ABINGTON >> Thursday afternoon’s District 1 Class 6A fifth-place game between Avon Grove and Abington showed the value of a deep roster. Avon Grove had multiple players filling in for starters and a few others playing out of position while the host Ghosts used their entire roster.
In the end, Avon Grove earned fifth place with a 13-7 win in a game that featured nine pitchers being used between the two teams.
The Red Devils (17-6) head into Monday’s PIAA opening round against District 11 champion Bethlehem Liberty at a time and place to be determined. Abington will face District 3 winner Cedar Cliff.
“We talk all the time about the value of everyone on the roster and that everyone has value,” Avon Grove coach John Bellaver said. “ Today, we used a freshman catcher in Josh Reynolds, and he did a great job. Our pitchers did a great job and our last pitcher was a freshman, Ryan Fuller. He is just figuring out what it takes to pitch at the varsity level and his stuff today was electric. He did a great job getting us out of a big jam.”
Fuller was the fourth pitcher of the game for the Red Devils. He came in with the bases loaded for the Ghosts (13-9) in the bottom of the sixth charged with protecting a 9-7 lead.
All Fuller did was strike out the next three Abington hitters with some real gas on his fastball to escape.
Avon Grove banged out 12 hits on the day. One of the the big hitters was sophomore Ken Askin, who collected three hits, including an RBI double during a four-run second. Askin also started the game-clinching rally in the seventh.
“I was seeing the ball real well today,” Askin said. “We wanted to win this game to keep our momentum going heading into the state playoffs next week. We have been playing very good after wins this year and we wanted to keep going after we beat a real good Coatesville team the other night. Everybody was hitting today and it gets contagious.”
Askin stroked a hard single off Jack Caplan, the fifth Abington pitcher of the game. Josh Parsons followed with a sacrifice bunt to move Askin to second.
Caplan then walked Reynolds and Jon LeSturgeon to load the bases. Up stepped the dangerous Trevor Dosenbach, who unloaded a moon shot to deep center field for a two-run double and a 11-7 lead.
Owen Yoder knocked in the third run of the inning by grounding out to second base, scoring LeSturgeon. Trent Dosenbach ripped a single to plate his brother, Trevor, and the Red Devils had a 13-7 lead in the wild affair.
Fuller went back to the mound to close the game out. The freshman struck out the first two batters in the inning. After a walk to Mike Harley, Fuller ended the marathon game by getting Kaplan to fly out to left field.
“We pitched a lot of guys that had not pitched in a while,” Abington coach Bill Degen said. “And we moved some guys up from our junior varsity team to get them some experience at the varsity level because you never know when injuries are going to pop up.”
Avon Grove 13, Abington 7
Avon Grove 040 122 4-13
Abington 203 00 2 0-7
2B-Askin, Trevor Dosenbach, Mills, Parsons.