SPRINGFIELD >> Tanner Robinson has his sights set on making the Springfield High School varsity baseball team next spring.
He has taken steps to achieving that goal this summer.
Although pitching isn’t his thing, Robinson showed flashes of real potential on the mound Thursday night. The right-hander pitched a four-hitter with six Ks to help Springfield’s Intermediate EDCO squad to a 7-2 victory over Brookhaven in a semifinal playoff contest. Springfield, the No. 2 seed, won the series in three games and will meet either No. 4 Broomall or top-seeded Media in the championship round next week.
“I knew I was going to pitch today, I knew I had to be ready,” Robinson said. “I was nervous coming in. I’ve thrown a couple of games, but not a lot.”
It certainly helped that Robinson needed just 14 pitches to complete his first two innings. Oh, and the fact that his offense came to play, too.In the bottom of the first, Springfield’s bats struck four four runs and sent 10 batters to the plate. Singles by Jason Rodden and Jake Vaughan set the tone for a big inning. Facing a hard-thrower in Brookhaven’s Ken Jensen, who pitched better than his line would indicate, Springfield attacked from the get-go. And then … well, not-so-good baseball happened all over the field.
Three-hole hitter Jason Terzoglou smacked a single to center field to drive home Rodden. Brookhaven catcher tried to nab Vaughan sliding into third base, but an errant throw allowed both Vaughan and Terzoglou to score to make it 3-0 Springfield.
“Inside-the-park homer,” Terzoglou said as he returned to the dugout.
“More like a single and an error,” a teammate quipped, drawing laughter from the Springfield bench.
Hey, either way, the error-induced round-tripper gave Robinson some breathing room early.
“Tanner pitched great,” said big third baseman Jake Baumann, who went 1-for-4 with a double and steal of home. “He’s not used to pitching much, but he did really well today and kept us in the game.”
Josh Kilgallen walked in the first inning and later scored Springfield’s fourth run when Robinson was plunked by a pitch. The four spot gave Springfield the early momentum and they rode it all the way to the finish line.
“We had somebody else throw a great game (Wednesday) and Tanner stepped up and threw another great game today,” Vaughan said. “We were just feeding off that momentum. Our pitchers are keeping us in it and we’re getting hit after hit. We’re just trying to do our best and win the game.
“We knew we would see that kid (Jensen) again. We knew he had real good stuff. So, I was just telling everyone before the game that we have to set the
tone early. Our leadoff hitter has been on base, I don’t even know how many times. He got on again, then I just tried to stay short with my swing and get on base, that’s all I tried to do. We had to get guys on early and score right away.”
Vaughan, who also plays baseball at Springfield, made a handful of defensive stops at shortstop including a diving catch to end the third inning. While he doesn’t often line up on the dirt (he is an outfielder in high school), Vaughan displayed natural instincts at short Thursday.
“Shortstop is pretty new to me,” Vaughan said. “I played a little bit in in-house leagues, just to play around with it. But this is where this team needed help, so I stepped up and told them I’d play there. Whatever it takes to help the team.”
Brookhaven threatened for the first time against Robinson in the top of the fourth inning. Jack Youhouse walked, moved to second on a wild pitch and stole third base. Mike Schmucker then hit an RBI groundout to second to put Brookhaven on the board.
Springfield answered in the bottom of the fifth when Baumann stroked a two-out double. The big guy then showed his speed on the back end of a double-steal. He raced down the third-base line as Kilgallen, who singled, took off for second base. Mike Eberhardt then added a run-scoring hit, and Springfield tacked on its final run in the sixth inning, thanks to some shoddy defensive play by Brookhaven, which committed five errors on the night.
Rodden and Eberhardt had two hits apiece, while Terzoglou drove in two runs. Jensen, who struck out five over five innings of work, had a single and an RBI for Brookhaven. Danny Smith, Joe Cople and Dan Guazza chipped in with a hit apiece.