EAST MARLBOROUGH >> It was one heck of a varsity debut for Unionville pitcher Kenny Harten on Friday afternoon at Unionville High School. He came out of the bullpen in relief of starter Noah Benfer and threw three solid innings and struck out hot hitting Cole Callahan with a man on second base and two outs in the top of the seventh inning to preserve a 5-4 victory over Great Valley in a Ches-Mont League American Division game.
Unionville (2-2 Ches-Mont, 2-3 overall) scored a run in the bottom of the fifth inning when pinch-runner Levi Brawley stole second base, went to third when the ball went into the outfield, and came in on a wild pitch for the eventual winning run.
“I have been a starter and now my role will be as a reliever,” Harten said. “It is different because when you start, you have to pace things on the mound and now as a reliever, you have to go 100 percent. Today, my fastball was real good and the curve ball to end the game really broke and it buckled his knees. I do not change my approach when a man is on base. You have to keep attacking or bad things will happen.”
Unionville jumped out to a 4-0 lead after two innings against Great Valley (1-3,1-3-1) starter Callahan. Mason Coursey roped a two-run single to plate the first two runs in the first.
Unionville would plate another run in the inning to take a 3-0 lead. In the bottom of the second, Drew Delcollo laced an RBI single and it was 4-0 and it looked like the Longhorns were on their way to an easy win.
But, Great Valley came roaring back in the top of the third. Tyler Iams ripped a one-out single for the first hit off Benfer. After an error put two runners on, Callahan helped his own cause by ripping a two-run single to cut the deficti to 4-2.
Great Valley tied the game in the fifth. Iams worked a lead-off walk, then Unionville coach Chris Valis went to his bullpen for Harten. Callahan stroked a two-out, two-run single for his fourth RBI of the game to knot it at 4-4.
The Longhorns, who already recorded three stolen bases for the game, manufactured a run in the bottom of the fifth.
With one out, reliever Gus Warlick walked Nick Diehl. Brawley came in to run and promptly stole second. He went to third when the ball squirted into center field. Warlick then unleashed a wild pitch to the backstop that sent Brawley darting for the plate to break the deadlock and give Unionville a slim 5-4 lead going to the seventh.
“We like to be aggressive on the bases,” Valis said. “Sometimes we are too aggressive. But, we scored four runs in two innings and then we stopped. We have to find a way to keep the offense going. Our two young pitchers did a real good job for us. We needed this win because it puts us right back in the thick of things. I think our side of the league is wide open.”
With a one-run lead. Harten got the first two batters out in the inning. Then, Jack Clearfield roped a long double to center field, bringing up Callahan. Harten got two quick strikes and then threw a nasty curve to baffle Callahan to end the game.
The Longhorns earned a much needed win and Great Valley had its second tough one-run loss of the week.
“This is a great group of kids that are getting better each week,” Patriots coach Travis Turgeon said. “We had a couple of calls not go our way today. Sometimes you need a little luck to win these close games.”
Unionville 5, Great Valley 4
Great Valley 002 020 0-4
Unionville 310 001-x-5
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