UPPER UWCHLAN TWP. >> Luke Zimmerman had quite a morning on Saturday.
The Broomall-Newtown pitcher began his day by helping round-up teammates so B-N would have enough guys to play its opening game in the Region 3 American Legion tournament. Then, a teammate accidentally locked his keys and Zimmerman’s gear in the teammate’s car, prompting a call to AAA and a very rushed warm-up.
The bad news continued as Zimmerman put the first two hitters he faced on base on before finally calming down and getting into his game. Behind 11 strikeouts from the lefty, Broomall-Newtown topped Chadwick’s 8-0.
“We played well, we have good chemistry because a lot of us have been playing with each other for a long time,” Zimmerman said. “We came out to play, it was a little bit of a funky morning, but we got it done.”
Chadwick’s, the GNALBL champion, could only lament losing a game it felt it had given away. Zimmerman, who threw 106 pitches before exiting with one out in the seventh, held Chadwick’s to just three hits. Broomall-Newtown struggled at the plate, too, with just five hits.
The difference were the free passes and extra outs Chadwick’s gave to Broomall-Newtown, mostly in a six-run second inning. With a roster consisting almost entirely of guys from PIAA 5A baseball champion Marple Newtown, its the type of team that can make the most of extra opportunities.
“You can’t give the other team the opportunity to get productive base hits,” Chadwick’s manager Kirk Daywalt said. “It’s a little frustrating, but we’ll bounce back from it.”
Zimmerman warmed up as best he could while waiting for his teammate to get the car unlocked but it wasn’t enough to keep the pitcher from hitting the first batter of the game and walking the second. The Daily Times Player of the Year came back to strike out the next two guys and got a ground ball to second to end the first inning.
Chadwick’s had at least one baserunner in the first three innings but didn’t get its first hit until Chris Faunce hit a ball up the middle that glanced off the mound for an infield single.
“He was tremendous, he’s the best pitcher we’ve seen all year,” Daywalt said. “That happens, it’s baseball.”
Zimmerman worked the inside of the strike zone heavily and consistently, getting six of his punchouts with the batter looking at the third strike. Chadwick’s second baseman Jules Mastrocola, who had one of the team’s three hits, said the lefty had hitters unsure what was coming next at the plate.
“He would start with a curve ball and the next time, he’d start with a fastball,” Mastrocola said. “He was keeping us off-balance.
“We have to stop giving up walks. I mean, they had five hits and we had three so you do the math and that’s what did it. We feel like we beat ourselves a little bit.”
Mastrocola had a strong day defensively, making a highlight grab of an Alden Mathes liner in the second inning then later ranging well over in the second base gap to again deny Mathes in the sixth inning. His snared liner came with runners on the bases for the second out of the frame, but it couldn’t stop Broomall-Newtown from breaking the game open.
Three of the team’s five hits came in the second as the Main Line league team scored five of its six runs with two outs on the board. Anthony Basciano, who led off with a walk, scored on a passed ball prior to the second out before Corey Woodcock broke the game open with a two-run single.
Zimmerman followed with an RBI double and Bob Steven had an RBI single to cap the scoring after Broomall-Newtown sent 11 batters to the dish in the half-inning.
The win puts Broomall-Newtown into Sunday’s winner’s bracket, which Zimmerman said was a nice change of pace after a chaotic regular season and Main Line playoffs. With Marple Newtown’s deep state run, the Legion squad was unable to play its full schedule and finished seventh in the nine-team league, B-N then lost its league playoff opener and had to win out to get the second regional bid from the league.
“Having the experience winning states, everyone knows how to play and win in a big spot or in games like this,” Zimmerman said. “No one’s stressed, we’re out there having fun but staying pretty calm. We’ve been through it and know how to handle it.”
While Broomall-Newtown will play its next game Sunday afternoon (4:30) at Downingtown East against the winner of the Lionville-Falls Township game, Chadwick’s faces a win-or-go home game Sunday morning back at Hickory Park at 10:30 a.m.
“As long as we’re ready, we know we can come back and make a run here,” Mastrocola said.
Wayne 6, Yardley Morrisville 2, suspended >> The game was stopped in the top of the fifth inning by rain and will be resumed at 9 a.m. Sunday at Downingtown East High School. If Wayne holds on it plays Spring City at 1:30 p.m. at a field to be determined. If the Wolverines lose they take on Fort Washington at Hickory Field at 10:30 a.m.
Rain also forced the postponement of the Lionville-Falls game to Sunday at 10:30 a.m. at Downingtown East High School.