Conestoga, Little rout Unionville
By MIKE MURPHY
Posted: 05/22/2014 12:40:52 AM EDT
TREDYFRIN — Two seniors emerged as heroes for the Conestoga High School baseball team’s senior rich team in their 13-3 win over Unionville on Wednesday in their second round District 1 AAAA playoff game.
Conestoga (16-6) will play at Cheltenham in the quarterfinals on Friday at 4 p.m.
The Unionville (11-9) offense had a large task facing Conestoga’s senior pitcher Brendan Little.
“That’s a nice team and you have to give them credit,’ said Unionville coach Mike Magee. "I’m proud of the guys who could cut it in half against Little because he throws really well. I was proud of my guys for playing hard out there.’
Little threw four-plus solid innings on the mound with an impressive eight strikeouts. Little’s best inning came in the second as he struck out the side and put his game on cruise control.
He did not get into trouble until the top of the fifth. With the bases loaded and no outs, Little looked to regain his focus by getting Ryan Barrett to strike out. He then gave up a walk to Unionville shortstop Nick Ward, scoring Unionville’s first run. An RBI ground out by Eric Takoushian made it 6-2.
With runners on second and third, Little threw a wild pitch to the back stop which scored Unionville’s third and final run. This would be the end of his day as coach John Vogan brought in Kyle Stefanic to put out the fire.
“I thought he pitched playoff-caliber baseball,’ said Vogan. "It’s his first start in the playoffs and he came out and pitched real well. He was walking a few guys, I didn’t think he was tired but I felt it was the right time to make a change. He gave us four strong innings, which was what we needed from him.’
Stefanic was called upon to face Alex Pechin, one of the better hitters on the Unionville team. He was able to induce the pop-up to end the top half of the fifth.
“I give Kyle Stefanic a lot of credit in that situation, with runners on second and third in a three run game with their best hitter to the plate,’ said Vogan "Getting that pop-up was huge because it allowed us to come back here and get our bats going and finish them off.’
Eight strikeouts for any pitcher is an impressive performance, for Little he felt he had complete control of his game and his pitches.
“All of my off-speed pitches felt really well as I tried to work the hitters low and away,’ he said. "I was really trying to pitch to contact but when it’s 0-2 I’m going for the strikeout.’
A seven run bottom of the fifth forced the game to end in a mercy rule. Conestoga’s bats were hot from the start of the game, but no one’s performance matched Tom Richter as he had the biggest hits of the day for the Pioneers.
In the bottom of the fourth with two men on, Richter saw a pitch right in his wheel house and smoked a deep fly ball soaring over the head of right fielder Drew Jarmuz. Richter hustled around second and motored into third with a two-run triple.
“I would have liked to hit that first pitch curveball but I didn’t like it so when he threw me another one I was able to sit back on it,’ said Richter.
Richter stepped up again in the bottom of the fifth. Same situation, similar result as he crushed an opposite field two-run double to make it five runs at that point in the inning.
“I knew he was throwing first pitch strikes and pounding the zone,’ he added. "I wanted to jump on it quick and was able put a good swing on it.’
Richter was 3-for-4 with four RBIs, and was just a homer shy of hitting for the cycle.
Vogan commented on Richter’s leadership and how he has been an integral part of the team for so many years.
“I can’t say enough about Tom, he is one of the leaders on this team,’ said Vogan. "Tom has been starting since he was a freshman he played on the team that won the state championship. There is nothing has not seen or been through yet. He has been playing fantastic all year and his hitting has picked up the past nine games. I am not surprised by this performance because he has been doing this for us since he was a freshman. His confidence spreads throughout the whole team.’