UWCHLAN >> The West Chester East baseball team came into Monday’s Ches-Mont League National Division clash with host Downingtown East playing its best baseball of the season. Things continued hot for the visiting Vikings as they got a combined pitching two-hitter from Nick Rostock and Matt Holgado, while the offense banged out nine hits for their the third straight victory, 5-1.
West Chester East (5-6 Ches-Mont National, 5-6 overall) broke open a 1-1 game in the top of the seventh inning by scoring four runs on three hits against hard-luck loser Dylan Hanson and reliever Mike Devenney. The game winning RBI went to freshman Chase Ecker, who singled in Nolan Kerr to make it 2-1,
“We are really playing well right now,” Ecker said. “And we feel we can make a playoff push because we have a lot of energy and we all get along. I think this is a special group of guys. We all get along real well and play for each other.”
Hanson and Rostock had an old fashioned pitchers duel going on with the only run being an RBI single from the Vikings’ Dylan Heydek, scoring Ecker, who singled to start the third inning.
But, in the bottom of the fourth, Downingtown East tied the game. 1-1 on a solo home run from Nick Mullen.
Rostock found a little trouble from the Cougars in the fifth. Ryan Grissom was hit by a pitch to put a Cougars’ runner on first with one out. Andrew Dewees also walked to put men on first and second. That was when West Chester East coach Corey Webb called on Holgado to quell the rally.
It turned out to be a very smart move by the first-year coach. Holgado induced the dangerous Alex Lehman to ground into a 4-6-3 double play to end the threat and keep the score tied.
“I am used to coming into those kinds of situations when one of our pitchers get in trouble,” Holgado said. “I just try to pound the strike zone and Nick really helped out today pitching a real good five innings. My curveball was really working for me today and that double play gave us a lot of energy for the rest of the game.”
The contest stayed tied until the seventh when West Chester East erupted to take over the game. Jack Maguire led off the inning with a single in the third-base hole. Hanson then hit Jackson Reed with a pitch.
Nolan Kerr laid down a bunt, but the Cougars made a nice play, gunning out the Maguire at third for the first out. Ecker then singled in the tie-breaking run for a 2-1 lead.
Hanson recovered and struck out Heydek for the second out. It was Hanson’s 11th strikeout of the game in a strong performance.
In came Devenney, who promptly walked Brandon McCarthy and Walker Holman to force in the third run. Ryan Price then effectively ended the game by stroking a two-run single for a 5-1 advantage.
Holgado then shut down the Cougars in the bottom of the seventh and the Vikings had a very big win.
“Matt Holgado is our main bullpen guy,” Webb said. “He just comes in and fills the zone with strikes. If we get good starting pitching I believe we can make a push for the playoffs. This is a very close group with a lot of energy and I think they are a special group.”
West Chester East 5, Downingtown East 1
West Chester East 001 000 4-5
Downingtown East 000 100 0-1
WP-Holgado. LP-Hanson. HR-Mullen.