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Trip to semis worth wait for Furman, Catholic League

PHILADELPHIA >> As a starter, Steve Furman could only sit and watch the final innings Friday at Richie Ashburn Field.

But when the final outs ticked away and the Bonner & Prendergast catcher could celebrate a 5-2 win with his Philadelphia Catholic League teammates over Delaware South, the sense of accomplishment for the senior was as profound as anyone’s in the dugout.

Furman, in his third Carpenter Cup Classic, finally gets a chance to play at Citizens Bank Park in Tuesday’s semifinals. Add in older brother, Danny, an All-Delco who took part as a junior and senior in 2012-13, and the Furmans have spanned all four installments since the Catholic League last made the semifinals in 2011.

“It’s awesome,” Steve Furman said. “Every year, I make sure I try to come out with the rest of the Bonner guys so we can try to get here, and every year, guys are getting recruited and stuff, but the main goal is to make it to Citizens Bank.”

The Catholic League will take on Suburban One National/Bicentennial, the defending champion which edged Olympic Colonial, 3-2. That’s the first semifinal at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Furman played a part in the win Friday with what proved to be the game-winning RBI. His fielder’s choice scored Roman Catholic’s Marquise Wood, the final tally of a three-run third that opened the scoring. Wood and La Salle’s Gregg Sywulak also drove in runs that inning, and Furman added a stolen base. Sywulak’s teammate Langston Livingston, who scored in the inning, collected two hits.

Jeff Ciocco, who lifted the PIAA Class AA title with Neumann-Goretti a day earlier, worked the first two innings to get the win. Delaware South scored its runs off Bonner’s Evan Raiburn, pushing across single runs in the third and fourth, but Raiburn held firm to hang on to a 3-2 lead after four frames.

The next six outs were recorded by Archbishop Carroll sophomore James Kelly, who struck out two and walked two without allowing a hit.

The Catholic League tacked on two insurance runs in the eighth. Andrew Cosetti of La Salle provided an RBI fielder’s choice, while Carroll outfielder Nick Argentieri singled and scored on a wild pitch.

The progress to the semis validates mentalities like Furman’s, where top players in the league want to fly the flag and battle for bragging rights at the premier area tournament. That dedication will be rewarded with a distinct honor Tuesday.

“We know a lot of people from playing against them throughout the year, and it’s good to see people and try to beat them, but also team up with the guys we played during the year,” Furman said. “Just one time, we can all be teammates and try to get a championship.”

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