UPPER CHICHESTER >> Will Hoysgaard felt something early. Pat McDermott felt something late.
And because of what it all meant to a 4-2 Radnor baseball victory over host Chichester Tuesday, it all gave Mark Jordan a pretty good feeling in the PIAA District One Class AAA tournament.
Hoysgaard is the junior left-hander who struck out seven in 6.1 innings to help the Raiders win for the seventh time in eight games and move to within a game of a spot in the state tournament. He had a sense during warmups that his location was accurate, his velocity strong, his arm loose.
McDermott is the third baseman who knew when he connected on a seventh-inning pitch that the ball would go a long way, which it did, good for a double and an insurance RBI.
And Jordan is the manager who guided the Raiders through a rough 0-5 start to win a spot in the semifinals Thursday against No. 1-seeded Holy Ghost Prep at a neutral site.
Hoysgaard was efficient into the seventh, when he allowed a one-out walk to Jason Ribeiro and switched positions with left-fielder Andrew Austen. Austen surrendered a hit to Bobby Jones, but coaxed Pete Moseley into a game-ending double play, with McDermott making a difficult stop, stepping on third and throwing to first.
“Pretty entertaining, huh?” Jordan said, smiling.
It’s what happens when just about everything goes as planned, even on a day when Chichester enjoyed strong pitching and a late rally of its own.
Though Jordan didn’t necessarily want to go to his bullpen Tuesday, he was OK with getting Austen loose before appointing him as the Raiders’ starter for the Holy Ghost game. By then, Hoysgaard had done plenty.
“I felt really good,” said Hoysgaard, who mixed in a second-inning single of his own. “I felt good warming up and was able to locate my stuff today. So it worked out. In warmups, I feel different on days when I don’t pitch better. I was just able to locate my fastball and get it down, being able to throw my change-up and have a tail, and just be able to locate everything pretty well.”
Hoysgaard needed to be sharp, as Chichester starter Ryan Janvier would keep the Raiders scoreless through four. The right-hander finally was touched for an infield hit by Connor Wilson, an Austen single into center and an RBI dribbler toward the mound from Matt Schaefer.
But Chichester, which battled to an 11-8 season, answered with a two-run bottom of the fifth. Pinch-hitter Joey Renzi started the rally with a sharp pinch single, and pinch-runner Jared Sullivan provided one of the Eagles’ six stolen bases. Bobby Jones survived on a fielder’s choice, and scored with Sullivan on Pete Moseley’s two-run single to left.Moseley would finish with two hits, a walk, a stolen base and two RBIs.
Radnor, however, continued to play as it had since that slow start, taking a 3-2 lead in the sixth. Jack DeShan was hit by a pitch, and pinch-runner Jack Lee stole second and scored on an infield error. McDermott stayed alive on a fielder’s choice, stole second and rolled home on a Sean Mullarkey two-out hit to right.
“Two-out runs get you to heaven,” Jordan said.
The Raiders were thankful for one more of those in the seventh when Martin Connor drew a two-out walk, stole second and scored easily on McDermott’s bomb to deep left. That gave Radnor the 4-2 lead and made the bottom of the seventh less stressful.
“That one felt good coming off the bat,” McDermott said, smiling. “When we got Connor Wilson back earlier in the season, it kind of helped round out our lineup. We started playing more as a team. Stuff just started flowing better, off the field and on the field. And it helps having two good lefties at the top of the rotation.”
The Raiders will need the momentum and the pitching to continue to roll, with Holy Ghost and pitcher Nolan Jones, said to be a major-league prospect, next.
“This is our fourth straight year of winning a playoff game,” Jordan said. “We are excited for our seniors to have that feather in their cap. But we lost in the second round each time. So guess what? We’re playing Holy Ghost Prep, defending district champs on Thursday, and it will be Andrew’s ball and we’re going to give it all we’ve got.”
“He did his job,” Chi manager Dan Singley said of Hoysgaard. “He kept us off balance a little bit. We hit the ball hard and they made their plays. I’m proud of my kids. … We came back nice and they answered and we didn’t answer. So that’s something that we need to do.”
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