SOL District Baseball Preview (Quarterfinals)
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Three SOL baseball teams will be in action in Friday’s District One AAAA quarterfinal round.
After an opening round of the District One AAAA Tournament that saw six of seven SOL teams go home, the league saw all three of its teams in action Wednesday advance. Cheltenham, Council Rock South and Pennridge all received shutout performances from their pitchers with Calvin Salazar, Greg Paprocki and Eric Wesolowski coming up big for their respective squads. All three squads will be in action in Friday’s quarterfinal round.
[S-4] Conestoga at [N-1] Cheltenham
•13-1 SOL American Conference champions
•Won 15 of last 16 games
•First trip to district quarterfinals in more than a decade.
How they got here: The Panthers, who had a first round bye, rode the strong arm of Calvin Salazar to earn a 2-0 win over Great Valley in Wednesday’s second round game. He allowed just three hits while fanning four and walking one. Of his 91 pitches, 65 were strikes. Kevin Graham delivered a two-run double in the first inning to account for the game’s only runs.
Coach Frank Decembrino says: “We know Conestoga is going to come at us with their best guy. We’re up for the challenge. We’ve been down this road. When we went to Disney World this year, the first pitcher we see is a kid who signed with Missouri. There’s nothing like coming from here in the snow to going down south and facing a kid that’s throwing in the 90s the first week of the season. We actually were up 1-0 on him, but they scored two unearned runs to go ahead. We’ve faced a kid of this caliber before. We were challenged by the best pitcher we’ve seen to date on the first day we were allowed to play a non-league game.”
•12-4 Central League (second place)
•Pitching staff is led by senior righthander Kyle Stefanic, who will be attending Lafayette, and junior southpaw Brendon Little, who has committed to North Carolina.
•Senior first baseman Max Dolente (Hofstra), senior leftfielder Tommy Richter (College of Charleston), senior outfielder Steve Born (Navy), senior outfielder Andrew Born (Davidson) and senior infielder Andrew Turner (LIU Brooklyn) were all-league players as juniors.
•Lengthy list of players who will be competing at the next level also includes senior outfielder Austin Shirley (Georgetown) and senior catcher Andrew Marlino (Denison).
How they got here: Conestoga, which had an opening round bye, made easy business of Unionville in Wednesday’s second round, winning 13-3 in a game that was halted after five innings because of the mercy rule. Brendon Little earned the win, allowing three runs while striking out eight in four-plus innings. He struck out the side in the second. Kyle Stefanic closed it out. Tom Richter led the Pioneers at the plate, finishing 3-for-3 with four RBIs. He was just a homer shy of hitting for the cycle.
[N-7] Methacton at [N-3] Council Rock South
Council Rock South
•11-3 SOL National Conference champions
•Led by mound ace Greg Paprocki (La Salle)
How they got here: After a first round bye, the Golden Hawks earned a 2-0 win over Downingtown West with Greg Paprocki tossing a complete game two-hit shutout. Tyler Anderson scored the game-winning run in the first when – after drawing a five-pitch walk and stealing second and third on consecutive pitches – he crossed the plate on Nick Ponente’s RBI single. In the third, Anderson collected and one-out double and eventually scored on Will Faccenda’s sacrifice fly.
Coach Ted Kirner says: “You’ll have two really good teams battling it out, two teams that have been playing together since they were real little, two teams that have phenomenal defense and pitching. Methacton’s offense is very potent. They have two games under their belts, and they have a little momentum. It’s a shame it’s not going to be a three-game series. We’re looking forward to it on Friday. It’s exciting.”
•12-6 PAC-10 (fourth place)
•PAC-10 Tournament champions with 1-0 win over Pope John Paul II in title game.
•Team batting average as of May 18 was .326 and team ERA was 3.11
•Boasted three of the PAC-10’s top four hitters in first team all-league infielder Kyle Lowery (25-for-56, .446, 16 RBI, 17 runs), TJ Tornetta (23-for-54, .426, 15 RBI, 18 runs) and first team all-league infielder Austin Bregman (26-for-63, .413, 16 RBI, 23 runs, 10 doubles). Bregman will be playing baseball at ODU next year.
How they got here: The Warriors earned a 12-5 upset win over Garnet Valley in Wednesday’s second round. Lowery contributed a double, three RBIs and scored two runs. Jim Shomberg was 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs. Garnet Valley held a 9-6 advantage in hits but committed seven errors. John Wiedmayer earned the win, allowing seven hits and five runs (three earned) in five innings, walking five and striking out three. In Monday’s 10-3 win over Penncrest, Lowery was 4-for-4 with a double, home run and four RBIs while Kyle Feaster was 2-for-4 with a home run two RBIs and three runs scored. The Warriors pounded out 12 hits, including six extra base hits.
[N-6] Pennridge at [N-2] Boyertown
•9-5 SOL Continental Conference (second place)
•Won nine of last 11 games
•Rams defeated Boyertown 4-1 in last year’s district tournament.
How they got here: In Wednesday’s second round, Eric Wesolowski tossed a three-hitter to earn the complete game win in the Rams’ 8-0 shutout of Strath Haven. He retired 12 in a row during one stretch and faced just 23 batters over seven innings, striking out nine and walking one. Dan Long was the offensive hero, delivering a pair of home runs – including a grand slam – and six RBIs. He was 2-for-3 with three runs scored. Jeff Roedell was 2-for-4 with an RBI. In Monday’s opening round, Joe Molettiere did the job on the mound, throwing 5 2/3 innings before being relieved by Long. Molettiere walked three and fanned six. Roedell was 3-for-3 to lead the Rams.
Coach Tom Nuneviller says: “You’ve got the stadium (Bear Stadium), and it’s a great atmosphere to play in. We went up there and won last year. A couple of years we played West Chester East in a playoff game, and we didn’t play real well. We got hit around. It’s just going up there and playing the game, playing confident, playing it somewhat loose and not being nervous and intimidated.”
•16-2 PAC-10 champions
•Fell to Methacton 3-2 in PAC-10 semifinals
•Pitching staff boasted 2.40 ERA during the regular season, led by Tyler Bauman (5-2, 1.47 ERA) and Sean Pavlik (3-0, 2.21 ERA)
•Top hitters are Austin Medeja (23-59, .390, 23 runs) and Ben Longacre (12-for-31, .387)
How they got here: The Bears, who had an opening round bye, rode the standout performance of Bauman on the mound to earn a 3-0 win over Radnor in Wednesday’s second round. He allowed just one hit while fanning six and walking two. The Bears managed just four hits, including an RBI double by Brandon Greisemer.