Late rally ends Garnet Valley’s run

WEST CHESTER — Two walk-up songs Garnet Valley pitcher Ben Faso doesn’t want to hear again are “Cowboy’ by Kid Rock and “Miserlou,’ the theme from Pulp Fiction.

The tunes preceded Charlie Concannon, who blasted a two-run homer, and Steve Dewitt, whose sixth-inning double off the fence plated the winner as West Chester Rustin recorded a 5-4 District One Class AAAA baseball playoff victory over the Jaguars Wednesday.

Faso gave the Jaguars a chance to win with a strong pitching effort even though he’s an infielder, not a hurler. On this day Concannon, who has 12 homers, and Dewitt were a little stronger.

“For him to step up and pitch the way he did was phenomenal,’ Jaguars coach Rudy Shiller said of Faso. “He was out there giving it everything he had. Really he made one mistake. That kid’s a heck of a hitter and he hit that ball really good. And that other kid stepped up and had the big hit. You’ve got to tip your hat to them. They got two real big hits, the home run and the double. Other than that the game was pretty clean.’

Shiller amended his evaluation to include the Garnet Valley throwing error that enabled the Golden Knights (18-4) to tie the score in the fifth inning. Rustin pinch-hitter Jake Rice scored the run after lining a single up the middle off the gloves of two Jaguars, including Faso.

All of that said, the Jaguars (12-9), seeded 24th in the district, made it difficult for their eighth-seeded opponent.

Joe Sacht walked and Daniel Elison singled to kick-start a three-run fourth-inning rally blowing up a 1-1 stalemate.

With two outs the Jaguars put three runs on the board with an infield hit by Steve Palis plus a throwing error and a passed ball by Rustin. It should be noted that Rustin coach Brad Harkins thought his catcher had picked Elison off first base, which at the time would have meant none of the runs would have scored. That’s baseball.

The haunting Kid Rock tune came into play in the bottom of the fourth. Concannon says he’s dug the song since “I was probably eight years old.

“It just relaxes me, the beginning of that song,’ Concannon said. “It doesn’t hype me up too much. And I like hearing it.’

If the Jaguars had it to do over, they’d intentionally walk Concannon. They didn’t. The senior headed to Saint Joseph’s University ripped the ball over the Kelly Sports sign just to the right of the scoreboard in center field.

“I shook off a changeup and threw a curve ball and he hit it out kind of because I’m not too confident in the changeup,’ Faso said. “And that’s what that kid hit to the fence in left. It’s funny how it works.

“But Concannon, he’s a beast. He’s a tank.’

The Jaguars had a chance to do damage in the fifth inning as Dominic Bertone and Matt Lupoli walked with one out. That ended the day of Rustin starter Tom Cantennaci, who displayed a paralyzing curve ball in the early innings.

The Jaguars, however, couldn’t get a walk much less a hit off reliever Owen Hovick the rest of the way. Hovick earned the win throwing sidearm and two-seam pitches.

“Both teams really wanted it,’ Faso said. “It was one of those knock-down, drag-out games. It just didn’t go our way. I’ll be thinking about this for a while. It’s hard to get this out of my mind. But they won the game. What are you going to do?’

It was a tough way for Faso and the Jaguars seniors to go out. After a 2-6 start they won 10 of their next 14 games. When Faso looks back on his career, that’s what he’s most proud of.

The effort wasn’t lost on the younger players including sophomore shortstop Liam Bendo, who led off the game with a double.

“He pitched his heart out, out there,’ Bendo said. “You can’t ask for more than that. I feel 100 percent sure that we can definitely build off this season and that game. We’re going to miss those guys. What I’m going to remember is all the workouts and all the hard work we put in together.’

Shiller won’t forget, either. The bumpy start challenged him, as well.

“They never gave up faith in us and we never gave up faith in them,’ Shiller said. “They really started playing good baseball. Since that point the team started playing good fundamental baseball, doing the right things, coming up with big hits and really it’s been a pleasure coaching them. And it’s been a lot of fun.’

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