WEST NORRITON >> Chadwicks scored 12 unanswered runs to eliminate Valley Forge from the Greater Norristown American Legion Baseball League playoffs, 12-2, in six innings Monday evening at Norristown Area High School.
After falling behind 2-0 in the top of the first inning, Chadwicks answered with four runs in the bottom of the first and four more in the second to take a commanding lead.
Joe Sortino got Chadwicks scoring started with a two-run double. He scored on an error to give his side the lead for good and Jules Mastrocola had an RBI single to make it 4-2 after the first.
In the second inning, Chadwicks took advantage of the Generals fielding mistakes. Three hits and four errors turned into a four-run frame to turn the contest into an 8-2 blowout.
“When I come up to the plate I’m just looking for a pitch I can hit,” Chadwicks’ Dom Proietto said about his approach when the defense is struggling with errors. “Hit it hard, put the ball in play and good things happen. Try to help the team any way I can.”
Tyler Pastella scored on an error, Sortino plated a run with a double and scored on an error and Matt Ahmad knocked in a run with a sacrifice fly.
“We had six errors in the first two innings,” Valley Forge manager Rich Lachenmayer said. “This was our fifth game in five days. These kids battled. We went from the 6-7 game all the way to here. We just didn’t have the pitching, but they deserve a lot of credit for playing as hard as they did and (Chadwicks) is a great team.”
Chadwicks added three more runs in the fourth inning. Pastella hit a two-run double and scored on a Proietto single.
The game ended in the bottom of the sixth inning, when Colt Narciso’s bases-loaded single made it 12-2 and put the mercy rule into effect.
Proietto started for Chadwicks and went three innings, staying under 45 pitches to keep his eligibility to pitch later this week if needed. After allowing two runs in the first inning on a two-run Anthony Swenda single, Proietto was perfect in the second and third innings. He allowed two runs on two hits while striking out three batters to one walk.
“I was hitting my spots more,” Proietto said of his improvement after the first inning. “I finally warmed up and started getting up in my velocity. First inning I didn’t really have my velocity, but second and third I was pumping the fastball, then mixing up the slider and the curve, hitting my spots. My catcher Jake (Undercuffler) called a great game for the couple innings I pitched, kept the hitters off-balance.”
Chadwicks, which won the league title last year as Presidential Caterers, returns to the championship to face JP Mascaro at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday at Methacton High School. Mascaro clinches the title with a win Tuesday. If Chadwicks wins, a winner-take-all game will be back at Methacton Wednesday.
“We have all the confidence in the world,” Proietto said. “These guys know that if we come out and play like we did today — JP is a good team, but we keep our heads high. They played a good game against us the other day, but we have all the faith in the world.”
The loss brings an end to Valley Forge’s season. The Generals finished 6-11-2 and were one of the final three teams left standing.
“Very good year,” Lachenmayer said. “The biggest problem that we have and the biggest problem that is in this league is travel ball. There’s too many times that the weekends we don’t have our full team and we’re struggling to get nine guys, 10 guys. There are things that are going to have to change in the league to make things work the way they should work.”
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