LOWER SALFORD >> Nine innings were needed Tuesday afternoon before Souderton and Central Bucks South decided which baseball team would sit in second place in the Suburban One League Continental Conference standings.
It ended up being Joey Loynd who finally settled things in the visiting Titans favor. The junior shortstop broke a 2-2 tie in the top of the ninth by ripping an RBI single down the third-base line to score Zack Steinberg from second as South outlasted the Indians 3-2 at Vic Alderfer Memorial Ball Park.
“(Souderton pitcher Andrew Curran) had a funky delivery, didn’t let it go ‘til a little late, so I was just waiting on my fastball to come across the plate,” Loynd said. “And he gave me a mistake inside and I did what I could with it.”
— Mike Cabrey (@mpcabrey) April 25, 2018
Loynd went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored while Conor McKeown went 3-for-5 with an RBI for CB South (6-4, 5-1 conference), which stranded a dozen baserunners but still came away with its third straight win and stays just a game back in the loss column behind Continental leader North Penn. The Knights hold first at 7-0 after their 8-4 win over Central Bucks East Tuesday.
“For them to hold us to three runs — (Souderton starting pitcher Jordan) Morales did a great job mixing speeds and hitting spots. I mean, we kind of changed our approach a little bit against him, we tried to do a little bit too much,” Titans coach Brian Klumpp said. “But towards the end of the game we got back to our kind of unselfish approaches and we did a great job in the extra innings.”
South scored a pair of runs in the top of the first but Souderton answered with a run in the bottom of the inning then tied the contest with another run in the second.
“We had opportunities early in the game and we just couldn’t get the runs in,” Loynd said. “We got shut down a little bit but we stayed in it and competed and we came out with it.”
The Indians had a chance to go ahead in the fifth, loading the bases with one out. But Titans starter Brock Veit kept things level with a force out at home on a fielder’s choice and then a ground out back to the mound. Souderton (7-3, 4-2) stranded five runners in the final three innings — two each in the seventh and eighth — as the Indians had their two-game win streak snapped.
“We definitely had our chances,” Souderton coach Mike Childs said. “One thing I give them credit for, they made all the plays in the field, which we did not. Right off the bat, our thing was trying to get out of the first inning with no runs and we didn’t do it again because we made more mistakes.
“We’ve got to work harder and do better. I mean, it’s a playoff-caliber team we’re going against, we can’t sit there and roll over and think we’re going to beat them like we’ve been beating teams. The North Penn and CB Souths of our league, we’ve got to step up and we’ve got to play.”
Jake McKeown earned the win for CB South, allowing no runs or hits in pitching the final two innings. He walked two and struck out four.
Curran took the loss, giving up one earned run on three hits in four innings. He walked one and struck out one.
— Mike Cabrey (@mpcabrey) April 25, 2018
While neither starter factored in the decision, both had solid efforts on the overcast afternoon. For Souderton, Morales gave up two runs — both unearned — on seven hits, struck out 10 and did not allow a walk in five innings.
“He pitched very well. He did good,” said Childs of Morales. “He just hits that pitch count and we don’t want to roll him out for eight (pitches) and have our next guy have a situation where I got to come in in relief.”
South’s Veit surrendered two runs — one earned — on four hits, walked two and struck out one in seven innings.
“Brock threw a gem today,” Klumpp said. “ He came out, he kept shutting them down when they tried to gain momentum and he did a great job of shutting them down and giving us get a chance to win it in extras.”
Jake Trachtenberg led off the ninth with a single and Steinberg re-entered the game to run for him. Steinberg took second on a wild pitch then scored the winning run on Loynd’s third base hit of the day.
“There’s nobody else you want in that spot,” said Klumpp of Loynd. “He comes up with runners in scoring position, you’re almost, I mean, I don’t want to say guaranteed a hit but there’s nobody in the league better than him right now. And for him to come up in that spot was huge.”
After Loynd was thrown out trying to steal second, Connor McKeown singled up the middle. A wild pitch and John McSweeny’s ground out put him on third, but Curran kept the score 3-2 by getting Bryan Rossi to ground out.
In the bottom of the ninth, Jake McKeown struck out the first two Souderton batters. Morales was hit by a pitch to keep the Indians’ hopes alive, but South sealed the win when Conlan Wall was called out at first on a close play after his grounder to the shortstop.
“Of all the things that have to happen to beat these teams — timely hitting. We didn’t have timely hitting today,” Childs said. “Timely hitting would have made the difference today for us, especially with guys in scoring position multiple times. And it just didn’t happen. We ground out to bases or pop out to an outfield in a situation where we have guys in scoring position. And we had plenty of guys in scoring position today, it just didn’t happen.”
The Titans took a 2-0 lead with a pair of runs in the top of the first. Leadoff hitter Ben Berger reached on an error, took second on Steinberg’s sacrifice bunt then went to third on a Loynd single. Connor McKeown’s single plate Berger and two batters later Rossi’s one-out RBI single scored Loynd.
Souderton cut the margin to 2-1 in the bottom of the first. Wall — who led off with a single, took second on an error and went to third on a wild pitch — scored on Luke Barnum’s RBI ground out to first.
The Indians pulled even in the second. Blaise Sclafani began the bottom of the inning with a double to left, advanced to third on a wild pitch and came home on Luke Taylor’s one-out RBI ground out to short.
Loynd began the top of the third with a single. Souderton had Loynd in a rundown after a hit-and-run on Conor McKeown’s single but an error by the Indians allowed Loynd to reach third and McKeown to take second. Morales, however, worked out of the jam with a fly out to the mound and consecutive strike outs.
Souderton loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth after a one-out Taylor single and back-to-back walks by Aaron Groller and Morales. Big Red came up empty the next two at-bats and the score remained 2-2.
In the bottom of the seventh, David Gulibon led off with a single and after a Taylor sacrifice bunt, Curran was hit by a pitch. But a pop out in foul territory and a force out at second on a fielder’s choice sent the game to extras.
The Indians again put two runners on in the eight. Moses Clemens drew a two-out walk and after his courtesy runner Ryan Dalton went to second on a wild pitch, Sclafani was intentionally walked. Jake McKeown, however, struck out the next batter.
Central Bucks South 3, Souderton 2 (9)
Central Bucks South 200 000 001 — 3 10 1
Souderton 110 000 000 — 2 4 3
WP: Jake McKeown 2 IP 0 H 0 R 0 ER 2 BB 4 SO 1 HB.
LP: Andrew Curran 4 IP 3 H 1 R 1 ER 1 SO 1 BB 2 HB.
2B: S-Blaise Sclafani; CBS-J. McKeown.
Central Bucks South: Joey Loynd 3-4, RBI, R; Conor McKeown 3-5, RBI; Bryan Rossi RBI.
Souderton: Luke Barnum RBI; Luke Taylor RBI.
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