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Dominant pitching, timely hitting lift Upper Dublin over Cheltenham

Upper Dublin's Sean Curran on the mound against Cheltenham on Monday, April 9, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

CHELTENHAM >> Upper Dublin pitchers Sean Curran and Elijah Peck combined to allow just one hit in a 3-2 Suburban One League American Conference win over Cheltenham Monday afternoon at Cheltenham High School.

Curran started and went three innings. He allowed one hit and two runs while striking out three batters and walking three.

Peck fanned five over four scoreless innings. He didn’t allow a hit and walked two.

“For a sophomore, starter, number three guy (Curran) coming in for us, it was a great game for him,” Upper Dublin coach Ed Wall said. “First outing as a varsity guy for him. It was really fun watching him pitch out there.

“Peck’s a junior and he’s been coming in here and there throughout the short season so far, just picking up quality outing after quality outing. The kid throws a lot of strikes, ball moves a ton and the speed differential is really tough to hang with.”

Upper Dublin’s Joey Monaghan steals second as Cheltenham’s David Katzenberg fields the throw during their game on Monday, April 9, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

Despite the dominant pitching effort, Cheltenham had a chance to win at the end. With one out and a runner on first, Peck got a routine groundball to third that could have been a game-ending double play. The ball got booted and the winning run was on first with one out.

“I don’t let it bother me,” Peck said of keeping his composure. “Keep doing what I’m doing.”

That’s what he did. Peck effectively mixed his fastball and slider to get the final two outs — a grounder back to himself and a grounder to third.

The win was Upper Dublin’s first of the season after starting 0-2 — with losses against SOL American rivals Quakertown and Plymouth Whitemarsh.

The Cardinals got their offense from Joey Monaghan and Garrett Breslin.

Monaghan singled to start the second inning and stole second. After a strikeout and groundout, Breslin knocked him home with a single to make it 1-0.

Cheltenham right fielder Lukas Nakkula dives for a foul ball during the Panthers’ game against Upper Dublin on Monday, April 9, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

Julian Gimble doubled to start the third and after a couple outs Riley Brink worked a walk. Monaghan plated both runners with a hard-hit single up the middle.

“We’ve been waiting for (those hits),” Wall said. “It’s one part of our play that we’ve known that we’ve been lacking so far this season. It was good to see us open up relaxed a little bit up there.”

The Panthers (3-2, 0-2) responded in the bottom of the third. Alex Bugg worked a one-out walk and Garrett Schmidt did the same with two outs. One run scored on an errant pick-off throw and the other on an error.

“We know that (hitting) is going to be a little bit of an issue,” Cheltenham coach Craig Stein said of the offense. “Part of it is we’ve been in the gym so long that it’s tough to really get out on the field and get them hitting. Hopefully that will come around.”

Upper Dublin’s Garret M. Breslin at bat during the Cardinals’ game against Cheltenham on Monday, April 9, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

Bugg started for Cheltenham and went five innings. He struck out six batters to two walks and allowed three runs on five hits.

“It was cold,” Stein said of his overall thoughts on the game. “It’s tough in these kind of conditions. I would like my starter to go a little bit longer, but I have to protect his arm in the cold weather. Tough going, tough throwing, tough hitting. It was a good game. It always is against these guys.”

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