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Broderick throws complete game, Spring-Ford cruises past Lower Merion in District 1-6A second round

Spring-Ford's Dylan Broderick delivers to Lower Merion during the second round of the District 1-6A baseball tournament at Ram Stadium on May 24. (Evan Wheaton - MediaNews Group)

ROYERSFORD >> Dylan Broderick is no stranger to finishing what he starts.

Having already gone the distance in a no-hitter this season, the Chestnut Hill College-bound senior once again threw a complete game to open Spring-Ford’s run through the District 1 Class 6A tournament.

Behind Broderick’s seven-inning stay on the mound and disciplined at-bats from up and down their lineup, the top-seeded Rams defeated No. 17 Lower Merion, 12-3 at Ram Stadium on Wednesday.

With the win, Spring-Ford (19-3) advances to the District 1-6A quarterfinals and will host No. 8 Avon Grove, a 10-0 winner over No. 9 Upper Darby, on Friday at 4 p.m.

“The loss to Phoenixville definitely fueled us a lot. We’ve practiced hard, we had a lot of time off,” Broderick said, noting his club’s loss to Phoenixville during the Pioneer Athletic Conference Final Four. “It was easy to check out and be done with it, but we just had to stay focused. We knew if we came out here and played our game, we wouldn’t lose. So that’s what we did.”

Broderick struck out seven with three hits allowed over the course of 104 pitches. With the final nine-run cushion in hand and his team being three outs away from advancing, Broderick entered the top of the seventh inning with 91 pitches on his count.

After a leadoff walk, Broderick dialed back in, forcing two fly outs and a lineout to close his complete game without relief.

“We were up nine runs, we could’ve probably brought someone in when he was at 90 pitches, but he wants to finish. He’s a senior,” Rams coach Rick Harrison said. “Let him finish his job. And he did. Got a little close at the end and he wouldn’t be slated to pitch again until Tuesday, that’s six days rest. We’re just trying to instill that tough mentality.”

Spring-Ford’s Nick Flores puts the ball into play against Lower Merion during the second round of the District 1-6A baseball tournament at Ram Stadium on May 24. (Evan Wheaton – MediaNews Group)

While Broderick locked down the Aces (12-10) from the mound, Spring-Ford kept the pressure up at the plate right from the start. Two walks and a base hit from Broderick loaded the bases in the bottom of the first inning and from there, a walk and wild pitch brought home runs to lift the Rams up 2-0.

In the following inning, David Ruckman (2-for-4, four RBIs) and Virginia Commonwealth pledge Nick Moyer added a pair of RBI singles to give Spring-Ford a 4-1 lead after Lower Merion cut the game to one run, 2-1 off a sacrifice fly from Henry Rendle to score Matt Rinaldi in the top half.

Two wild pitches in the third and fourth innings gave the Aces their other two runs in the game. Over the next three frames, Broderick kept things air-tight with no Aces reaching third base while pitching a 1-2-3 sixth inning.

“They came out swinging the bats well, so I just stuck to the game plan,” Broderick said. “Threw strikes, hit my spots and executed.”

Riding a 4-2 lead, the Rams pulled away in the bottom of the third inning. Upon loading the bases with no outs, a wild pitch, RBI single from Gage Swanger (2-for-3, three runs, three RBIs) and two-run line drive from Ruckman doubled Spring-Ford’s output, 8-2.

Four straight one-out walks in the bottom of the fifth forced in a run and a player hit by a pitch forced in another to balloon the Rams’ lead to a 10-3 margin. Swanger added a two RBI single to center an inning later to close out the scoring.

“These guys have been together from the get-go,” Lower Merion coach Colin Quinn said. “They’ve supported each other, were positive for each other, cheering them on even in the seventh inning. Still cheering, still pumping each other up.”

Lower Merion’s Brody Slensky, right, slides back into first base to avoid being picked off by Spring-Ford’s Jacob Witmer, left, during the second round of the District 1-6A baseball tournament at Ram Stadium on May 24. (Evan Wheaton – MediaNews Group)

The Aces had good reason to keep the fire lit from their dugout. In its first postseason appearance since 2018, Lower Merion defeated No. 16 Neshaminy, 4-2 in the first round of the District 1-6A tournament, marking the first time in 18 years the program has won a playoff game.

In his second year at the helm of the Aces, Quinn credited Lower Merion’s senior class with helping to turn the program around after missing an entire season due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

“This group of seniors, they didn’t have a freshman season because it was the Covid year. For them to be able to come out to playoff baseball after really only getting three of the four years they should’ve had, it’s just a testament to their ability to overcome adversity,” Quinn said.

College of Charleston commit Drew Hollowell and Jack Scholz led the Aces at the plate all season with .362 batting averages, respectively. Sam Wright (.346) and Rendle (.304) also batted .300-plus for Lower Merion this season.

Lower Merion’s Henry Rendle (6) eyes a pitch from Spring-Ford’s Dylan Broderick during the second round of the District 1-6A baseball tournament at Ram Stadium on May 24. (Evan Wheaton – MediaNews Group)

Lehigh commit Van Willner (2.13 ERA) earned the win against Neshaminy in the previous round to send the Aces further than they’ve been since 2005.

“Their ability to just have a great baseball IQ and put that into action really made a huge difference this year,” Quinn said.

Spring-Ford is back in the district’s Elite 8 after exiting in the first round last year. In 2021, the Rams won the PAC Championship, reached the District 1-6A quarterfinals and made it all the way to the PIAA semifinals.

“We just have to continue to play with confidence,” Broderick said. “We know if we play our game, nobody’s going to beat us. The only team that can beat us is us. We have to stay confident, everyone does their jobs and we’ll win.”

Spring-Ford 12, Lower Merion 3


Lower Merion0111000332
Lower Merion Spring-Ford
ab r h bi ab r h bi
Scholz 3 1 0 0 Ruckman 4 0 2 4
Whright 3 0 0 0 Moyer 3 1 1 2
Hollowell 3 0 0 0 Flores 3 1 0 0
Rinaldi 3 1 1 0 Broderick 2 1 1 0
Whright 3 1 1 0 Witmer 2 2 0 1
Rendle 2 0 0 1 Korchok 2 2 0 0
Rogers 0 0 0 0 Swanger 3 3 2 3
Myers 3 0 0 0 McVey 3 1 1 0
Slensky 3 0 1 0 Cecconi 1 0 0 0
Totals 23 3 3 1 Totals 23 12 7 10

2B — Wright; 3B — Rinaldi.

Low. Merion
Whalen 0.1 1 2 2 3 0
Whright 2.2 4 6 2 2 4
Negron 1.1 0 2 2 3 0
Penn 1.2 2 2 2 3 1
Broderick 7 3 3 3 1 7



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