Delco Baseball: Jackson, Merrin team up to keep Chichester undefeated

RADNOR – Monday was a pretty good day for Chichester’s starting battery.

Senior pitcher Aaron Jackson and senior catcher Ian Merrin, at the plate and in the field, were essential to the Eagles’ 13-4 victory over Archbishop Carroll.

After allowing a first-inning grand slam off the bat of Jaylen Tidwell, Jackson was in control on the mound. He allowed those four runs, but gave up nothing the rest of the way, leaning on a well-located fastball and curve. Jackson finished with eight strikeouts over six innings.

“I knew I had to calm down and throw some strikes and get out of that (first) inning for my team,” Jackson said. “I know we have a good lineup and I have trust in my teammates. I think the most important thing is having trust in everyone.”

Chichester pitcher Aaron Jackson struck out eight in six innings of work Monday at Archbishop Carroll. (PETE BANNAN-DAILY TIMES)

Merrin was 3-for-4 with a triple and an RBI. He also threw out a runner trying to swipe second base. On the triple Merrin, who isn’t known for his fleet feet, was aided by an ill-advised diving attempt by the center fielder.

“I don’t have the mobile legs, I’m not the fastest guy,” Merrin said. “(The outfielder) kind of Brandon Marsh’d it. That’s what I said. I was thinking of going home, but then I slid a little early into third.”

The three-bagger drove in a run to give Chi a 7-4 advantage. Merrin scored his team’s eighth run on a balk.

Without question the best team in the Del Val League, Chichester (5-0) loaded up its nonleague schedule against good programs including Carroll (4-4) and The Haverford School (12-1). They treat these games like they are the playoffs, and rightfully so. They should be prepared for battle come District 1 tournament time.

“One-hundred percent,” Merrin said. “Every action is to make a statement. Every at bat, every play.”

The Eagles erased the 4-1 deficit with four runs in the top of the second. Troy Neff (3-for-3, walk, four runs scored) and DJ Anderson (two RBIs) led off with back-to-back doubles. Josh Claycomb and Jason Hankins added run-scoring singles and the Eagles also plated a run on an error. Carroll pounded out 11 hits off three Carroll pitchers.

Carroll starter Tyler Fahringer gave up six runs (three earned) on six hits and struck out five in two-plus innings. Offensively, the sophomore Tidwell provided the team’s lone highlight with this grand slam over the left-field fence. Connor Keith singled twice.

Carroll resumes Catholic League play with a big game at Cardinal O’Hara Thursday.

“We had four mandatory days off and we came back and just didn’t play well, simple as that,” Carroll coach Jonathan Grosse said. “I tell them all the time, if we play good we have a chance to win and if we don’t we’re going to lose. That was the case today. We played bad and we lost.”

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