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Plymouth Whitemarsh blanks Hatboro-Horsham, claims SOL American title

Plymouth Whitemarsh’s Joseph Jaconski is greeted rounding third base by coach Chris Manero after his solo home run against Hatboro-Horsham during their game on Wednesday,May 15, 2019. (Gene Walsh/MediaNews Group)

HORSHAM >> For weeks it’s been clear that the Suburban One League American Conference championship would come down to Plymouth Whitemarsh and Hatboro-Horsham meeting on the final day of the regular season.

That day finally came Wednesday — and the Colonials brought their best.

Plymouth Whitemarsh beat the Hatters, 6-0, at Hatboro-Horsham Senior High School to win the league title for the first time in 14 years.

“We’ve come a long way,” Colonials coach Chris Manero said. “Last year was a big step for us we made the playoffs, but to see how far we’ve come in just two years. Where we were two years ago (3-11) compared to where we are now (11-3) — that means a lot. There’s so many guys on this team that were on the team when things weren’t as good. They were ninth graders, they were 10th graders. They all deserve it. Some guys play a lot and some guys don’t. This means a lot to me for them. They’re the ones who have been here through the whole thing and I think they really understand how important that is for us as a program.”

“Crazy,” PW junior Ben Mascio added. “Everyone is really excited. If I was going to win the league, this is the group of guys I want to do it with.”

Plymouth Whitemarsh’s Ben Mascio delivers a pitch during the Colonials’ game against Hatboro-Horsham on Wednesday, May 15, 2019. (Gene Walsh/MediaNews Group)

Mascio was brilliant on the mound, as he has been all year. The left-hander threw a complete-game shutout, striking out six batters to one walk and allowing six hits — all singles.

“He is best in situations like this,” Manero said. “He really hasn’t missed a beat all year. I think he lost one league game and even that day he probably pitched good enough to win. Most impressive I think is the type of composure he now has and how far he’s grown compared to when he was younger. This is something he can now say, ‘Not only am I a great pitcher, but I’m a competitor and I know how to turn it on and channel that energy.’ Today he just did everything right. Can’t ask for anything more against a good lineup.”

Mascio was also impressive on the mound aside from just frustrating the Hatters batters. He picked a runner off first base in the first inning and fielded his position four times — including starting an inning-changing double play in the fourth.

The Colonials, who last won a league title in 2005 and their last outright league title coming in 1996, did most of their offensive damage early against one of the best pitchers in the league, Benny Wilson.

Jacob Nunez led off the bottom of the second inning with a groundout after fouling off four pitches and Anthony Tomassetti struck out for two outs with nobody on. Jesse Jaconski singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Michael Orensky doubled down the left field line to score Jaconski and make it 1-0.

“We tried to be a little more patient at times,” Manero said. “I think we had some really good at-bats where guys fought. We’ve been working a lot on that — on fighting pitches, on just putting the ball in play, on two-strike approach. I think it went back to Jacob Nunez’s at-bat where he had like a 10-pitch at-bat and then we started having more of those at-bats. Benny Wilson is an outstanding pitcher. Against any good pitcher you have to try to fight because nothing is going to come easy to you.”

Plymouth Whitemarsh’s Jacob Nunez tags out Hatboro Horsham’s Benny Wilson at second base during their game on Wednesday, May 15, 2019. (Gene Walsh/MediaNews Group)

PW took full control in the third inning.

Joe Jaconski led off the frame with an opposite-field solo home run, doubling the lead to 2-0.

Drew Kliesh was hit by a pitch, Kevin Reilly worked a walk and Mascio bunted both into scoring position. Nunez singled to score Kliesh and Tomassetti reached on an infield hit to bring home courtesy runner Michael Radzwilka and extend the lead to four, 4-0.

“Seeing a pitcher the second time is going to make it easier on the hitter,” Joe Jaconski, who also doubled on the first pitch of the game, said of seeing Wilson again. “We’ve seen his stuff. We saw him for five, six innings. We saw everything he has and we took that, we worked on that and we just took what he’s got and used it against him.”

Wilson, who beat Plymouth Whitemarsh earlier in the season, 7-2, exited the game after four innings. He allowed four runs on seven hits and struck out three batters to one walk.

Hatboro-Horsham’s Bradan Mallon at bat during the Hatters’ game against Plymouth Whitemarsh on Wednesday, May 15, 2019. (Gene Walsh/MediaNews Group)

Jackson Treski came on in relief and allowed two runs in three innings. He struck out five batters to one walk and gave up two hits.

“It wasn’t our typical game,” Hatters coach Pete Moore said. “First and foremost you have to give credit to PW. Chris runs a great program there and they came out today and they played extremely well. Their shortstop Jaconski was the best player on the field today and was a big part of why they won and Mascio threw an outstanding game. That’s a tough combination to beat. Proud of our guys and what we’ve done this year. It’s not like we laid down — they beat us today. They were better than us. It is what it is. It’s the opposite of what happened last time when we came out and beat them.”

The Colonials other two runs came in the top of the seventh. Joe Jaconski singled, advanced to second on a Kliesh bunt and scored on a Reilly single. Radzwilka was the courtesy runner again for Reilly and stole second and third before scoring on an errant pickoff throw.

Bradan Mallon led the Hatters (10-4) offense. He was the only one with a multi-hit game, tallying singles in the second and fourth innings.

Hatboro-Horsham shortstop Jake Bianchini waits to field the throw as Plymouth Whitemarsh Anthony Tomassetti runs to second base during their game on Wednesday, May 15, 2019. (Gene Walsh/MediaNews Group)

In addition to deciding the league championship, this game had major implications on the District 1-6A playoff seedings.

PW entered Wednesday as the No. 7 seed and Hatboro-Horsham No. 8. The top 12 teams earn a first-round bye in the 20-team tournament and the top eight seeds play at home in the second round.

“I think securing a home game is really important for us,” Manero said. “We obviously don’t know yet who we’re going to play, but knowing that we’re going to play at home — it makes everybody feel better. We always feel more comfortable — I think any team feels more comfortable at home. We haven’t had a home playoff game in a long time. For a lot of reasons it was important to get that.”

“We wait and see what happens with the numbers and see where we end up,” Moore said. “See if we get a bye, see if we get a home game. We just have to wait and see and play it by ear now.”

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