Baseball: Pitching, defense have Haverford High on a roll

Posted by stoga webmaster on Apr 16 2015 at 03:56AM PDT

By Matthew DeGeorge
Posted: 04/16/2015 12:32:59 AM EDT

HAVERFORD — Kevin Clancy had to raise his voice over a little postgame music in the Haverford dugout, but the noise only served to emphasize his point rather than obscure it.

“The confidence is pretty high right now,” the right fielder was saying after his Fords’ 5-0 win over Springfield Wednesday. “We’re pretty excited. When we get wins like this and we play well, everyone’s pretty excited and we want to come out and play well.”

Haverford starting pitcher Corey Hunt went six shutout innings against Springfield. (ROBERT J. GURECKIDAILY TIMES)

Clancy’s point centers not just on the result but how the Fords arrived there. They played sound baseball Wednesday, getting excellent pitching and timely offense to make for a speedy and comfortable afternoon on the diamond. The Fords committed three errors on the infield, but Clancy and his fellow outfielders created that many outs with spectacular plays on hard-hit balls.

With the Fords, it’s not just that they’re consistently finding wins in a Central League lacking much order or structure, accumulating a 5-2 mark in the league after the latest triumph in a battle of two of the league’s more pleasant surprises. It’s that the simple, repeatable process behind those wins gives reason to believe that there are more in the offing.

Wednesday, that started with the arm of Corey Hunt, who hurled six economical shutout innings. Despite the errors, he allowed just eight base-runners on four hits and a solitary walk. He stranded four Cougars in scoring position, bearing down when he needed to, and he required a mere 75 pitches to record 18 outs.

“I just hit my catcher’s spots and tried to throw a lot of strikes,” Hunt said, “and my fielders did the rest.”

Had they not, the complexion of the game could’ve been much different from the outset.

Springfield’s Nick O’Shea led off the second inning reaching on an error, followed by an Andrew Todaro single. With runners on second and third and one out, designated hitter Dylan Power thought he’d dunked in a base hit down the right-field line.

But in came a sliding Clancy, who made the catch, then popped up and fired across the diamond to get O’Shea, who’d strayed too far from the base thinking the ball would drop. The play was completed by third baseman Kenny Kissinger, who atoned for an error earlier in the inning with a nice pick of the one-hop throw.

In the fourth, after Springfield’s Tom Quinn led off with a single, left fielder Ethan Samel took a turn flashing some leather, diving into the left-center gap to make a stellar catch with acres of outfield behind him.

“When we make plays like that, it just boosts the confidence of the whole team,” Clancy said. “We got a couple of runs after making a couple of big plays, and that all really starts with the defense and pitching.”

That defense bought time for the Fords’ bats to get going, a pursuit aided by four Springfield errors. Three of those mistakes converged in the third inning, but starter Mike Smith recorded two strikeouts to limit the threat, the only run scoring on an overthrow following Tom Leonard’s infield single.

One of those punchouts was to Nick Cerelli, who made sure he didn’t suffer a similar fate the following inning, when he blasted a two-run triple through the left-center gap to chase Smith and finish off a four-spot in the fourth inning. Cerelli’s bomb followed a bases-loaded walk by Samel and a Kevin Maloney sac fly.

Springfield s Austin Kiker tries to steal second base as Haverford s Nick Cerelli awaits the throw Wednesday. Cerelli hit a two-run triple to power the
Springfield s Austin Kiker tries to steal second base as Haverford s Nick Cerelli awaits the throw Wednesday. Cerelli hit a two-run triple to power the Fords’ 5-0 Central League win. (Robert J. Gurecki)

That was more than enough for Hunt and Ryan McCormick, who allowed one hit in an otherwise uneventful top of the seventh to preserve the lead. The Fords pitchers limited Springfield (3-5, 3-4) to just five hits, all singles, as the Cougars two-game winning streak ended.

It also entitled the Fords, winners of three straight and facing a third game in four days Thursday against Harriton, to a few smiles after the game.

“We’re all just connecting as a team,” Hunt said. “We’re all friends and we’re all working to get better.”

Also in the Central League:

UPPER DARBY 3, MARPLE NEWTOWN 1: Ryan McIvor and Thurston Lu combined on a four-hitter, and David Moskowitz drove in two runs for the Royals.

Pat Tackney and Jack Shevlin had two hits each for Marple.

PENNCREST 5, GARNET VALLEY 2: Penncrest’s Rob Brown weathered allowing 11 hits and issuing four walks to strand 12 Jaguars in a complete-game win.

Nate Sides turned in a 2-for-4 day with a run and an RBI for Penncrest (4-3, 4-3), which benefited from four Garnet Valley errors.

Jeff Shanfeldt doubled for GV (2-5, 2-4).

CONESTOGA 3, STRATH HAVEN 1: Ashton Raines gave up three unearned runs in five innings pitched, and he hit an RBI double to drive in James Kantner (two hits), but the Panthers fell.

Tim Miller got the win thanks to five innings of four-hit ball, plus he drove in two runs for Conestoga.

LOWER MERION 3, RADNOR 2: Sean Corelli’s third hit of the day was a seventh-inning RBI double that brought the Raiders to within a run, but Radnor (3-4, 2-3) couldn’t push across the tying run despite having runners on second and third with none out in the seventh.

HARRITON 13, RIDLEY 2: Michael Naumann collected two hits, but the Green Raiders never recovered from a six-spot hung in the first inning.

In the Catholic League:

ARCHBISHOP CARROLL 10, CARDINAL O’HARA 9: Sean McMoran’s walk-off walk ended a wild affair between local rivals.

Cardinal O’Hara, which had led 6-0 behind a Nick Newman three-run home run, needed three in the top of the seventh to retake the lead, powered by RBIs from Seamus McCaffrey and Chris Fusaro and punctuated by a Bobby Lukaszewski RBI single.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Patriots’ JJ Cicala hit a single to drive in Max Frederick, his fourth RBI of the game, before McMoran worked his bases-loaded free pass.

FATHER JUDGE 2, BONNER-PRENDERGAST 0: Christian DiGalbo collected two of Bonner-Prendie’s five hits, and Dan Goggin limited Judge to just three hits, but the Friars (5-4, 2-3) couldn’t get the win.

In the Tri-State Christian Conference:

KING’S CHRISTIAN 13, CHRISTIAN ACADEMY 2: Nick Scotts broke up the no-hitter in the fifth inning, and TCA pitchers issued 14 walks in the defeat.