PHILADELPHIA >> The Bicentennial Athletic League may be comprised of the area’s smaller schools, but Wednesday afternoon its contingent was a big reason the Suburban One League National/Bicentennial side advanced the Carpenter Cup Classic quarterfinals.
MaST Charter’s Matt Carter broke a 3-3 tie in the top of the fifth with a two-run triple while Philip Stahl of Holy Ghost Prep capped a three-run seventh with his two-RBI single as SOL National/BAL pulled away from Chester County for a 9-4 victory in the first round of the tournament at the UYA Showcase Field at FDR Park in Philadelphia.
“Well I think like three of our five pitchers used today were all from the BAL, so that was nice to see too. We got some nice pitchers in our league,” Dock Mennonite’s Dan Sabath said. “Yeah, we sometimes go underrepresented but I think we did a good job showing where we’re from.”
— Mike Cabrey (@mpcabrey) June 14, 2017
SOL National/Bicentennial collected hits in seven of the nine innings and finished with 11 on the day as it moves on to face Olympic Colonial — a 6-2 winner over Burlington County in Wednesday’s first game — back at FDR Park 9 a.m. Monday.
“I say this all the time, the starters vs. starters is kind of a wash for every team,” said National/BAL head coach Joe Pesci, who has Pennsbury in the PIAA 6A final against Dallastown Friday in State College. “We’re so deep, it’s always that next group that comes in that are the ones that really make the difference. And we might start the same guys, we might rotate different guys in, but we feel like we’re really deep.”
Sabath was the first of the three Bicentennial pitchers, throwing three solid innings. The right-hander heading to Philadelphia University gave up an unearned run in the first but did not allow a hit in throwing scoreless frames in the second and third.
“I threw a lot of fastballs,” Sabath said. “I don’t think I threw any offspeed today — actually I threw two offspeed pitches, but other than that it was all fastball. I was just trying to locate.”
Plumstead Christian’s Brock Hewitt earned the win for SOL National/BAL, coming in for Sabath in the fourth and giving up three runs — two earned — on three hits in 2 2/3 innings. He walked two and struck out three.
Ben Christian of Methacton took the loss for Chester County. Christian allowed two runs – both earned — on three hits in pitching the fourth and fifth innings. He walked one and struck out four.
Chester County used seven pitchers, five surrendering at least a run while Unionville’s Nick Samulewicz and Phoenixville’s Kevin Cushing each threw one scoreless inning.
It was the fifth straight loss for Chester County in the Carpenter Cup first round, with Wednesday the second time during that span SOL National/BAL bounced Chester in the opener — 2014 being the other. SOL National/BAL, meanwhile, looks to reach its fourth consecutive semifinal with a win Monday.
“Make it to The Bank. That’s pretty much what it is,” said Sabath of reaching Citizens Bank Park, which hosts the semifinals and title game. “As long as we get there, I mean, the rest is just fun.”
National/BAL erased an early 1-0 deficit with a pair of runs in the second on RBI singles from Brett Sternberg (Holy Ghost Prep) and Josh Kim (Council Rock South) then went up 3-1 in the third on an RBI ground out by Valley Forge Baptist’s Kasey Caras.
In the fourth, Chester County pulled even 3-3 as Conor Smith (Methacton) hit a two-out RBI double into left field then scored when Coatesville’s Nathan Valenta singled on the next at-bat.
But National/BAL took the lead for good in the top of the fifth. Neshaminy’s Brian Nicolas led off the inning with a single. Wit two outs, Caras singled and took second on an error to bring up Carter, who plate both Nicholas and Caras with his triple to right center.
“Well, I was in a hitter’s count, I figured it was a 2-1 count or 2-0 count and he left a fastball over the outer half of the plate and I took it the other way,” Carter said.
Chester County got a run back in the bottom of the fifth as Methacton’s Demetrio Rodriguez — who led off with an infield single — score from third due to an throwing error as Unionville’s Theron Schilling stole second. Chester loaded the bases with two outs later in the inning, but a fly out kept National/BAL up 5-4.
SOL National/BAL added some cushion with three runs in the seventh. With the bases loaded, a wild pitch enabled Devon Prep’s Tyler Wright to score. Stahl’s two-out, two-RBI base hit extended the advantage to 8-4.
The lead went to 9-4 in the eighth on an RBI sacrifice fly by Holy Ghost’s Mark Seibert.
“We were really hitting the ball,” Carter said. “They offense really got moving. They starters really got moving then the bench came in, really killed it. Just came in, scored nine runs. That’s a lot of runs.”
Chester’s lone lead of the afternoon came in the bottom of the first. Phoenixville’s Nick Opalkowski led off by reaching on an error. Sabath got two outs on a fly out and strike out but Opalkowski’s fellow Phantom Luke LeBeau connected on a double to center for a 1-0 lead.
“That was far,” said Sabath of LeBeau’s double. “But yeah, good hit in his part. Ran back across the plate and then smacked it.”
Top Photo: SOL National/BAL players exchange fist bumps of good luck during their Carpenter Cup first round game against Chester County on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. (Rachel Wisniewski/For Digital First Media)