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WC Henderson holds of Downingtown West rally to win opener

WEST CHESTER>> In the season opener for both baseball teams Tuesday afternoon at Bob Owens Field, West Chester Henderson and Downingtown West put on quite a show.

Henderson jumped out to an 11-2 lead after six innings and then had to withstand a furious Downingtown West rally to hold on for a thrilling 11-8 win.

The Whippets (0-1 Ches-Mont, 0-1 overall) scored six runs on five hits, including a long two run homer from Jay Slater and brought the tying run to the plate in pinch hitter Mark Diottavio, who flied out to center field to end the game and the Warriors let out a very big sigh of relief.

The Warriors (1-0 Ches-Mont, 1-0 overall) rode the superlative five inning starting pitching performance from Eric Lintleman to get out to the big lead.

West committed four errors in the first inning behind pitcher Drew Turner, that allowed four Warriors runs to score and put the Whippets up against it right off the bat behind 4-0 after one inning.

“I really liked the way we battled back in the seventh inning and we did some good things at the plate,” Downingtown West coach Scott Rambo said. “But we will not beat anybody if we field the ball like we did in the first inning. We need to be better that that.”

Lintleman allowed just three hits and one run, striking out six Whippets in his five innings of work. Lintleman was through after five innings and 71 pitches and left with a  10-1 lead and it looked like the Warriors would cruise to the easy win. Not so fast said the Whippets.

Nick Cugino came in to relieve for the Warriors and the Whippets scored a run in the top of the sixth inning to make it a 10-2 game. The Warriors had gotten a big two run homer from Marcus Gustaffson in the bottom of the fourth inning to take what looked like an insurmountable lead.

Henderson had chances to end the game in the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings with men on base but could not get the big hit to end the game via the mercy rule. So, the teams went to the top of the seventh inning with the Warriors up 10-2.

“We really had a lot of run support today,” Cugino said. “And we graduated a lot of bats from last year so it was good to see us hit the ball so well. It is real early in the season and we had a chance to end the game but we had to end up in a battle. I felt good out on the mound but my pitches were not landing where I wanted them to.”

The Whippets sent 12 men to the plate in the top of the seventh inning and the Warriors used four pitchers to try to quell the Whippets late rally. The inning started off with a Warriors error that was followed by singles from Ryan Note and Quinn Henicle.

Greyson Kovatch smoked a double and after Cooper young hit a sacrifice fly, Slater poled one over the left field fence and the Whippets were knocking on the door of an incredible comeback.

Dalton Downie and Note both walked and Warriors coach Luke McNichol went to infielder Pete Omridis to try to finally end the Whippets charge.

Omridis did his job as he induced Diotttavio to fly out to finally end the game and the defending Ches-Mont National Division champs had an opening day win.

“Eric was really good for us today,” McNichol said. “He gave us everything he had and then we burned some pitching that we probably would not have used if we ended the game. When you get the chance to end the game you have to do it. But these Ches-Mont League games are always battles and it is going to be like this all season.”

WC Henderson 11, Downingtown West 8

Downingtown West  001 001 6-8
WC Henderson        400 421 x-11
2B-Kovatch, Cugino. HR-Slater, Gustafson.
WP-Lintleman. LP-Turner.



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