UPPER DUBLIN >> It’s been three years since Springfield senior Nole Franczyk bunted in a game.
When he stepped to the plate in the top of the fifth inning of a tie game against Upper Dublin, he saw something that he’s never seen before — a shift. Upper Dublin moved its third baseman to shallow right field to help defend the left-handed Franczyk.
Franczyk, with Will Jamison on first and no outs, got the sign from his coach and laid a perfect bunt down the third base line. The pitcher fielded it and threw to first late and Jamison headed to third. Upper Dublin’s throw back across the diamond went out of play, scoring Jamison and advancing Franczyk to third.
Tim Dahme followed with an RBI single, which turned out to be the game-winning run in a 3-2 Suburban One League American Conference matchup at Upper Dublin High School.
“In practice (the coaches) enforce how important a bunt is,” Franczyk said. “Just getting it down — we do a lot of squeeze stuff. I know how to bunt but hitting three-hole they don’t really have me bunt a lot. (Upper Dublin) did the shift so it made sense … It was a pretty nice bunt so I can’t complain.”
“We were taking a look at Franczyk being a lefty,” Upper Dublin coach Ed Wall said. “The scouting report on him was straight up pull, barely anything to the other side. I thought we’d be athletic enough on that side and he would have to get it down perfectly and he did. He put it right there on the line. He had to get it there and he did. Hats off to him executing that. I was just trying to take a chance and take an opportunity away. It was a poor decision on my part. In hindsight, I’d probably call timeout if I had to do it all over again.”
The Cardinals cut their deficit in half in the bottom of the fifth inning. Tommy Reilly doubled and scored on a wild pitch, but 3-2 was as close as the defending league champions would get.
Franczyk pitched six innings of two-run ball for Springfield. He struck out three batters to two walks and allowed seven hits.
“I located really well today,” he said. “My fastball — obviously I don’t throw that hard but if I get everything working — my changeup was doing well, my curveball — that’s what I’ve been leaning on. My curveball has been working well. Other than that it was just my location — moving it in and out and keeping them off balance — that’s what I try to do. It worked.”
Dahme picked up the save with a perfect seventh inning against the Cardinals 1-2-3 hitters.
Upper Dublin (3-4, 2-3) stranded runners on second in the first, second and sixth innings and left a runner on third in the fifth.
“We’ve been hurting for runs,” Wall said. “It’s been tough. We haven’t scored more than three in all of our league play and beyond — maybe Neshaminy we might have scored five. It’s been tough. We get some guys on, get them in scoring position, we just can’t get them in. We’re battling. Our at-bats are improving and the quality of swings are getting better, but getting them in has been the tough part.”
Reilly threw a complete game for the Cardinals. He surrendered three runs on nine hits. He struck out four batters and walked three.
“I couldn’t be happier with him,” Wall said. “Thank goodness he did the job that he did. This is a tough one for me to handle, but thankfully you can take a look at him and be really proud of his effort and the job that he did.”
Springfield took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Jackson Pauwels reached on an error and scored on a two-out Dahme single.
Upper Dublin answered right back in the bottom of the first. Reilly singled with one out, stole second, reached third on a wild pitch and scored on a JT Breslin single.
The Spartans are climbing the SOL American Conference standings. They are 6-2 overall and 3-2 in league play.
“We just have to keep the ball rolling, that’s our slogan this year — we have to keep the ball rolling,” Franczyk said. “We have a nice senior base here and we just have to keep everything going. We all know each other really well and I like what we have here, figure we’re going to do alright this year.”
Getting defensive >> Both centerfielders made beautiful diving catches in nearly the exact same spot. Springfield’s Robert Pemberlis laid out to make a catch in left centerfield in the bottom of the second inning and Breslin matched him in the top of the sixth.
Springfield 3, Upper Dublin 2
Springfield 100 020 0 — 3
Upper Dublin 100 010 0 — 2
WP: Franczyk 6 IP 3 K 2 BB 7 H 2 R
LP: Reilly 7 IP 4 K 3 BB 9 H 3 R
S: Dahme 1 IP 1 K 0 BB 0 H 0 R
2B: UD: Reilly.