JENKINTOWN >> So far this season, there have been few things to separate Jenkintown and Plumstead Christian in the standings.
That was also the case Thursday, as the two teams tied atop the Bicentennial Athletic League Constitution standings faced off in a divisional matchup. Unfortunately for the Drakes, it was the hot-hitting Plumstead offense that ended up being the difference as the Panthers won 8-6 and took sole possession of first place.
“It was a game where it just came down to big hearts wanting to win and we showed that a little bit here,” said Plumstead Christian head coach Bill Weaver. “There were a few unforced errors early on in the game but on this day we were able to come out and get a win.”
The offensive output started in the very first inning for the Panthers.
Following a ball that got caught in the sun and dropped for a single, they managed to rip three straight hits off Jenkintown starting pitcher Michael DiValentino. That included a long tipple from Christian Roberts, who finished the day 3-for-5 with an RBI, and before the Drakes even got a chance to come up to bat they found themselves down 4-0.
“I don’t think this was our best game at all,” said Jenkintown head coach George Vafiadis. ‘We made some mistakes and they were able to really hit the ball well and that hurt us.”
Jenkintown needed baserunners to try and get back into the game, and luckily for the Drakes, Plumstead Christian starter Austin Pfaff was having some control issues that they could take advantage of.
After leadoff hitter Alec Griffin was hit by a pitch and two-hole hitter Jake McGrath reached on an error, Steven Kozlowski came up and drove them both in with a single to bring the score to 4-2 as they got ready for the second inning.
The Drakes spent much of the rest of the game just chipping away at the lead and were eventually successful.
Two more runs in the third and a go-ahead run in the fourth and all of a sudden this was Jenkintown’s game.
Not to mention, after DiValentino was pulled following just two innings of work, the Drakes found themselves a pitcher that seemed to be confusing Plumstead hitters in Patrick Morrin.
Everything looked good for the Drakes as they got ready for the last two innings but the wheels would eventually come off.
In the sixth, with Jenkintown clinging to that 5-4 lead, Morrin allowed seven straight batters to reach base which accounted for four runs and what once was a 5-4 lead was now a 8-5 deficit that was too steep for them to climb.
“He’s still a young pitcher and I think that he could have probably done a little bit of a better job of getting them to hit his pitch,” said Vafiadis. “He had looked great to that point but they really hit the ball today and eventually got to him, but he’ll grow as a pitcher and he’ll be OK.”
This wasn’t the last time these two teams will face each other. As a matter of fact, Monday they square off again which presents the Drakes a rare opportunity to quickly take back their place atop the BAL Constitution standings, a chance their coach says they are definitely ready for.
“We’ll see them again Monday and we’ll give them our best,” said Vafiadas. “I think if we do that and make sure we don’t give them any freebies with walks and hit batters we’ll be okay when we face them again.”
Plumstead Christian 8, Jenkintown 6
Plumstead Christian 400 004 0 – 8 12 3
Jenkintown 202 100 1 – 6 4 2
WP: Brock Hewitt (5IP, 2R, 1ER, 2H, 5K, 3BB, 1HBP).
LP: Patrick Morrin (3.2IP, 4R, 4ER, 5H, 2K, 2BB, 2HBP).
2B: Brendan Meyer (PC); 3B: Christian Roberts (PC).