WORCESTER >> Thursday night’s Greater Norristown American Legion Baseball League game between JP Mascaro and Whitemarsh had big-time seeding implications for the upcoming league playoffs.
With three games remaining for Mascaro and four for Whitemarsh, the Haulers entered Thursday with a 2.5-game lead over the Patriots in the standings for second place and a first-round bye.
JP Mascaro came out and played like they didn’t want to give up that second spot. The Haulers cruised to a 9-1 win at Methacton High School.
“(Getting the second seed) was the most important thing,” JP Mascaro’s Ryan McDonnell said. “We’re down on numbers. Two of our guys are gone — one’s at college, one’s on vacation. It was important to get that bye, get some rest, get pitchers healthy and ready for the playoffs and just go from there.”
Mascaro was clicking on all cylinders.
Gavin Wolfe pitched to contact, his defenders made the plays and the offense came out firing — scoring all nine of its runs in the first three innings.
After falling behind 1-0 in the top of the first inning, Mascaro’s top four batters all reached base and scored. Chad Evans hit a two-run double to score McDonnell and Michael Daddazio. Colin Shrader plated Trevor Rambo with a sacrifice fly and Evans scored on a wild pitch.
“It was important to come out quick,” McDonnell said. We knew they would try to keep us close, so it was important to come out quick. We pile on hits, score runs and make it easy on ourselves.”
In the second inning, McDonnell singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch. He scored on a Daddazio double and Evans brought home Daddazio with a single to make it 6-1.
Morgan Heckler singled home Chris Troemel in the bottom of the third inning before scoring on a McDonnell double. McDonnell crossed the plate on a Daddazio single to finish off the scoring for the game, 9-1.
“Count the runs,” Wolfe said of the offense’s success. “We didn’t leave base-runners out there. Usually we’ll leave 10-12 base-runners a game, but we actually got them in this time.”
While the offense was churning out 13 hits, Wolfe was mowing down the Whitemarsh offense. The right-hander threw a complete game, striking out three batters to one walk. He allowed one run — unearned — on five hits.
“A lot of fastballs,” Wolfe said of his performance. “Everybody made the plays. That’s all that mattered. That was the strategy. They’re not going to be able to hit the ball over the fence, so might as well just throw strikes and let them make the plays, which they did mostly.”
“Heck of a game,” Mascaro coach Lucas Denczi said. “It was a long week pitching wise. Last night we got a heck of a performance from Shrader and Gavin followed it up tonight, really set us up for the weekend with pitching. Good game all around.”
In the top of the first inning, Whitemarsh’s Shane Flaherty and Zach Redican hit back-to-back one-out singles. Flaherty scored when a potential double play grounder was thrown away.
Zach Chandler was the losing pitcher for Whitemarsh. In three innings he allowed nine runs on 11 hits. He struck out one batter to two walks.
Jacob Nunez came on in relief for the Patriots. He struck out two batters to no walks in three scoreless innings and allowed two hits.
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