HORSHAM >> Hatboro-Horsham senior pitcher Brian Edgington has turned in a fantastic season so far.
The St. Joseph’s recruit has been so good, throwing a complete game in all five of his starts, that it’s almost a stunner when he gives up a run. So that’s why Hatters coach Pete Moore was so surprised in the first inning Wednesday when visiting Cheltenham put up a run on “Edge.”
Even on a day when he wasn’t as his sharpest, Edgington was still too much for the Panthers, shutting Cheltenham down as the Hatters rallied right back and picked up a workman-like 6-1 win.
“He’s so good,” Moore said. “He’s had five games started and five complete games and with the new pitch count rules, it didn’t seem like that was going to be the case. He’s been dominant all year and when they scored in the first inning it was hard to believe.”
Edgington struck out eight batters as he scattered six hits over seven innings and even aided his own cause with two RBI hits in the game. After Jack McHugh’s RBI single in the first put the Panthers up 1-0, Edgington was efficient and dominant.
Cheltenham got some guys on, but never seemed to threaten the right-hander. While Edgington was the first to say he wasn’t completely on his game Wednesday, he made the pitches he needed to and got some good defense behind him.
“In the first inning I was leaving my fastballs up a little bit,” Edgington said. “I was trying to make adjustments as the game went on. I wanted to bring it down and shoot more at the knees.”
Panthers pitcher Jacob Petrisko wasn’t able to stifle the Hatters the way Edgington did to his team, but the Panthers hurler certainly battled. Petrisko fought his way through six innings of work and worked out of a couple of jams as Hatboro-Horsham (8-4, 6-2 SOL American) continued to put men on base.
After going down, the Hatters were anxious to get a quick answer. After leadoff man Eddie Schultz worked a walk after going down 0-2, Shaun Thomas and Colin Kennedy singled to load the bags for Ryan O’Donnell. The third baseman cashed in by ripping a double to right field, scoring a pair of runs.
“Our goal whenever we’re playing is to get a shutdown inning,” Edgington said. “So when you score a run, you want to go back out in the field and put up a zero. That keeps adding up.”
Edgington hit a two-out infield single that scored Kennedy, making it 3-1 after one full inning. Between Edgington, Kennedy and Alex Crim, along with a handful of others, the Hatters have one of the more formidable pitching staffs around.
While Hatboro-Horsham is 8-4 after Wednesday’s win, the offense hasn’t hit its stride just yet. Moore was optimistic that was going to change soon, and he liked a lot about what his guys did to generate runs against Cheltenham.
The Hatters plated three more runs in the fourth inning, all of them coming with two outs. Drew Passerini started the scoring with an RBI double to score Kennedy then Ryan Long connected on an RBI single and Edgington launched an RBI double to left field for the final margin.
“It’s like taking a weight off their shoulders,” Moore said. “They can breathe a little bit, they can relax. There were a bunch of different guys throughout the lineup who were able to give us good at-bats today.”
It was another case of a good effort not coming to fruition for Cheltenham (1-10, 1-6 SOL American), which has battled but hasn’t seen the wins. The Panthers did claim a win over Wissahickon last week and have some veteran guys in the lineup, but it’s tough to win in the SOL American.
Still, coach Craig Stein can’t complain about his team’s effort and is hopeful the second half of league play will see his guys break through a little bit.
“We knew we had to jump on them early and with a good pitcher, that’s what you have to do,” Stein said. “We’ve had four extra-inning games. We’ve had close games against some really good teams, errors have hurt us a bit, but we’ve been able to get the hit that got us tied and into extra innings. We just haven’t been able to get over the top.”
The Hatters are new to the American this year and have adjusted well. Edgington said it’s impossible to look past any team in the conference but also thinks he and his teammates stack up with any other team.
Their pitching has proved that. Next up is getting the bats going and with warm weather moving in, it’s the right time to do it.
“It’s good baseball,” Moore said. “Day in and day out, you have to come out aggressive, minimize your mistakes, run the bases aggressively and have good pitching. We’re very lucky to have the arms we do at the top of our staff and we’re excited to keep coming out and competing.”
HATBORO-HORSHAM 6, CHELTENHAM 1
CHELTENHAM 100 000 0 – 1 6 2
HATBORO-HORSHAM 300 300 x – 6 9 1
WP: Brian Edgington. LP: Jacob Petrisko. SO-BB: HH – Edgington 8-1; C- Petrisko 5-3, Alex Haasz 0-0.
2B: Edington (HH), Ryan O’Donnell (HH), Drew Passerini (HH).