PHILADELPHIA >> By his own admission, Dom Proietto is not a triples hitter.
But after crushing a ball in the eighth inning, the Norristown junior hit second base and saw Plymouth Whitemarsh coach Chris Manero waving him toward third base. Proietto didn’t think twice and reached third standing, giving the SOL American/Continental Carpenter Cup team the big hit had been looking for.
A five-run ninth inning by Jersey Shore spoiled the day for the SOL A/C in a 6-2 loss Friday morning at FDR Park, but it was more about the experience than the result.
“I’m never thinking triple,” Prioetto said with a smirk. “It was a bomb, I think it one-hopped or two-hopped to the fence and the center fielder got a late jump on it. I saw Coach Manero at third rounding me so I said ‘what the heck?’”
Offense was hard to come by for the SOL A/C most of the day. The Suburban One side collected nine hits but also struck out 17 times against the Jersey Shore pitching. Carpenter Cup rules limit pitchers to a max of three innings but it didn’t seem to matter who the Garden State side put on the hill, they kept ringing up batters.
The SOL A/C countered that for the most part, minus the one run Jersey Shore took off North Penn’s Joey Valenti in the third inning. Valenti came back strong, retiring the next seven he faced in his three innings of work.
Wissahickon sophomore Mike Gorman followed Valenti and tossed two shutout innings of his own.
“I felt a little tentative, my curveball wasn’t there but my fastball felt pretty good today,” Gorman said. “This should get me ready for the summer, I got to face better competition so I think I’ll be ready.”
Position players are also limited by Carpenter Cup rules, having to play at least four innings. Proietto was in the second grouping of SOL A/C players but was one of Noah Dean’s five strikeout victims his first time up.
Although Norristown moved to the PAC two years ago, Eagles players are still eligible for the SOL A/C franchise and Prioetto was happy to get the chance to try out and make the squad. After CB South’s Jake Trachtenberg led off the eighth with a single, Prioetto fell behind 0-2 before getting all of a high fastball and sending it deep to right-center to tie the game.
“He was throwing hard and had good off-speed but I was just thinking hard and quick to the ball,” Prioetto said. “He kept painting the outside corner, he left one high and away and I took it to right-center for, I think, my second career triple.”
CB West’s Matt McCarthy followed with a ground ball that Jersey Shore couldn’t field, resulting in an error and Prioetto scoring the go-ahead run.
McCarthy, a junior, was joined by Bucks teammate Matt Cooper, who hustled out an infield single in his second at-bat. The Bucks have traditionally been well-represented on the Carpenter Cup roster and McCarthy said some of his teammates in past seasons had talked about the experience.
After competing against each other all spring, the Cup also allows rivals to team up and get to know each other a little better.
“You just want to make the best of your opportunity and do your job,” McCarthy said. “It was a lot of fun, especially playing with the East and South kids who are usually our biggest rivals.”
Wissahickon coach Andy Noga was the head coach for the SOL A/C and made his return to the tournament after playing in it himself back in 2007. Noga had five of his players, all underclassmen, on the roster.
One of those Trojans, outfielder Brian Menhart, made a brilliant catch deep in center field in the fourth inning.
“They’re all deserving to be in this position but it should be a great experience for them going forward as well,” Noga said. “I’m lucky to have two experienced assistant coaches in Chris Manero and Ed Wall, I was the ‘head’ coach but we really had three head coaches.”
With the Carpenter Cup designed as a showcase event for college coaches and scouts, there are limits on how many seniors a team can have on its roster. While the SOL A/C had some seniors, including North Penn’s Joe Picozzi who went 2-for-3, the team was mostly sophomores and juniors.
“It was a great group of guys and we were pretty young so we said at the end here we’d like to see a lot of them come back next year to try and chase after going to Citizens Bank Park and win a championship,” Noga said. “I was proud of the way we handled ourselves with class, I feel like we represented the SOL American Continental very well today.”
JERSEY SHORE 001 000 005 – 6 7 1
SOL AMERICAN/CONTINENTAL 000 000 020 – 2 9 0
3B: S – Dom Proietto. 2B: S – Joe Picozzi, JS – John Volpe, Jared Bellissimmo
Wed, June 13
Olympic Colonial 8, Mercer County 3
Tri-Cape 4, Philadelphia Catholic 3
Thurs, June 14
Delaware North 5, Philadelphia Public 3
Lehigh Valley 10, SOL National/BAL 7
Inter Ac/Independent 12, Berks County 3
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