UPPER MORELAND >> Hatboro-Horsham didn’t score a run for 17 1/3 innings against Upper Moreland this season.
But when the Hatters finally did get on the board, it was enough to earn them a key Suburban One League American Conference win Tuesday afternoon.
Senior Eddie Schultz hit a two-run home run in the top of the 11th inning to lift the Hatters to a 2-0 win at Upper Moreland High School and avenge a loss by the same score in April.
The Hatters (9-4, 7-2 SOL American) managed just two hits — neither leaving the infield — in the first 10 innings. Jake Bianchini started the 11th inning with a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Ryan Long grounded out to first and Bianchini moved to third with one out.
“That changes (Schultz’s) at-bat,” Hatboro coach Pete Moore said of the plays before the home run. “Now he’s on third rather than second, so Eddie is going to see some different pitches. He’s going to have a different mentality at the plate and he knows with a man on third and less than two outs his job is to elevate the ball. I think because we had a possible squeeze situation, that’s why they went fastball high there.”
Schultz definitely elevated the ball. He broke the scoreless tie by crushing a pitch through strong winds and over the fence in right-center field.
“I was really just trying to score the run and get my team the lead,” Schultz said. “I was hoping for a sac fly and once the ball went up in the air that’s what I thought I did. I saw my first-base coach … screaming, ‘get going’ and I was trying to get on third. Next thing I know the umpire is waving his finger in the air.”
“That’s a tough one,” Upper Moreland coach Dan Heiland said. “It’s a tough one to swallow there. We battled the whole game. (Schultz) put a great swing on the ball. (Pitcher) Tommy (Jacob) made a great pitch, I thought. The kid just had a better swing on it. That’s the outcome of the game right there.”
Shaun Thomas added another hit for the Hatters, but was stranded at first base and the lead was 2-0 heading to the home half of the inning.
Upper Moreland’s Ryan Lowry opened the bottom of the 11th with a walk, but Hatboro pitcher Alex Krim was able to get a strikeout and force a fielder’s choice to get two outs.
Brandon Kohn — who reached on the fielder’s choice — took second and third when Hatboro allowed him to and Kevin Walder walked to put runners on the corners and the winning run at the plate.
Krim got Tommy Jacob to pop up to the catcher on the first pitch to end the game.
Krim earned the win after throwing three innings of one-hit baseball. He struck out five batters to two walks.
Colin Kennedy started for the Hatters and did not get a decision. He allowed just two hits over eight scoreless innings. He struck out nine batters and walked two.
His starting counterpart — Kohn — also threw a gem without getting a decision. He struck out seven batters and walked five over five scoreless innings. The Golden Bears (9-4, 7-2 SOL American) defense made three errors behind Kohn in the first three innings and he left the bases loaded in the first and third innings and runners on second and third in the second inning.
“Some errors happened and (Kohn) walked a couple guys,” Heiland said. “But when that happened we got out of it. He stayed focused. He came in and talked to the guys. He told them to keep their heads up, to get the next one. He wasn’t yelling at them. He’s a leader. The guys respect him for that and that’s why they kept playing their butts off for him.”
Jacob took the loss for Upper Moreland. He threw a complete game, three-hit shutout in the win over Hatboro last month. Tuesday, he gave up two runs on three hits over six innings. He struck out four batters and walked two.
“We just didn’t hit the ball today,” Heiland said after his team managed three hits. “It’s tough to win games when you don’t hit the ball.”
The win keeps Hatboro-Horsham one game behind Quakertown, which beat Upper Dublin Tuesday, in the SOL American standings.
“We’re competing for a championship,” Moore said. “We want to win the American and we had to win today in order to give ourselves a chance to go into Quakertown on Thursday and if we can knock them off then we’ll be tied in the loss category. That’s what we’re looking for.”
“We’re on a roll now,” Schultz said. “With this group of guys, once we get going we don’t stop. I couldn’t ask for a better group. I’m very excited for Quakertown Thursday.”
Upper Moreland drops a game behind Hatboro for second place and two games behind Quakertown for the SOL American lead. The Golden Bears host Cheltenham Friday for Senior Night but will not have either of their stud pitchers — Kohn or Jacob — available after they each threw 100 pitches Tuesday and are required three days rest.
“It’s a little difficult,” Heiland said of the pitching situation. “We’ve got Dawson Ruggles and we’ve got a bunch of relief pitchers that I feel confident throwing out there at any point during the season. The reason we threw Tommy today was with how he pitched against them last time and we really wanted this one. For me, it was worth losing him and Brandon. We only have one other game this week. I think the guys I have — my bullpen and whatnot — will do just fine.”
Hatboro-Horsham 2, Upper Moreland 0 (11)
Hatboro-Horsham 000 000 000 02 — 2
Upper Moreland 000 000 000 00 — 2
WP: Alex Crim 3 IP 5 K 2 BB 1 H 0 R 0 ER
LP: Tommy Jacob 6 IP 4 K 3 BB 3 H 2 R 2 ER
2B: UM: Brandon Kohn.
HR: HH: Eddie Schultz.