Resiliency leads SOL/BAL to Carpenter Cup title

PHILADELPHIA — With Jersey Shore closing in, things were getting a little tense for the SOL National/Bicentennial Carpenter Cup team late in the championship game.

So like it had in every other game in the tournament, the SOL/BAL squad had a response. An offensive outburst in the ninth inning gave SOL/BAL all the room it needed to trump the defending champions.

Behind two big offensive innings and more stellar pitching, the SOL/BAL topped Jersey Shore 12-6 to win the 30th Carpenter Cup Tuesday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park.

“There’s always the added pressure of it being the championship game, but we weren’t really nervous,’ William Tennent third baseman Tim Brodhag said. “I knew my team had my back and every single player on the team had my back. I was very confident going into that situation.’

It was the first title for SOL/BAL since 2008 and the first title by a Pennsylvania team since 2011, ending a recent string of success by New Jersey.

Brodhag drew a walk to lead off the ninth inning, giving SOL/BAL its first baserunner since the fifth inning and setting the stage for four-run frame that turned a two-run game into a six-run lead. Brodhag made the most of his single plate appearance, scoring on a two-run double by Luke Duris (Holy Ghost Prep) to start putting space between them and Jersey Shore.

The Philadelphia University commit was looking for a strike to put his bat on, working a 3-0 count before taking a pitch and fouling one off. He never saw the right pitch, but Brodhag was happy to take the free pass and get things moving.

“In that inning where we scored all those runs, we just needed on baserunner and the hits started coming,’ Brodhag said. “We were able to produce.’

The SOL/BAL team was in position to add to its lead thanks to a monster second inning. For the first time in three games, the SOL/BAL scored first, putting the pressure on the opposition. Putting Jersey Shore in a big hole early only helped.

Abington outfielder Jack Larini reached on an error to open the second, moving to third on back-to-back one out singles by Connor McCauley (CR South) and high school teammate Brendan Gallagher. Gallagher’s hit was a short roller up the third base line originally ruled an error but later correctly changed to an infield hit, loading the bases.

“We just saw the ball pretty good,’ Gallagher. “It was just another baseball game. The coaches were cool, kept us calm. We came out and played a good game.’

McCauley and Gallagher started a streak of seven straight hits by SOL/BAL, the big blows coming on consecutive two-run doubles by Zach Szumigala (Pennsbury) and Spencer Tinkel (New Hope-Solebury). DJ Endler (Pennsbury) capped the scoring with a booming triple and when it was done, SOL/BAL had scored seven runs on eight hits while sending 12 batters to the plate.

Tinkel added his third hit in the third inning, also giving him a third RBI when he drove in Szumigala. The run answered a score by Jersey Shore in the bottom of the second inning.

“We had 17 hits,’ Gallagher said. “The bats really came out today.’

Gallagher also made two nice grabs in center field to conclude a strong tournament. Batting ninth the last two games, the recent Abington graduate said it wasn’t a big adjustment from his usual leadoff spot, and he actually benefitted from seeing more of the opposing pitcher before he came up.

Gallagher is attending West Chester in the fall and said he hopes to walk on to the baseball team.

“Brendan’s a great center fielder and he played like that all year for us,’ Abington coach and SOL/BAL co-manager Dave Torresani said.

From there, SOL/BAL held serve until the fifth inning. In the third, left fielder Nick Mulvey (Bensalem) made a fantastic leaping grab at the warning track on a ball by Dan Wondrack.

Jersey Shore got things going in the fifth, using two SOL/BAL errors to help keep the inning going. An RBI double by Joe Silvestrone and a two-run hit by Anthony Bartolomei spurred a four-run inning that turned the 8-1 deficit into an 8-5 hole. The defending Carpenter Cup champions got another run back in the eighth to slice it to 8-6 before the SOL/BAL responded.

“The starters and even the kids coming cold off the bench contributed,’ Gallagher said. “We had a lot of hits. It was good to see everyone contribute to a successful team.’

After Brodhag worked the walk, Brian Kaelin (MaST Charter) singled before Duris drove them both in. Shaun Stackhouse (CR South) singled to score Duris and Julian Turner (Holy Ghost Prep) finished his strong tournament with a nice at-bat that ended with a sac fly to score Stackhouse.

“We’re fighters,’ Brodhag said. “We were down four runs early in the second game, in this game we fought and got out to an early lead but we had to hold it. It showed a lot about our character and our winning attitude.’

Neshaminy pitcher TJ Arnao handled the rest. Arnao came on in the eighth with two out and two on, gave up a single then got Connor Boyle to line out to Kaelin at first.

In the ninth, Arano was on, retiring Jersey Shore in order, striking out Austin Markmann for the final out to secure the victory.

“I knew we had talent,’ Torresani said. “I’m proud of my three kids from Abington. They did a great job.

Torresani, a coach with the 2008 championship team and Pennsbury coach Joe Pesci were the right tandem to lead the team.

“It worked great because he has a lot of energy and he’s a great baseball guy,’ Torresani said. “We worked well together.’

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