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Pennridge pitching shuts down Souderton

LOWER SALFORD >> Early in the high school baseball season, it’s not hard to argue that pitching is ahead of hitting.

It’s the first week of May, but there’s an argument there that it’s still the case, at least after the last week of weather. With constant rains and wet fields prompting postponements, reschedules, cancellations and even a couple of start-and-then-stop-right-away games, there hasn’t been much baseball played recently.

Thursday, Pennridge and Souderton finally got back out on the field and despite the best efforts of coaches to get gym time, set up batting practice and put some work in, it’s still tough. So to no great surprise, the Rams and Indians did not have a high-scoring game. But thanks to a terrific pitching effort and a couple of timely hits, Pennridge was able to claim a 4-0 win at the Harleysville Community Center.

Dan Long of the Rams gets the first run during their game against Souderton today.

Pennridge’s Dan Long scores the Rams’ first run during their game against Souderton on Thursday, May 5, 2016. (Jeff Davis/For Digital First Media)

Hurlers Andrew Mayhew, Dan Long and Nate Coyle combined for a two-hit shutout while the offense took advantage of its limited opportunities against Big Red ace Aaron Gulibon in his five innings.

“Danny and Mayhew have almost the same velocity,” Rams junior catcher Joe Robinson said. “Danny has a dirty curveball, it moves a crazy amount. It’s different, it throws (the opponent) off a little bit, you see Mayhew one inning, Danny one inning than Nate comes in as a little bit of a different pitcher.”

Mayhew was making his first start in over a month but looked like he hadn’t missed any time at all in his three innings of work. The junior righty was on a pitch count in the 30-35 range per Rams (10-5, 6-3 SOL Continental) coach Tom Nuneviller and the coaches only expected two innings.

But he was so efficient, retiring the side in order in each of his three innings, Mayhew was able to give them a little more while striking out six of the nine he faced. Long followed, pitching the fourth, fifth and sixth and managing to strike out seven while giving up the only two Souderton (8-6, 6-4 SOL) hits of the game. Coyle came in for the final inning and shut down the side in order to seal the win.

“We were looking at what do we do next (after Mayhew’s turn) and Danny wanted the baseball,” Nuneviller said. “If he wants the ball, he’s a competitor and he wants it so we’re going to let him have it. I was glad we got a couple runs in the last inning so Nate Coyle, who pitched a great game against Souderton the last time out could come back around and get the last three outs.”

Gulibon was very good himself, allowing two runs, one unearned in five innings, striking out nine batters against three walks. Nuneviller said the lefty is in the conversation for the top arm in the SOL Continental and noted facing Gulibon was a tall task for his team coming off an unwanted week off from games.

First baseman Thylar Summarell going for the tag during their game against Pennridge today.

Souderton first baseman Thylar Summarell goes for the tag during the Indians’ game against Pennridge on Thursday, May 5, 2016. (Jeff Davis/For Digital First Media)

Pennridge’s hitters did do a good job of making Gulibon work, loading the bases in the first inning and battling the pitcher into long at-bats. That all came to fruition in the third inning when Robinson came up with Long on second and ripped a long single to right that scored the Monmouth recruit for the eventual winning run.

“I knew he had a good curveball and I had two strikes on me so I knew a curveball was coming or something outside,” Robinson said. “I saw it out of his hand, stayed with it and followed my hands through. I had an idea because you can see it out of his hand right away so I was just looking at his hand.”

Pennridge got a second run in the fifth after Andrew Horne’s two-out single. Kyle Yoder had taken a turn around third and stopped to scramble back on the relay throw, but a Souderton fielder tried to gun him down and overthrew the bag, allowing Yoder to zip home for a 2-0 lead.

Robinson’s bat helped create a run in the seventh when he grounded into a fielder’s choice and Andrew Fantaskey was able to get in just ahead of the throw home, a call the Souderton bench did not see eye-to-eye with. Horne then provided the final margin with a sac fly to score Long from third.

The next two weeks will likely be very taxing for teams’ pitching with the potential for four or even five-game weeks. Of course, it’s also supposed to rain again Friday.

“We’ve been in the gym so much it felt like the offseason honestly,” Robinson said. “We’ve been in the gym, in the cage, hitting off a tee and doing bullpen so to be able to get back out and put up 4-0, that’s great for the team and great momentum to carry into CB South, if hopefully we get to play tomorrow.”



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