NORTHAMPTON – When Council Rock South lost last week to Suburban One National League (SONL) leader Neshaminy 3-2 in extra innings, Hawks head coach Ted Kirner refused to dwell on the one that got away.
“There’s a reason why the windshield is bigger than the rear view mirror,” said Kirner. “You can’t look back on these losses and we just have to keep moving forward.
“And we’re going to do that tomorrow against Abington.
South did manage to get past the Ghosts in a 5-2 victory that pushed the Hawks to 4-3 in the SONL. On Tuesday (May 2) on their home field, it took an extra inning but they got an even bigger win, nipping sister school CR North 2-1 in walkoff fashion.
The game was tied at 1-all in regulation after Cavan Tully’s RBI hit for the Indians in the top of the seventh. In the bottom of the eighth, South shortstop Matt Smith (2-for-4) singled to right field and took second on a wild pitch. Center fielder Eric Jeronis, got the game-winning hit, slapping a 2-2 pitch from CR North senior Joe Preciado to right field to score Smith.
For the Hawks, the win ended a losing streak vs. North that went back to 2015 and helped ease the sting of a 10-0 loss suffered at the hand of the Indians earlier in the season, though none of that seemed to matter to South’s head coach.
“We’re not playing for tomorrow; we’re playing for today,” said Kirner. “That’s our mantra moving forward – win the next game.”
Hawks first baseman John Crane had a big day with the bat, hitting 3-for-4 with an RBI double that gave South its first lead in the third inning. On the hill, starter Brendan Carter tossed five shutout innings, allowing one hit while striking out six batters before yielding the ball to senior southpaw Zach Mayer, who got the win.
A big junior righthander for the Hawks, Carter limited Neshaminy to a single run in the first five innings on April 27, exiting in the sixth after a walk, two wild pitches and a balk tied the game at 2-all. The Skins won the game in the eighth after an RBI single by Jerry Scavone scored Brian Nicolas from third base.
South had blown a 2-0 lead it mounted on an RBI single by Jeronis in the second inning and a run scored when Josh Kim was hit by a pitch with the sacks jammed in the fourth frame.
“The bottom line is we need to win that game,” said Kirner. “There’s no way around it; you have a 2-0 lead – you have to protect the lead and you have to keep tacking on.
“And we didn’t and they fought back.”
The Hawks stranded seven baserunners in the contest including six in the second, third and fourth innings, combined.
“You give us a clutch hit when we loaded the bases in the third inning and it’s a different ballgame,” said Kirner. “It’s been the story of our season so far.
“It seems like we’re waiting for somebody else to do it and we’re just not going out and doing it.”
CR South senior third baseman Josh Kim – who is headed to Villanova Baseball – liked the way his team competed against Neshaminy.
“Even though it was a tough game to lose, it was a good game – a classic game of baseball,” said Kim.
“A lot of games this year, we’ve beaten ourselves. I feel like this game, we played together and they actually beat us this time instead of us giving it away.”
The Hawks had a pair of runners picked off the basepaths after drawing walks – in the second inning and again in the sixth. In the fifth, the Skins saw Owen Foraker cut down at second base. Cory Joyce followed with a single and Kim says he mishandled a surefire doubleplay ball hit to him by Anthony Rapposelli. Joyce wound up scoring on Ben Raab’s pinch-hit single to right, giving Neshaminy half the runs it needed to send the battle to extras.
“That would have been an easy 5-4-3 doubleplay but I bobbled the ball and I couldn’t get the man at second so I just got the out at first,” said Kim. “That man at second (Joyce) wound up scoring.
“That really hurt us.”
Mistakes aside, Kirner says that South has put a lot of pressure on itself to win this season after a 2-12 campaign in the SONL last year.
“A lot of our guys were putting a lot of pressure on themselves early in the season,” said Kirner. “Now, you’re starting to see us actually play.
“We’re playing a little bit more fearlessly which is good. We’re forcing the other team to make plays,” the coach said.
“If we’re going to make a run at this thing, we’re going to have to figure it out.
“It’s all positives moving forward.”
Next up is SONL rival Harry S Truman Thursday, May 4 at home. Significant games loom on the horizon for the Hawks including North Penn (May 8 at home), Pennsbury (May 10 at PHS) and Bensalem.
The battle against the Knights counts toward the District 1 standings and North Penn won the first one, 7-1. The Falcons also outpaced CR South 4-3 in a nine-inning battle that took place in April.
South will take on CR North in an exhibition game 7 p.m. Saturday at Arm & Hammer Park in Trenton. Pennsbury takes on Holy Ghost Prep at the same venue at 3:30.
NOTES: Former Council Rock South baseball standout Billy Fleming was called up to Triple A Scranton/Wilkes Barre on April 27. In his debut at second base for the RailRiders the next night at PNC Field in Moosic, Pennsylvania, Fleming did not disappoint, stroking a double and scoring on another two-bagger by catcher Eddy Rodriguez, helping Scranton to a 6-3 comeback victory over the Indianapolis Indians. He also hit a home run in an 11-7 loss to the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs May 2 at Coca Cola Park in Allentown. South senior lefthanded pitcher Zach Mayer will attempt to walk on at Penn State.
TOP PHOTO: Council Rock South junior righthander Brendan Carter pitches for the Golden Hawks. (Steve Sherman – 21st-Century Media)