TOWAMENCIN >> As he prepared for a late inning at-bat, William Tennent third baseman Greg Degaldo turned to some spectators behind him.
“Heck of a game, isn’t it,” he said with a smile. He wasn’t wrong as his Panthers and host North Penn had been locked in a contest of momentum shifts and a whole lot of offense all afternoon long. With the teams trading runs, it felt like whoever got the last surge of momentum was going to get away with the win.
Thanks to a big swing from Zack Miles and a shutdown inning by Kolby Barrow, the Knights edged Tennent 12-8 Tuesday in a game that saw each team belt out 13 hits.
“Every inning, you have to wake up again and make sure you do your thing,” Miles said. “Every pitch is a new pitch, you just have to play the pitch that’s in front of you.”
Miles’ solo home run down the left field line broke an 8-8 tie in the bottom of the sixth inning and started a four-run spot for the Knights which would finally prove to be enough to take down a very game Tennent team. The home run was the junior shortstop’s only hit of the game, but it was a big one as the Knights were able to let it fuel their closing act.
Getting to that point was a matter of two teams meeting each other’s challenge and managing to raise the stakes. Delgado started the scoring with a one-out home run in the top of the first off starter Joey Valenti, who then stranded two more men on.
That frame was a good encapsulation of Tennent’s day. The Panthers did a lot of good, but just not quite enough to come out on top.
“It’s tough but it’s fun,” Delgado, who went 3-for-4 with three runs scored, said. “The guys came out and played hard. We bounced back, went back and forth fighting. We gave it all we got but just came up short.”
Two errors in the first allowed North Penn to take a 2-1 lead, with Miles scored the go-ahead run on an errant throw. The Knights tacked on two more runs in the bottom half of the third, keyed by an RBI single from Joe Picozzi. North Penn, which had at least on base runner in every inning, sent at least six batters to the plate four times.
Valenti meanwhile, settled in through the second, third and fourth innings, giving up just one run while leaving three more runners stranded. Delgado knew there was a lot of game left and his guys weren’t going to just roll over, however.
“These guys want to go to war, and I’m ready to go to war with them, we’ll keep fighting no matter what the score is,” Delgado said. “Our approach was just to hit the cover off the ball. We came to hit, we wanted to be aggressive and not be scared.”
Tennent broke through in the fifth with Delgado and Joe Shannon staring the frame with singles. After a sac bunt by Julian Manes moved the runners, second baseman Danny Goodz delivered a two-run single to tie the game at 4-4. Alex Wordsworth stroked a single and with just one out, Armando Delgado’s RBI groundout plated Goodz to put Tennent back in front.
The lead wouldn’t last long. With one down in the bottom of the fifth, Picozzi crushed a ball to center field for a solo home run, tying the game and opening the door for North Penn to reclaim the advantage. The outfielder, who went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs, liked the resiliency his team showed throughout the game.
“We weren’t playing our best baseball but we kept finding ways to come back,” Picozzi said. “Hitting is contagious, we feel like this lineup is strong top to bottom. We came out today with a little more fire but we need to be strong out of the gate.”
Atlee Hasson followed Picozzi’s shot with a single and came around on pinch-hitter Hunter Hamlin’s single. Hamlin scored on Rob Weiss’ hit and leadoff man Tyler Siddal doubled to cap a four-spot for the Knights, who took an 8-5 lead into the sixth.
Between the fifth and sixth innings, the teams combined to score 14 of the game’s 20 total runs, so Tennent was eager to get back to the plate after the fifth. Panthers No. 9 hitter Kip Mooney started the next rally with a leadoff double, scoring after Xavier Delgado walked and Greg Delgado doubled for his third hit of the game.
An error plated Xavier Delgado and Greg Delgado would score by hustling home on a wild pitch to knot the game 8-8.
“We talked about let’s keep our heads up and build on this,” Delgado said. “We feed off each other a lot, even in batting practice we go crazy, these guys like to hit a lot. We’re aggressive and you can’t teach that.”
Delgado added the Panthers know they’ll have to be sharper in the field if they want to compete in the SOL Continental. They had three errors on Tuesday, all of which led to North Penn runs and the third baseman said the little things like passed balls or dropping routine plays are what kill teams and negate hitting performances like the one they had against the Knights.
It’s a lesson the Knights know as well and both Picozzi and Miles said while they were happy to win Tuesday, they were far from their best. Still, when Miles led off in the sixth with the game tied, he knew he had a chance to help his team.
“I just wanted to get on,” Miles said. “I was the leadoff hitter, I wasn’t trying to do too much when I stepped in, but he left a curveball up and I took a good swing at it. Hits lead to more hits, they’re contagious and that’s how our team usually goes.”
Billy Collins struck out following Miles’ homer but was able to reach on a dropped third strike and passed ball, which paid off when pinch-runner Griffin Juckniewitz came around on an error later in the frame. Ryan Bealer hit a sac fly and pinch-hitting Colby Chan’s single was able to plate Hasson to give the Knights a four-run cushion.
Kolby Barrow picked up the win when he struck out the side around a two-out Mooney single in the seventh, giving North Penn a hard-earned victory.
“Just because we had a lead at certain points, we couldn’t just sit back and rest for the remainder of the game, we had to keep coming up with the bats every inning,” Picozzi said. “We had a lot of energy going into that last inning, getting the four runs was huge and we were able to get it done from there.”
NORTH PENN 12, WILLIAM TENNENT 8
WILLIAM TENNENT 100 133 0 – 8 13 3
NORTH PENN 202 044 x – 12 13 2
WP: Kolby Barrow. LP: Matt Monaghan. SO-BB: WT – Jason Schweizerhof 3-4, David Linsalata 2-0, Michael Scheller 1-0, Matt Monaghan 0-1, Joe Shannon 0-0; NP – Joey Valenti 4-0, Mason Blankenburg 1-1, Kolby Barrow 3-0.
HR: Greg Delgado (WT), Joe Picozzi (NP), Zack Miles (NP). 2B: Greg Delgado (WT), Kip Mooney (WT), Tyler Siddal (NP). Multiple hits: WT G Delgado 3-4, Joe Shannon 2-4, Julian Manes 2-4, Alex Wordsworth 2-4, Kip Mooney 2-4; NP – Joe Picozzi 3-4, Tyler Siddal 3-4, Rob Weiss 2-3.
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