TOWAMENCIN — It was only seven days ago when the North Penn baseball team slammed the door on the Suburban One League Continental Conference race with a one-run win over Hatboro-Horsham. With a chance at redemption in the District 1-AAAA playoffs many once again expected a nail biter at North Penn High.
However, this time around the Knights feasted on the Hatter hurlers, scoring early and often en route to a 9-3 second-round win.
The Hatters finish their season at 13-9 overall and a playoff ride a lot shorter than many imagined with this big class of seniors.
“We had two great games earlier in the season against North Penn and today we took it on the chin,’ Hatboro-Horsham coach Pete Moore said. “We have 15 seniors that gave their heart and soul to the program for four years. We wanted the run to continue to spend more time together as a family, as a team.’
The fourth-seeded Knights (16-3 overall) await fifth-seeded Boyertown, who was 9-0 winners over No. 12 Perkiomen Valley in the quarterfinals of the district playoffs. North Penn hosts the Bears at 4 p.m. Friday.
“We went up swinging and had some guys really square the ball up,’ Knights coach Kevin Manero said. “It was our best offensive output of the year. We know Hatboro-Horsham throws strikes. I’d rather not play our conference, because we have a good conference and I’d like to see multiple teams move on. It is always a little tough when you are familiar earlier.’Hatters senior Ryan Murphy had a much better day in his outing a week ago against the Knights. With Eric Lane being used in a first-round playoff win over Haverford coach Moore saw no reason not to go back to his right-hander and hope his offense could score more runs than they did in the 2-1 loss. However, the Knights came out swinging and Murphy was off the mound by the fourth inning.
“It is ideal to jump out and take a lead,’ Moore said. “It’s tough to overcome one big inning, let alone two big innings. I would go to battle again tomorrow with Ryan Muprhy. He has gone to battle for us time and time again. I do not second guess having him out there at all.’
Alex Peterson had three hits in the win, including a RBI triple and the single that started the four-run first inning. Peterson came around to score on a Douglas Apple RBI single. Apple had three hits, two of them one-hopped the fence for stand-up doubles. Apple drove in a pair in the win.
“Hatboro-Horsham is a great team, but we came out ready to play today,’ Peterson said. “It’s a big win, but we have bigger goals. We want to get to states and then try to win districts.’
The big hit in the first inning came from designated hitter Kadar Namey, who hit a bases-clearing triple to start the day out right for the Knights. In a five-run fourth, North Penn put together a string of singles to open the lead. It was clearly enough for senior starter James Witner. The Knights ace scattered three runs on eight hits and turned the ball over to Paul Haynie in the sixth inning with the game in control.
“I think we took James out a batter to two late,’ Manero said. “We did not want to go to somebody, just to go to somebody. We want our pitchers lined up for Friday. Paul came in and got the job done.’