TRYDEFFRIN >> The Conestoga baseball program has long been in the upper echelon of District 1. The Pioneers captured the 2011 Class AAAA PIAA title, went to the finals again in 2015, and are generally regarded as one of the best programs in Southeastern Pennsylvania.
If Thursday afternoon’s contest with Ridley is any indication, then the Pioneers are more than ready to assume their spot at or near the top of the pile once again.
Conestoga outclassed Ridley by scoring nine second-inning runs and getting strong starting pitching from Mark Anderson, who held the Green Raiders to just three hits in four innings as Conestoga pulled away for a convincing 11-1, five-inning, Central League victory.
The Pioneers (2-0 Central League, 2-0 overall) used five hits, two stolen bases and two walks to break open the game with nine second-inning runs.
“We had some chances in our first game against Lower Merion and we did not come through like we did today,” said Tim Miller, who had a walk and and a stinging double to left field. “It was just business as usual and when you can get out on a team early and get a big lead like we did today it always makes things easier. The Lower Merion game we did not get as many timely hits as we did today.”
Conestoga left the bases loaded against Ridley (0-2, 0-2) starter Tom Pollag in the first inning with the Ridley right hander striking out Luke Czepiel and Angus Mayock with the bases full, but Ridley could not escape the second-inning Pioneer carnage.
Greyson Avots started things with a walk and the next six Pioneer batters reached base. Conestoga got big hits from Tom Fogarty, who had two hits and three RBI on the day. Eric Hutchinson roped a two-run double to dead center field and Alex Lee took a Pollag fast ball to right center for a RBI double. When the inning was over, Conestoga had nine runs on five hits and had chased Pollag from the contest.
“We have a great group of seniors,” said Conestoga coach Kevin Pechin. “Alex Lee, Tom Fogarty and Luke Czepiel got big hits for us today and we got strong pitching from Mark and we always know Ridley plays us tough so we were a little nervous coming into this game. Our clutch hitting was really the difference today for us.”
With Anderson breezing along, the outcome was pretty much decided after the nine-run second inning. But it did not prevent the Pioneers from flashing some impressive leather. With Mayock on to pitch the fifth inning, Ridley’s leadoff batter was hit by a pitch. Mayock then got Liam Thompson to strike out for the first out and then Bobby Downs hit a hot smash up the middle that shortstop Jacob Marcus grabbed, whirled and turned into a sharp 6-4-3 double play to end the game via the mercy rule at 11-1.
“We have a good mix of seniors and young guys that can play baseball,” Jonah Siegel, Conestoga’s right fielder said. “And we feel we can compete with anybody in the Central League because we won the league last year and we have a lot of guys back this year. Today, we did a good job of getting clutch hits and we hit the ball well against Lower Merion also.”
Conestoga 11, Ridley 1, 5 innings
RIDLEY ab r h bi CONESTOGA ab r h bi
Thompson ss 3 0 0 0 Lee lf 1 1 1 0
Downs rf 3 0 1 0 Lambert ph 1 0 1 1
Bramwell 1b 2 0 0 0 Siegel rf 3 1 1 0
Kimmel 3b 2 0 0 0 Miller 2b 1 2 1 0
DePrinzio dh 1 1 1 0 Fogarty 1b 2 1 2 3
Pollag p 0 0 0 0 Mayock 3b 2 1 0 0
Bollinger p 0 0 0 0 Czepiel c 3 1 1 2
Fisher cf 2 0 2 1 Avots cf 1 1 0 0
Bleacher lf 2 0 0 0 Mottley cf 1 2 1 0
Meyer 2b 2 0 0 0 Anderson p 0 0 0 0
Becker c 1 0 0 0 Hutchinson dh 2 2 1 2
Donegan pr 0 0 0 0 Herron 2b 1 0 0 0
Falcone ph 1 0 0 0
Marcus ss 0 0 0 0
Totals 18 1 4 1 Totals 19 11 9 8
Ridley 000 10-1
Conestoga 091 1x-11
2B-Mottley, Miller, Czepiel, Lee, Hutchinson.
Ridley IP R H BB SO
Pollag, L 1.1 9 4 4 3
Bollinger 2.2 2 5 0 0
Anderson, W 4 1 4 1 4
Mayock 1 0 0 0 1
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