FRAZER – Some days, you just have to tip your hat to the opposition, but especially when the ball is bouncing their way.
Marple Newtown’s Cinderella Season continued Thursday, June 9 at the expense of District 1 runner-up Council Rock North. The Tigers strung four hits – all singles – together off Indians starter Gavin Ferrandino, scoring three runs in the top of the second inning. That was all the District 1 fifth-place finisher needed as Marple Newtown (20-7) outpaced the Rock 3-1 at Immaculata University.
Tigers starter Ricky Collings went all seven innings for the opponent, limiting the Indians to a lone run in the sixth inning on just four hits, none of which went for extra bases.
In the end, the Council Rock bats that produced just six runs in its last four battles including two in states, could not come through with the firepower needed to match Marple, which produced eight hits including a double and left eight men on base.
Much the same way he pitched the Central League co-champion Tigers into states with a District 1 playback win over Spring-Ford, Collings fanned only three batters but he sure knew how to get ahead in the count.
“We faced some really good pitching this postseason. That kid today was throwing all strikes,” stated CR North senior right-hander C.J Kilgariff, who threw four scoreless in the game. “We were putting the ball in play and they were making all the plays so hats off to them.”
“They threw strikes and they made every play.”
Yes, Marple did. With the Rock trailing, 3-0, in the third inning, center fielder Jackson Parker laced a sinking liner that Luke Cantwell made a diving stab on to end the frame.
With a runner on second base in the fourth inning, Chase D’Arcangelo fouled a ball off to what looked to be out of play but second baseman Cam Mathes threw his glove over the photographer’s pit next to North’s dugout and ended that inning.
With two outs in the fifth, Matt Shenot’s grounder between first base and the mound could have been trouble. But Tigers first baseman Cory Woodcock picked the ball up and flipped it to Collings, who made a bare-handed grab a split second before Shenot arrived at the bag.
In the last inning, with North (21-5) desperately looking for baserunners, left fielder James Closser laced a ball down the right field line that, on another day, might go for a double. This time, the ball hit first base and bounced perfectly into Woodcock’s glove, who raced Closser to the bag for the second out.
“It felt like nothing we did was right,” commented Indians head coach Matt Schram. “They had it all – catching the ball over the railing. Every fly ball that we hit went right at them.”
When Juliano Kovalcik’s hit to right field fell in for a two-base error with two outs in the seventh inning, you thought, “maybe.”
But Collings retired Kellen Pecuch on a grounder to third to send Marple ahead to the state semifinals on Monday June 13 when it will face District 7 runner-up Plum, a 5-0 winner over District 7 rival Hempfield.
The Tigers had just one multiple hitter and that was designated hitter Brian Reynolds who was hitting out of the number eight spot. His two-run single with the bases loaded was all Marple needed to win this one though Woodcock added a bunt single that put the Tigers on top, 3-0.
It was a deficit from which the Rock would never recover.
NOTES: After losing to eventual District 1 champion Pennridge in the D-1 quarterfinals, Marple Newtown made its way to states with playback wins over Perkiomen Valley (5-2) and Spring-Ford (4-1) … The Tigers opened states with a 4-2 win over District 3 champ Ephrata while the Rams lost 2-0 to District 3 third-place finisher Cumberland Valley … Council Rock North scored just three runs in states and three in its last two District 1 playoffs.
Contact Steve Sherman at ssherman@21st-Centurymedia.com or @BucksLocalSport on Twitter
Marple Newtown 3, Council Rock North 1
(June 9 at Immaculata University)
WP — Ricky Collings 7IP, 1R, 4H, 1BB, 3SO; LP — Gavin Ferrandino 3IP, 3R, 4H, 1BB, 2SO
MULTIPLE HITS: MN — Brian Reynolds 2-for-3; CRN — none.
EXTRA-BASE HITS: MN — Alden Mathes 2B; CRN — none.
RBI: MN — Reynolds 2, Woodcock; CRN — Jared Schram.