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District 1 Class 5A Baseball: O’Brien’s walk-off hit boosts Marple Newtown into states

Marple Newtown is returning to the state tournament. Jimmy O’Brien’s heroics at the plate propelled the fifth-seeded Tigers to a 2-1 walk-off victory over No. 7 West Chester East Tuesday.

The Tigers are the third and final team from District 1 to qualify for next week’s PIAA tournament.

O’Brien’s clutch hit in the bottom of the seventh chased home courtesy runner Justin DiBona with the winning run. Justin Smith and Ryan Straub ignited a one-out rally with back-to-back singles. Straub dropped a sacrifice bunt, beat out the throw to first.

Owen Mathes pitched a complete game with four strikeouts for the Tigers.  Justin Brennan put the Tigers ahead in the bottom of the first with a leadoff home run.

The seniors on this year’s Marple Newtown team were freshmen when the club became the first baseball team in Delaware County to win a PIAA championship.

Matt Dowger was the tough-luck losing pitcher for East. He allowed six hits and two walks while striking out seven. Dowger evened the score at 1-1 with a solo jack in the sixth inning.

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