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Luckner’s heroics lead West Chester East to walk-off win

WEST GOSHEN >> The West Chester East baseball team has vaulted to the top of the Ches-Mont National heap this season, despite not exactly tearing the cover off the baseball.
But, the Vikings have gotten quality pitching and good defense all year, just as they did Monday in a 2-1 victory over West Chester Rustin.
The winning run came when Thomas Luckner lined a Seth Beard fastball to center field, sending a sliding Adam Smith, who started the inning with a single, across the plate with the winning run in a very entertaining game.
West Chester East (9-2 Ches-Mont National, 9-3 overall) got a sterling starting pitching performance from Kyle Smith, who allowed the Knights (5-6, 6-6) just six hits, all singles, and wiggled out of a very tight jam in the fifth inning when Rustin loaded the bases with no one out and came away with just one run.
“We had limited opportunities today so when we had that chance in the fifth inning we had to come away with more than one run,” Rustin coach Brad Harkins said. “We have been doing that and we got a great relief pitching performance from Seth Beard, who came in cold and hit his spots and did a great job for us. He did not try to overthrow the ball, he stayed within himself.”
Beard came in with one out in the second inning when Rustin starter Chris McMahon left the game with some shoulder tightness. Beard was very good also as he allowed the Vikings six hits and held them scoreless until the bottom of the seventh when, after Luckner missed two bunt attempts, he lined his game-winning single to center.
“Coach Kelley (Scott), told me to try to bunt for a base hit in the seventh inning and I missed the ball twice,” Luckner said. “I know he would have my head if I did not get a hit and I just leveled off on the ball and stroked it to center. Kyle really deserved to win the game the way he pitched. He is a senior and he has been here before and we all have a lot of confidence in him.”
The Vikings struck first off Rustin ace McMahon in the first inning when Ian Street started the inning with a walk. Smith followed with a single and later in the inning Pat Kelly took a McMahon fastball to right field for a 1-0 Viking lead.
Smith was rolling along for East, allowing the potent Rustin attack just two singles through four innings. But, in the fifth inning Rustin mounted a very serious threat on the Vikings ace. Alex Halladay led off with a single off Smith, just the third Rustin hit of the day. Connor McGinnis followed with a single to put men on first and second with none out.
Smith then seemed to lose his control slightly as he walked the bases loaded when he gave Joey Gallagher a free pass, setting the Knights up with bases loaded and none out.
Jack Bronson then made Smith pay as he roped an RBI single to tie the game at 1-1, leaving the bases loaded, still with no outs. After Smith bore down and struck out Chris Boyd, Beard lofted a soft fly ball to right field that Tim Becker caught before throwing a strike to catcher JT Thompson to cut down a sliding McGinnis to keep the game tied at 1-1.
“I lost the plate for awhile,” Smith said. “But when men our on base the philosophy is the same. you have to get ahead, hit spots and pound the zone and trust your defense and Tim made a great throw to get the runner at home.”
Rustin did put a man on base in the top of the seventh when Smith walked Hallady, but Thompson cut down Vinny Giordano — who had come in to run — trying to steal second base. That set up Luckner’s heroics in the bottom of the inning and the Vikings remain tied with Downingtown West atop the Ches-Mont National.
“I felt I could go out for the eighth inning but my pitch count was big so i did not think coach would let me go out there. But, I had confidence these guys would get it done in the bottom of the seventh inning.”

West Chester East 2, West Chester Rustin 1

W.C. Rustin                    W.C. East
    ab    r    h    b        ab    r    h    b
Bronson cf    3    0    2    1    Street ss    2    1    1    0
Boyd rf    3    0    0    0    K Smith p    3    0    1    0
McMahon p    0    0    0    0    Foti cf    3    0    0    0
Beard p    2    0    0    0    Egolf lf    0    0    0    0
Hopkins c    3    0    1    0    Kely dh    3    0    1    1
Yoder 1b    3    0    0    0    Thompsn c    2    0    0    0
Hallady 3b    2    1    0    0    Hontz c    1    0    0    0
Hovick pr    0    1    0    0    Becker rf    3    0    1    0
Giordna 3b    0    0    0    0    A Smith 2b    3    1    2    0
McGinis 2b    3    0    1    0    Berman 1b    2    0     1   0
Gallagher lf    2    0    0    0    Luckner 3b    3    0    1    1
Totals    25    1    6    1    Totals    25    2    8    2
W.C. Rustin    000    010    0    —    1
W.C. East    100    000    1    —    2
One out when winning run scored in 7th
    IP    R    H    BB    SO
W.C. Rustin
McMahon    1.1    1    3    1    2
Beard, L    5    1    5    0    6

W.C. East
K. Smith, W    7    1    6    3    7

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