SPRINGFIELD TWP. >> Colton Kubicki wasn’t exactly surprised to see the batter before him in the West York lineup, Zach Gettys, intentionally walked to load the bases in the sixth inning Monday afternoon.
But that didn’t lessen his desire to inflict a little punishment on Bonner & Prendergast for the perceived — albeit, by the book, correct — decision.
“I get pretty excited because you can turn it into a big mistake,” Kubicki said. “… You’ve got to make them pay for it.”
Kubicki obliged with a run-scoring walk, pushing across the go-ahead run and triggering a five-run outburst as the Bulldogs topped the Friars, 7-3, in the first round of the PIAA Class 4A baseball tournament at La Salle College High School.
Kubicki paired his bases-full walk with a pair of RBI singles. But they were certainly a quieter contribution than Gettys’, hence the decision by the Bonner bench.
It’s a booted grounder but it gets the job done. Pinch runner Nick McDonald scores. 2-2. pic.twitter.com/XrXs9qWZaI
— Matthew De George (@sportsdoctormd) June 5, 2017
The math, as it has been most of the season for the third seed from District 3, is pretty simple for West York (14-11). The Bulldogs scored in three innings; the leadoff man Gettys, who tripled twice, supplied a run to each rally.
“I knew they made a mistake when they walked me and let him hit,” Gettys said of Kubicki. “I knew they shouldn’t do that. He’s doing really good now. He started slow in the beginning of the year but he’s starting to rake now.”
“He’s a great hitter,” Kubicki said. “He’s almost batting .500. The main key out there is confidence, and I have confidence in our whole entire team, especially knowing that he’ll get on base the good majority of the time. The major key is just confidence. Once he gets on, I feel confident.”
The calculations are even more robust on the mound — Gettys’ performance improved his season record to 10-0; without him, West York wouldn’t have made the District 3 tournament, much less states.
It took an entire turn of the lineup for the District 12 champion Friars (9-14) to get anything going, though they showed the resilience to twice recover from one-run deficits.
Evan Raiburn walked to lead off the fourth, the Friars’ first baserunner of the game, and scored on Tim Dougherty’s RBI single to center to knot the game at 1.
When West York surged back again, Raiburn drove in pinch-runner Nick McDonald in the fifth after Pat Lord was hit by a pitch. Raiburn doubled and scored on a Dom Dellabarba sac fly in the seventh for a consolation tally.
In between that smattering of offense, though, the Friars couldn’t get the pitching right, including the disastrous, three-pitcher sixth. Eli Chase, who retired three straight to escape a jam inherited from starter Matt Scanlon in the fifth, didn’t record an out in the sixth, starting with a single by Zion Neuman and a walk.
In stepped Kevin Zimmerman to add gas to the fire. He intentionally passed Gettys, then threw four balls quite unintentionally past Kubicki. Justin Wetzel followed with a two-run double down the right-field line to bust the game open.
Zimmerman likewise exited without recording an out, and Raiburn didn’t fare better at first, greeted by Anthony Kahley’s RBI single that permitted a second runner to score via a misplay in the outfield.
“Once we get rolling, we get rolling,” Kubicki said. “We have big innings, and it puts the other team down. Lack of confidence creates errors or just keeps their heads down. Whenever our heads are up, their heads are down.”
That was more than enough support for Gettys, who admitted he wasn’t at his best. He still worked 5 2/3 innings, scattering four hits and striking out five against one walk.
“It takes a lot of weight off my shoulders,” Gettys said of the belated run support. “I didn’t have the velo. I was probably four or five miles an hour slower than I normally was. It was hard.”
Kubicki provided RBI singles in the first and fifth innings, each driving home Gettys after he legged out triples. Kubicki also supplied solid defense in center field, chasing down what few balls Bonner could coax out of the infield.
The centrality of those two stars in West York’s win exacerbates the sting of defeat, Raiburn said.
“A little bit,” he said. “I know Scanlon did good, he pitched well. … They just played better than us today.”
The pain is two-fold for Bonner. While returning to states — for the first time since 2013, when they lost to West York at La Salle again — is a boon, the sub-.500 record is a rarity in the long and accomplished history of coach Joe DeBarberie’s tenure. And while a senior-laden group was undeniably disappointed to see the run end, the battle they put forth in twice recouping deficits is an encouraging note to salvage.
“Heart is a big thing,” Raiburn said. “Coach DeBar said it at the end in our meeting, always keep that heart with you, even when you’re leaving here.”