UPPER MORELAND >> Sometimes, as a hitter, you’re just locked in at the plate. No matter what the pitcher throws, or where the ball is, you know you’re going to get good contact on it and drive it.
Monday afternoon, that was the case for Wissahickon’s Matt Shilling as he guided his team to a 5-1 in over Suburban One League American Conference foe Upper Moreland.
“Matty (Shilling) had a day,” said Wissahickon head coach John Bernhardt. “He (Shilling) has been so consistent for us and just working good at bats. We just had a good game plan for this one and I talked to the guys about having good at-bats and if a ball’s there to square up and Matty (Shilling) took to it.’’
Shilling was basically unstoppable all game long. He finished 3-for-3 with a double, a walk, three RBIs, and a mammoth home run he sent the opposite way in the first inning.
After Alex Tappen worked a walk off of Upper Moreland starter Brandon Kohn, Shilling stepped to the plate, worked the count full, and unloaded on a fastball up in the zone.
“I was just trying to grind out my at-bat in the first and stay alive,’’ said Shilling. “Off the bat I honestly thought it was a pop-up and it just kept carrying out over the fence.’’
Shilling finished just a triple shy of the cycle and made some incredible plays in the field as well to backup his own starting pitcher Logan Willans.
If anyone’s on performance could hold a candle to what Shilling did at the plate, it was what Willans was able to do on the mound.
The Trojans’ ace pitched 6 2/3 innings and allowed just one run on three hits while striking out five. He admittedly didn’t have his best stuff, but he was able to grind against hitters and pitch to contact to force outs and keep his team ahead.
He didn’t have his full complement of pitches to work from but he was as effective as always at getting batters out and pounding the zone.
“Logan came out and just pitched his butt off,’ said Bernhardt. “He’s been our ace for four years for a reason. He didn’t have his best stuff necessarily today and still goes out there for 6 2/3 innings and puts us in a spot to win a big ball game.’’
Upper Moreland also had their ace taking the mound with Kohn getting the start, but that first inning home run and some command issues as the game went on would be he undoing.
He only allowed two hits to batters not named Matt Shilling, but unfortunately those were the hits that mattered most as they accounted for three RBIs and ended up being the difference in the game.
It didn’t help either that the Golden Bears couldn’t seem to figure out Willans.
Every time a batter would get on with a walk or a single they would end up squandering the opportunity. They did eventually break through in the seventh, with an RBI double from Tom Jacob but it was just too little too late.
“We just got outplayed,’ ‘said Upper Moreland head coach Dan Heiland. ‘‘We couldn’t really even get guys on base because Willans was just throwing strikes. All the credit goes to him, he pitched outstanding and we’re a patient team and our guys were out there taking strikes and could never get back in it after the first.’’
Wissahickon 5, Upper Moreland 1
Wissahickon 2 0 0 0 2 1 0 – 5 9 0
Upper Moreland 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 – 1 4 0
WP: Logan Willans (6.2IP, 1R, 1ER, 4H, 5K, 3BB, 1HBP).
LP: Brandon Kohn (5.0IP, 4R, 4ER, 4H, 7K, 4BB, 0HBP).
2B: Matt Shilling (W), Steven Loden (W), Dawson Ruggles (UM), Tom Jacob (UM)
HR: Matt Shilling (W)Multiple Hits: Matt Shilling (W) 3-for-3, 3RBI; Steven Loden (W) 2-for4; Eddie Fortescue (W) 2-for-3.
Top Photo: Wissahickon’s Logan Willans throws one to the plate Monday against Upper Moreland during their game on Monday, April 24, 2017. (Debby High/For Digital First Media)