ASTON – The magic just keeps on keeping on for the Pennsbury baseball team.
Three days after belting a sac-fly to score Tyrone Hodges Jr. in the 11th inning of the Falcons’ PIAA-opening win over District 11 runnerup Parkland, Pennsbury senior Ryan McCarty completely shut down D1 fourth-place finisher Perkiomen Valley in today’s 3-0 quarterfinal win over the Vikings.
McCarty (3-0), who was not even in the opening day rotation, tossed a complete game three-hitter, helping the Falcons to Monday’s state semifinal against either District 11 champion Liberty, an 8-0 winner over D12 champ Frankford.
McCarty went six innings in the D1 championship win over North Penn, pitched six innings in the miracle comeback win over Downingtown East, broke up a no-hitter that the DE pitcher took to the seventh inning then crushed the winning hit for the 5-4 walkoff triumph over the Cougars before completely stifling Perk Valley in today’s PIAA quarterfinal.
“Perk Valley hit the ball hard today,” said Pennsbury head coach Joe Pesci. “But Ryan is that kid that says ‘you’re not going to do it again. I made a mistake, you hit it hard,’ but he was able to come back and get kids out.”
Though seven runners reached base for the Vikings, McCarty faced just 26 batters. That’s because the Falcons picked three PV players off the basepaths, starting with centerfielder Mark Ott, who was caught trying to steal second base in the second inning. Senior Ryan McCourt was caught in a rundown between second and third base in the third inning and shortstop Anthony D’Abbene was picked off second base by McCarty in the sixth.
“It’s huge when they get a runner on second and we can pick them off,” explained Pennsbury leadoff hitter Tyrone Hodges Jr. “It keeps the momentum on our side.
“We only scored three runs so taking a runner off the basepaths for them is huge.”
Conversely, the Falcons – who only got six hits, all of which were singles – manufactured all three of their runs, starting with Hodges in the first inning. The leadoff hitter reached base on an error at short, went to second on a sac-bunt by second baseman Billy Bethel and scored on Dave Murphy’s single in the gap past second base.
The other two runs scored by Pennsbury came from their opponents’ inability to pick runners off the bases.
In the fifth inning, catcher Josh Tesarck reached on a one-out single to right field, then pinch-runner Jake Martell made it all the way to third after PV catcher Matt Szczesny fired the ball into right field in a pickoff attempt from home plate.
Martell scored a much-needed insurance run when Vikings lefthander Mike Gama was called for a balk, putting the Falcons up, 2-0.
Hodges scored his second run of the game in the seventh in similar fashion, reaching on a two-out single to right field, going to third on an errant pickoff attempt at first base by relief pitcher Jamie Glass then scoring on Bethel’s smash off the glove of PV third baseman Dylan Boyd.
“Even though we didn’t score a lot of runs, we were getting to their pitcher, we were getting guys on base and we were hitting the ball hard,” stated Pesci.
“We got runs when we needed them, we put pressure on their defense and we ran the bases well.
“Three runs? It doesn’t seem like a lot but if you look at the game, we controlled them defensively with our fielding and the pickoffs.”
“You only need one to win and we’re happy to move on.”
For the game, Murphy – the designated hitter – led the Falcon offense, reaching base in all three at bats including two singles, an RBI and a walk.
“He’s getting hot at the right time,” said Hodges. “If I get on or anybody gets on before him, I have full confidence that he’ll come up and do whatever he has to do to get the run in.
“He’s a big powerful guy so all he has to do is make contact and he’ll hit the ball hard somewhere.”
Murphy had one of the ribbies in the state opening 2-1 victory over Parkalnd.
And we already said McCarty had the other.
The magic continues.
NOTES: Only one baserunner made it to third base for the Vikings and that was junior Brock Helverson, who reached base with a leadoff single in the fifth inning.
TOP PHOTO: Pennsbury senior righthander Ryan McCarty tossed a complete game for the Falcons in Thursday’s PIAA Quarterfinal win over Perk Valley. (Steve Sherman – 21st-Century Media)
PIAA Class 6A Quarterfinal
Pennsbury 3, Perk Valley 0
PENNSBURY (20-6) 100 010 1 – 7 5 4
PERK VALLEY (16-9) 000 000 0 – 0 3 1
WP: Ryan McCarty (3-0) 7IP 0R, 3H 1BB, 1SO, 0HB; LP: Mike Gama 6IP, 2R, 4H, 2BB, 2SO, 1HB.
MULTIPLE HITS: P – Dave Murphy 2-for-2; PV – none.
RBI: P – Murphy, Billy Bethel; PV – none.