Browne keeps Delco Christian in motion with shutout

THORNBURY — For about as long as Danny Browne can remember, coaches, teammates and spectators alike have grumbled about his technique on the hill.

The sophomore Delaware County Christian School pitcher has been known by those who see him play for his three-quarters delivery, one he developed, and eventually stuck with, in his youth.

And in a District One Class A semifinal Thursday, in which he helped third-seeded Delco Christian capture a 4-0 victory over No. 2 Jenkintown at Glen Mills Schools, Browne’s signature pitching motion served him well.

“It’s always been like that,’ Browne said. “I’ve been known for throwing weird, but it’s just how I do it.

“People tried to (alter his delivery) when I was younger and realized I wasn’t going to really change, and that’s what I was best at. I’ve tried to throw completely over the top, and it just doesn’t feel right for me.’

Browne scattered seven hits and stranded 10 Jenkintown baserunners en route to a complete-game shutout that was anything but easy.

He first escaped a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the bottom of the third inning with a pickoff of Jenkintown’s Justin Nusbaum. He also avoided damage in the fourth with men on second and third by forcing the final two hitters of the inning to strikeout and groundout, respectively.

The Knights also diffused a bases-loaded threat in the sixth when shortstop Josh Van Meerbeke threw out Jenkintown’s Alec Griffin, with help from a scoop by first baseman Jack Grim.

Browne secured the shutout, and Delco Christian’s trip to the district final, with a game-ending flyout to left field with two runners on.

The Knights move on to face top-seeded Christopher Dock for the district title Wednesday (4 p.m. start) at Methacton High School. Along the way, they exacted a little revenge with the victory, as it was Jenkintown that thumped Delco Christian, 9-2, in the first round of District One play last year.

“This is going farther than we’ve gone,’ Delco Christian junior Kyle Winters said. “This gives us a lot of momentum and next year we have a lot of guys returning, so this gives us a lot of energy coming into next year, too.’

“We had a rough start to the season,’ Browne said of the Knights’ 6-6 start to the spring. “We weren’t really playing together and things weren’t really going the way we wanted them to. We weren’t really hitting like we wanted to, and we didn’t play well defensively. We were just hoping it would all come together. … This is pretty big (for us).’

Winters put Delco Christian on the board in the fourth with the Knights’ first hit when he doubled to knock in Van Meerbeke, who reached base when he was plunked in the back by Jamison Kolb.

The Knights’ leadoff man, Cody Moorhatch, kicked off a three-run rally when he singled to start the sixth, stealing both second and third, then scoring on a Van Meerbeke sacrifice fly. Winters later posted his second RBI double of the afternoon to help give Browne insurance for the seventh, and add to the momentum the Knights hope to carry with them to Methacton Wednesday.

After keeping Delco Christian’s offense quiet through much of the game’s first five innings, Kolb departed after the Knights’ three-run sixth, allowing six hits and walking three to go along with his five punchouts.

His team’s loss marked Jenkintown’s second consecutive defeat in a district semifinal.

“We had our eyes set on the (district) championship, honestly,’ Kolb said. “That’s what we were looking forward to all year, talking about it all the time.

“We could’ve done a lot better.’

Riding a four-game winning streak, Delco Christian will be looking to beat a Christopher Dock team that was upset in last year’s district tourney by Calvary Christian.

“I’ll be proud of wherever we end up whether we lose or win the next game,’ Winters said, “but at least for me, and I know the rest of the guys on the team, we’ll be putting in a lot for the next couple days, trying to get ready and to do as well as we can. We’re going to prepare as much as we can.’

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