By DENNIS C. WAY
21st Century Media
SPRINGFIELD->>Malvern Prep hasn’t had the best start to its 2017 baseball season.
The Friars entered Saturday afternoon’s non-league contest against host La Salle having lost three games – all by walk-off.
They didn’t have to worry about that Saturday.
After falling behind by two runs after two innings, the visitors plated 10 unanswered runs to emerge with a 10-2 win and earn a morale-boosting victory.
“We had three walk-off losses in a row,” explained catcher Shane Muntz, who slugged a grand slam as part of a six-run fifth inning that removed any drama from the contest’s late innings. “We lost two on our North Carolina trip and then another one to Spring-Ford the other day.
“We won our Inter-Ac opener against Haverford, but I think we really needed this one to get back on track.”
The Friars’ track did not begin smoothly as the Explorers plated a pair of second-inning runs off Friars starter Tristan Corcoran.
Hunter McGarvey’s bunt single accounted for one, while Riley Monahan’s hard single to left plated the other.
But the Explorers would not threaten again.
Malvern got those two runs back in the top of the third, and kept going.
Vince Sposato’s leadoff double and four walks chased home a pair in the third, got an unearned run in the third and a single run in the fourth.
But the real damage came in the sixth when the Friars batted around plus three to score six runs and effectively end the game.
The key blow was Muntz’s grand slam, although Connor Offshack also doubled home a run.
That made things easy for Corcoran, who would ultimately go six innings, yielding just two runs and five hits.
“He was missing his spots early, but after the second inning he was terrific,” Muntz said of the sophomore hurler. “He really competed, and made things easy for our offense, holding (the La Salle offense) down until we were able to get our offense going.
“He’s only a sophomore, so he’s only going to get better.”
Meawhile, on the other side of the field, La Salle head coach Kyle Werman was contemplating what went wrong after the early lead.
“I got too aggressive and had a runner thrown out at third, and then we had two key injuries that cost us our shortstop (Eric Marasheski) and our third baseman (Andrew Cossetti), and I think they helped turn the game around.”
While in the other dugout Muntz was still smiling.
“Now we have to get going in the Inter-Ac,” the catcher said with a wide grin. “Every game in the Inter-Ac is like a playoff game.”
MALVERN PREP 10, LA SALLE 2
Malvern Prep 002 116 0 – 10
La Salle 020 000 0 – 2
WP – Tristan Corcoran
LP – Dan Karrash
2B – Vince Sposato (MP); Connor Offshack (MP); Joe Sortino (L)
HR – Shane Muntz (MP-GS)