NEWTOWN SQUARE >> The last time The Haverford School and Episcopal Academy met on a baseball field, the Fords’ bats went missing. They mustered only four hits on the way to a four-run loss.
The Fords were determined not to let it happen again.
Tuesday afternoon at EA’s Stone Field, Haverford avenged its early-season setback against its biggest rival … and did so by stinging the baseball, over and again.
Fourteen hits, including three apiece by Dave Hogarth, Bryan Hyland and Justin Meyer, paved the way for a 13-5 Haverford victory.
The win gets the Fords (13-9 overall, 3-4) closer to the .500 mark in the ultra-competitive Inter-Ac League, while the Churchmen (10-10, 3-4), who defeated Daily Times Super 7 No. 1 Archbishop Carroll last week, suffered their third consecutive Inter-Ac loss.
Tyler Dunbar battled through five-plus innings to get the victory. The Elizabethtown recruit and senior right-hander gave up five runs — all unearned — on six hits while striking out seven. The Fords were able to overcome seven errors on the afternoon.
“Obviously we want to win every Inter-Ac game, but there’s always that extra motivation, not only because they beat us the first time, but it’s EA. We have a special rivalry,” Dunbar said. “I worked with (catcher) Bryan (Hyland) behind the plate, working backwards, to where they don’t think we’re going to throw it. We were mixing pitches and location, up, down and inside, doing whatever we could to keep them guessing.”
Haverford busted what had been a back-and-forth game wide open with a six-run outburst in the top of the sixth. The clutch knocks came from the Cornell-bound Hyland, a lefty with a sweet swing, and outfielder Calvin Costner. Behind in the count 1-2, and facing a tough southpaw in reliever James Silvi, Hyland let the ball travel deep before taking it the other way. The ball flew off his bat as it split the gap in left-center for a triple that plated three runs to give Haverford a 10-5 advantage.
“The beginning of the game didn’t treat us too well,” said Hyland, who went 3-for-4 with a triple, double, walk, four RBIs and three runs scored. “But we all met together as a team between innings, two or three times, and kept telling each other that we have to stay together as a unit and keep playing hard. We really wanted to beat these guys. They beat us the first time and we weren’t going to get swept by Episcopal Academy this year. We grinded out good at-bats, worked walks, got hit by pitches and guys just did their jobs. Get them over, get them in.
“Earlier in the game, the first time he (Silvi) was in, he struck me out. So I didn’t want that to happen again. We had runners in scoring position, so I went up there just looking to put a ball in play. He threw me some good pitches, but he left one up and I made him pay for it.”
Costner then laced a bases-clearing double to put the game out reach. Zak Summy relieved Dunbar with one out in the fifth to pick up the two-inning save.
“At this time of the year, we’re coming around against these teams a second time through. We see good arms every time,” Haverford coach Bob Castell
said. “But as poorly as we played defensively, we were up two (runs) and then down one. We couldn’t play much worse, but to only be down one (going into fifth inning), we were very fortunate. We know we can swing the bats a little bit and the kids came out and picked each other up. We had errors, but the kids knew that they would have to win it (with their bats). We lean heavily on our seniors to pick us up and they’ve been able to do it.”hit the first of his three doubles in the first inning, driving home a pair of runs to put Haverford School ahead, 2-0. EA benefitted from three Haverford miscues in the third to even the score, 2-2. The Fords added single runs in the third and fourth to take a 4-2 lead, but it didn’t last. After a Jack O’Reilly sacrifice fly trimmed Haverford’s lead to one, another Fords error enabled the Churchmen to score two runs and take a 5-4 lead. In the top of the fifth, Meyer doubled and came around to score the tying run on a single by Logan Keller. Hyland put Haverford in the lead for good with a run-scoring single in the sixth inning.
“We struggled early and I feel like we’re starting to get better. This is our third win in a row, and I feel as though we’re starting to reach our peak,” Dunbar said. “Usually come May, we start to get hot and hopefully that’ll happen again this year so we can be ready for the state tournament.”
Kyle Virbitsky was the hot hitter for Episcopal, going 3 for 4, including a double.
In the Bicentennial League:
Christian Academy 4, Phil-Mont Christian 3 >> Jake Sitkowski delivered the go-ahead RBI double in the top of the eighth to snap a 1-1 deadlock. Sitkowski, who earned the win in relief, later scored on an RBI groundout by Luke Sareyka. Micah Johnson added an RBI single for the Crusaders, who won for the first time this season.
TCA (1-9, 1-8) starter Joe Griffith pitched 6 2/3 innings with six strikeouts and no earned runs.
Morrisville 6, Delco Christian 1 >> Five unearned runs in the seventh doomed the Knights and spoiled a strong outing by Tyler Rossini, who scattered three hits and struck out nine over 5 2/3 innings. Cody Moorhatch singled home Nate Carroll — who doubled — for DC’s only run.
In the Del Val League:
Chichester 16, Chester 0 >> Hunter Killien had a double and three RBIs while Nick Jones collected two hits, including a triple, and a pair of RBIs. Aaron Smith pitched the three-inning shutout for Chi (10-3, 9-1).
Interboro 5, Academy Park 0 >> Brandon Weldon pitched a four-hit shutout and was 3-for-3 with a double to lead the Bucs. Chris Thomas had two hits for AP.
Top photo: Haverford School catcher Bryan Hyland leaps high in the air to pull down a high relay throw to home plate, then applies the tag on Episcopal Academy’s Kyle Virbitsky in fourth inning of Thursday’s Inter-Ac League game. Hyland was one of three Haverford players with three hits to lead a 13-5 victory. (PETE BANNAN – DIGITAL FIRST MEDIA).