SOL Baseball Wrap: 4-23-10

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By Scott Huff
PERKASIE – The electrifying finish of the Pennridge-North Penn baseball game should wind up on You Tube.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, host Pennridge and North Penn were tied at 2-2. Both starting pitchers – Jared Schaffer for the Rams and Derek Kenniff for the Knights – were marvelous.
The inning started innocently enough as Kenniff retired the first two Pennridge hitters. However, Alex Stear coaxed a walk and Dylan Tice delivered a sharp single to center as Stear scampered to third.
North Penn head coach Bob McCreary replaced Kenniff with right-hander Austin Tarpey. The move looked like a great one as Tarpey got ahead of the Rams’ Ryan Metzler 0-2 in the count.
And what followed was the You Tube moment.
Tice broke early for second base and stopped midway between first and second base – Tarpey stepped off and walked toward Tice as Stear remained close to the bag at third.
It seemed like a motionless Tice and motionless Tarpey stared at each other for an eternity, until finally Tarpey threw to first base.
Once the ball left Tarpey’s hand, Stear broke for the plate. In a cloud of dust, Stear beat the throw home and Pennridge had stolen a 3-2 win.
“We thought about that play when they took the pitcher out,” said Pennridge head coach Tom Nuneviller. “We have a sign for it, but I really can’t remember the last time we actually used that play.
“Dylan is such an instinctive baseball player that we felt good about using it,” added Nuneviller. “We hope that either he can force the pitcher into a balk, or he could get into a rundown, whatever it takes to get that runner in from third base.”
“It was a good call, and we executed it well,” said Tice. “I wasn’t too sure how they would handle it, I just tried to stay involved and give us a chance to score.”
“Once he turned and looked at Dylan, he might have taken his mind off me,” said Stear. “Once the pitcher threw the ball, I just took off for home.”
The odd ending – that had the fans at First Federal Savings Field buzzing long after the conclusion of the game – topped off a tremendous game that was for first place in the SOL Continental Conference.
“I feel that these are the two best teams in the league, and we both played like it today,” said Tice. “We can gain a lot of confidence beating a team like North Penn, and now we have to work hard on staying in first place.”
“Both teams played a phenomenal game, especially on defense,” said McCreary. “It was an extremely well-played high school baseball game.”
Pennridge took a 1-0 first inning lead as Tim Eversole lined an RBI single that scored Tice – who had singled to lead off the inning.
North Penn got its first hit of the game in the top of the third inning when the Knights #9 hitter – Brandon Martinez – lined a homerun over the left center field fence to knot the score at 1-1.
The Rams regained the lead in the fifth inning when Tice – who had walked – scored on a RBI ground out off the bat of Ray Puskar.
North Penn once again tied the score – and once again used the long ball as lead off hitter Ryan King launched a rocket over the fence in right center field.
“I was just trying to get on base,” said King who stroked his second homer of the season. “We wanted to be aggressive at the plate, and I got a decent pitch to hit.
“It is really tough to lose a game like the way we lost,” said King who watched the play from his viewpoint in left field. “But we will see them again.”
And don’t be surprised if first place is still on the line.
Quakertown (5-2, 3-2) received a superlative outing from Jayson Rathjens as the Panthers clawed to an 8-2 conference win over visiting Souderton (3-6, 1-5).
Rathjens went the distance to notch the win for Q-town with a seven-inning, six-strikeout performance. Rathjens also belted a homerun to lead the offense.
Kurt Roberts had two hits – including a triple, while Tyler Coleman also collected two hits. Phil Bain doubled for the winners.
Hatboro-Horsham (5-4, 3-4) stopped a three-game losing streak as the Hatters topped Central Bucks West (5-5, 3-4) – 9-2.
Nick Hinkson threw the first five innings for Hatboro-Horsham to earn the win. Matt Hollenbeck threw the final two frames.
Hinkson also led the team with three RBI.
Central Bucks South (6-3, 4-3) received a complete game effort from Dan Wasson as the Titans handled Central Bucks East (4-4, 2-4) – 7-2.
Suburban One League American Conference
Wissahickon (4-5, 4-3) won its fourth straight SOL American Conference game with a 7-2 win over Upper Moreland (5-2, 4-2).
“We have begun to execute much better than we did earlier in the season,” said Wissahickon head coach Shannon Gunby. “We lost three games by either one or two runs. And in that stretch of games, we both had errors and men left on base.
“In high school baseball, you might win a game by making errors or leaving guys on base,” added Gunby. “But you can’t do both.”
The Trojans and Golden Bears were in a tight 3-2 game until the top of the seventh inning. It became 7-2 when Wissahickon catcher Alec Lineberger blasted a grand slam homerun to break the game wide open.
“Alec really stepped up, that hit was huge,” said Gunby. “It’s much easier to close out a game with a five-run lead than a one-run lead.”
The Trojans received a winning effort from Rob McKenna
“Rob only threw 68 pitches – pitched to contact – and stayed down in the zone,” said Gunby. “He kept a good hitting team off the bases.”
Upper Merion (7-2, 6-1) came up with a power surge in the seventh inning to spark a 12-11 conference win over Upper Dublin (5-4, 3-3).
The Vikings entered the last of the seventh inning down 11-7, but back-to-back homeruns knotted the score.
Greg McCuch blasted a three-run homer and Ben Dwroecki hit a solo shot to tie the score. The Vikings scored the game winner in the eighth inning on an error to earn the win.
Ray Gambone was the winning pitcher in the slugfest that featured 23 runs, 25 hits, and six errors.
Plymouth Whitemarsh (4-5, 4-2) trailed visiting Springfield (4-4, 3-4) by a 6-1 score, but PW scored seven unanswered runs in the sixth and seventh innings to defeat the Spartans – 7-6.
“We came up with some clutch hits when we needed them,” said Plymouth Whitemarsh head coach Robert Slagle. “This was a nice win, an important win, for us.”
The key hit in the three-run sixth inning was a two-run triple by Mitch Weikert. And in the two-run seventh inning, Eric Ellinger hit an RBI sacrifice fly, and Brett Haislup stroked the game-winning single to score Matt Mondimore.
Suburban One League National Conference
Neshaminy (8-1, 6-0) kept a firm grasp on first place in the conference standings with a 6-3 victory over Pennsbury (4-8, 3-4).
“We went after them today with a two-headed monster,” said Neshaminy head coach Dennis Cox. “We knew we were going to pitch both Frank (Leonhardt) and Ray (Hyjurick), and they can be tough.”
Leonhardt earned the win for the Skins as he tossed the first 4 and 2/3 innings. Hyjurick recorded the save with four strikeouts in his two and 1/3 innings of hitless relief.
“We left some guys on base, but we were able to manufacture a few runs,” said Cox. “We found a couple of different ways to score runs.”
The Redskins broke a 2-2 deadlock with a three-run fifth inning. The key hits in the inning came off the bats of John Burns and Sean McGovern.