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Upper Dublin starts fast, holds off Oxford in District 1-5A semifinals

Upper Dublin pitcher Austin Dahl celebrates the final out of a 6-5 win over Oxford Friday. (Ed Morlock/MediaNews Group)

UPPER DUBLIN >> For the second time in as many district playoff games, Upper Dublin’s offense got off to a fast start. And for the second time in as many district playoff games, the top-seeded Cardinals added an insurance run later on.

In the District 1-5A quarterfinals against West Chester East Wednesday, the fourth-inning run didn’t effect the final outcome.

In the semifinals against No. 12 Oxford Friday afternoon, the sixth-inning run was the difference.

The late insurance run gave the Cardinals a three-run lead heading into the seventh inning. The defending District 1-5A champions surrendered two runs in the top of the final frame and let the tying run reach second base, but Austin Dahl completed his two-inning save with a strikeout to give Upper Dublin a 6-5 win over Oxford at Upper Dublin High School.

Upper Dublin catcher Joe Levis against Oxford Friday. (Ed Morlock/MediaNews Group)

The Cardinals led, 5-3, in the bottom of the sixth when Bryce Greiner led off with a single. Nate Cairnes entered as a pinch runner and moved to second on a Bobby Keck single and advanced to third on a Jared Levis bunt. Oxford tried to pick Cairnes off third base, but the ball hit him and went into left field, allowing Cairnes to score easily and extend the lead to three, 6-3.

After Dahl had a perfect sixth inning, he allowed the Hornets first two batters to reach base in the seventh. He responded with a strikeout and got a pop up to third base to get within one out of victory. He was within one strike of victory and appeared to have it, but the pitch was called a ball. Later that at-bat, Oxford’s Cole Jennings sent a two-run double to left field, making it 6-5 and putting the tying run in scoring position.

Dahl responded again, getting a strikeout to end the game and send his team back to the District 1-5A championship game.

“I can’t let them rattle me in-game if (the strike) isn’t called,” Dahl, who struck out three batters to one walk in two innings, said. “I just forget about it, face the next batter and get him out.”

Upper Dublin jumped out to an immediate 5-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Dahl, Paul Stoffel and Greiner had RBI singles while Aidan McCarthy hit a sacrifice fly. Dahl also scored on an error to build the early comfortably lead.

“It seems like we’re an ambush team,” Upper Dublin coach Ed Wall said, referencing the five first-inning runs Friday and four first-inning runs Wednesday. “That first inning we’re all over it. I liked the way that we continued to hit the ball, though. Some of those outs we made were some of the best hits those kids had all season. Austin (Dahl) hitting that one to deep right field, Joe (Levis) hitting one to deep left field in the air. Stoffel – we pelted the outfield, but that’s baseball. We grinded another run, thank God, right there at the end for that plus-one that obviously was a huge help here.”

“Maybe it’s the pregame talks we get,” Dahl said. “Jumping on them early really, really helps us a lot because if we didn’t have that first inning, this would be a totally different game. Those starts really help us a lot during the game.”

Oxford had a chance to get right back into the game with the bases loaded, one out and the top of their order up in the top of the second inning. Upper Dublin starter Jacob Cornbluth got a grounder to second base, where Stoffel flipped to shortstop Jared Levis to start a double play. McCarthy completed the inning-ender with a scoop at first base.

“There were a couple jams that Cornbluth worked out of there,” Wall said. “That’s the football player mentality that he brings. The kid’s a linebacker by trade and he has that type of mentality out there on the mound, too. He’s such a resilient, smart kid. If he didn’t know, I knew he was going to work his way out.”

Upper Dublin pitcher Jacob Cornbluth threw 3 1/3 innings against Oxford Friday. (Ed Morlock/MediaNews Group)

Cornbluth earned the win, throwing 3 1/3 innings. He struck out one batter to five walks and allowed two runs on four hits.

Wes Gill came on in relief and threw 1 2/3 innings. He tallied one strikeout to one walk and allowed one run on one hit.

“Gotta give credit to our pitchers,” Wall said. “Cornbluth with the start and Wes coming in and doing a job then Dahl closing it out. Two sophomores at the end there did a great job for us.”

Oxford added single runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings. Danny Wyatt hit a sacrifice fly, Asher Williston an RBI groundout and Jennings,who went 4-for-4, an RBI single. The Cardinals limited the damage and maintained a 5-3 lead by leaving the bases loaded in the fourth and runners on second and third in the fifth.

“The big inning is what we feast on and every team obviously,” Wall said, “but if we can limit them to one run – that’s huge. Our guys will bend, but not break. It’s good to see the resiliency of us.”

The Cardinals will face No. 3 Strath Haven in the championship game Tuesday.

Upper Dublin 6, Oxford 5
Oxford 001 110 2 – 5
Upper Dublin 500 001 x – 6
WP: Jacob Cornbluth 3.1 IP 1 K 5 BB 4 H 2 R
LP: Thomas Matuszewski 5 IP 1 K 1 BB 9 H 6 R
S: Austin Dahl 2 IP 3 K 1 BB 2 H 2 R
2B: O: Landon Rozich, Cole Jennings 2. UD: Eric Berman.



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