CALN >> The Ches-Mont National Division baseball title was not won Thursday night at Coatesville High School, but West Chester Henderson came very close.
After the Warriors’ 5-3 win over Coatesville, all Henderson (13-5 overall, 13-3 Ches-Mont) needs to clinch the championship is a victory in one of their last two games, or a Coatesville loss today (Friday) at Sun Valley.
Thursday evening, the Warriors rode a complete game gem from junior pitcher Jackson Snyder and played long ball with home runs by Dean O’Neill and Eddie Smink to jet out to a 4-0 lead, before hanging on to defeat Coatesville (12-5) and end the Red Raiders’ eight game winning streak.
“On the home run, I hit a fastball a little up,” O’Neill said. “Winning the Ches-Mont championship would affirm all the hard work we put into every practice every day. We practice so hard on execution and we did that tonight.”
Coatesville’s Will Dean set down the first nine Henderson batters as the Red Raider hurler blew through the first three innings. But in the fourth frame, the Warrior bats came alive in a big way.
Kevin Wheeler led off with a bunt single and scored when O’Neil lofted a towering home run to deep center field. Before the Warriors were done congratulating O’Neill, Smink hit a hard line drive home run to left field to make it a 3-0 game. The Warriors added another run in the inning and it was a 4-0 Warrior lead going to the bottom of the fourth inning.
Coatesville came right back to score a run in the bottom of the fourth when Matt Stout ripped an RBI single to center field.
The Red Raiders made things more interesting in the bottom of the fifth when Harrison Susi hit a moon shot to dead center field and all of a sudden the Warrior lead was down to 4-2.
West Chester Henderson was not done scoring, as the Warriors got a leadoff double from O’Neill in the top of the sixth inning. Smink then singled to put men on first and third with no one out. Brett McCartney walked and O’Neill scored when the ball got by the Red Raider catcher for a 5-2 West Chester Henderson lead.
Meanwhile, Snyder set the potent Red Raider lineup down in order in the bottom of the sixth inning, getting a ground ball out and two lazy fly ball outs. Snyder allowed seven hits while striking out eight Red Raiders and did not walk a Coatesville batter.
“My catcher (Owen McCarthy) did a great job on some iffy pitches framing them for strikes,” Snyder said. “And my curveball was working very well tonight for me. Winning the Ches-Mont championship would mean a lot going into districts with a league title under our belts.”
Coatesville, down 5-2 going to the bottom of the seventh inning, did not go down without a fight. Marc Garcia led off with a sharp single to center field and that was followed by a single from Dean to put men on first and second with no one out.
Joe Boccio then put a charge into a Snyder fastball that was run down in right field for the first out. Susi lofted a sacrifice fly to left field to close the gap to 5-3. Snyder got Spencer Ferguson to ground out to second base and the Warriors could feel the Ches-Mont title almost in their grasp.
“Our goal coming into the season is to be playing after they tell us our season is supposed to end,” West Chester Henderson coach Luke McNichol said. “You play 18 league games and its nice to be on top when it is over, going into the Districts, so yes it would be a great thing to win the Ches-Mont.”
West Chester Henderson 5, Coatesville 3
WC Henderson 000 401 0-5
Coatesville 000 110 1-3
2B-Ferguson, Rickabaugh, O’Neill.
HR-Susi, O’Neill, Smink.
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