston College to play QB, went the distance for PC, throwing 121 pitches. GA annoyed him greatly by fouling off MANY pitches. One of those foul balls, lofted over the third base side by jr. LF Kevin Gordon, wound up smashing the windshield of a car passing by on Morris Road. It was a high popup, too, and everyone could see it that was going to hit the car. Pow!!!! Luckily, the driver did not freak out and run off the road. How scary must that be? Ryan allowed five hits, fanned four and walked three (one intentionally). His effort was marred by a few bad errors. PC scored all of its runs in the third as soph CF Ryan Nanni delivered an RBI single and sr. LF John Samuel followed two batters later with a two-run single. Before the game, PC soph 2B Marc Spagnoletti asked me to say hello to my daughter. They were in second grade together in a Voorhees, N.J., elementary school. Marc still hasn't gotten over her (smile).
Carroll 2, Kennedy-Kenrick 0
Well, now I've seen everything -- a shutout at Carroll's Phone Booth Field. Doing the honors was sr. LHP Frank Gailey, who allowed six hits and struck out as many. He walked just one, and it was intentional. It came in the first with two out, nobody on and a 2-0 count to sr. CF Chris Lubanski, one of the country's top prospects. Gailey showed a tailing fastball and, of course, excellent control. He threw just 76 pitches. This kid's a bulldog; probably always has been. In two chances vs. Lubanski, he induced a groundout and popup (though Lubanski came within a whisker of beating out the grounder; some thought he did). Carroll posted three doubleplays: Gailey started one himself and one of the others came when sr. P Jon Smolenski was easily nabbed at the plate on a throw from jr. 1B Brandon Gribbin after a strikeout/run-to-first sequence. K-K came close to scoring in the seventh. Sr. Sean McManus, a Paul Bunyan-sized pinch-hitter, smashed a single to CF and gave way to sr. PR Jason Rigg. With two out, jr. LF Justin Taphorn sent a single to the right side of CF. Jr. CF Ryan Stewart, a lefty thrower, ran hard to his left and reached across his body to prevent the ball from rolling to the fence. Very nice play! Sr. 2B Brian Rainone was then retired while trying to bunt for a hit; Gailey made that play, too. Carroll scored two in the fourth. Jr. SS Chris Cashman worked a one-out walk (after many foul balls) and soph LF Dave Puliti followed with a misjudged double to right. Soph 3B Brian Rorick failed to make contact on a squeeze and Cashman should have been an easy out. But jr. C Vin Dayton made the tag with his glove when the ball was still in his meat hand. K-K argued to no avail that Cashman should have been called out for being out of the baseline. Rorick followed with a hard groundball to center to bring in Puliti. Smolenski showed excellent stuff. He's listed at 6-2, 185, and appears to be very solid. He fanned 11 and walked just two. His curve (maybe a slider?) was a sharp-breaker, but on this day was mostly all or nothing. It was either slightly high or in that perfect low-corner spot. When it was there, Carroll's batters mostly looked helpless. A very impressive crowd was on hand and there might have been more K-K loyalists. As you might imagine, they were NOT happy when Lubanski was issued the early intentional walk.
Frankford 13, Washington 3 (6 inn.)
This game wasn't as bad as the score indicates. Some "almosts" killed Washington in the last three innings and turned things ugly. In the fourth, Frankford took a 4-1 lead as sr. C Matt Colon (ex-OF; winner of academic scholarships to four colleges thus far; I LOVE hearing good news like that) smacked a three-run homer down the leftfield line and out onto Pratt Street. In the fifth, sr. 1B Harry Parfitt dropped a low throw on the back end of a would-be doubleplay. He appeared to grab the ball with his bare hand in time to beat the runner and end the inning, but a safe call was made and Colon followed with a two-run double to center (the ball, a sinking liner, got past sr. CF Marcus Kennedy). In a seven-run sixth, which ended the game with only one out, jr. CF Carlos Masip received credit for a three-run triple when Kennedy, looking straight into the sun, misjudged the ball and ran in hard, only to see it sail over his head. Colon later powdered an RBI double off the fence in left-center, enabling him to finish 3-for-5 with six RBI. Jr. RHP Joe Farina limited G-Dub to four hits (two did not leave the infield) and struck out six. His velocity stayed strong throughout. In fact, he might have been throwing a shade harder in the latter innings. However, I wanted to see him have a few more three-pitch sequences. Often, he'd go from 0-2 to 2-2 or 3-2. Sr. LF-P Dennis Massott had Washington's only RBI on a solid single to center in the third inning. Jr. RHP Eric Seidman, son of budding website legend Randy "Randy's Ramblings" Seidman, struggled some with his command, but he changed speeds nicely and stranded five runners in scoring position (always a good sign). Two other sons of legendary folks were involved. Washington sr. SS Steve Kern is the son of Daily News colleges/golf writer Mike "Michael Jack" Kern and backup OF Matthew Yankowitz, a soph, is the son of Dobbins basketball coach Rich Yankowitz. Frankford jr. 1B Geoff Minetola has seriously long hair, but it disappears after warmups. He gathers and tucks it into his cap. "He's in a rock band," coach Bob Peffle said. "I told him he wouldn't have to cut it, but would have to get it under his hat somehow." Frankford sr. 3B Carlos Rivera went 3-for-4 with a double and one RBI. During warmups, a guy got out of his car across the street from the home-plate area and held aloft a poster about a pro-war function Saturday. He yelled at the top of his lungs for several minutes and had players on both teams cracking up. His best line was, "Give up your scholarships! Join the Marines! Fight for your country!"