BASEBALL: Methacton edges Conestoga to advance to District 1-AAAA final
By Rick Kauffman
Posted: 05/29/2014 10:28:45 PM EDT
GLEN MILLS — Rather than the crack of the bat igniting a Methacton rally, it was the crack of thunder that put that rally on delay.
Kyle Lowery, up to the plate with three runners occupying bases, was forced to take a long jog back to the dugout rather than a sprint towards home with Tuesday’s District 1-AAAA semifinal suspended due to inclement weather with the Warriors staring at a 3-1 deficit.
The layoff didn’t dampen Methacton’s rally as the Warriors came back on two occasions to defeat Conestoga, 6-4, Thursday and advance to the school’s first trip to the district championship game.
While Lowery, the PAC-10’s leading hitter, didn’t succeed in putting the Warriors on top, the man on-deck — T.J. Tornetta — did his part and more in the team’s three-run fifth inning.
Methacton players look on anxiously from the dugout in the final inning of the Warriors’ 6-4 win over Conestoga in the District 1-AAAA baseball
Methacton players look on anxiously from the dugout in the final inning of the Warriors’ 6-4 win over Conestoga in the District 1-AAAA baseball semifinals Friday at Glen Mills. (Rick Kauffman/The Mercury) (Rick Kauffman)
As did first baseman Greg Pellicano, who broke up a 4-4 tie in the seventh inning with a two-run single to right field to deliver PAC-10 champion Methacton a spot in today’s final against Boyertown (4 p.m. at Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth).
“Any great team will say the same thing, and I hate to be cliche, but every time there’s an opportunity we have a guy pick somebody up,’ said Methacton coach Paul Spiewak.
Tornetta, who too had been patiently waiting on-deck for two days, stepped to the plate following Lowery’s groundout with the mindset to pick up his team.
“I was just trying to see what his thoughts were like on Lowery and go up there hoping for a fastball,’ Tornetta said. "I got it and put it where I needed to.’
Tornetta’s rip into the gap cleared the bases and planted him firmly on second base, his team now enjoying a 4-3 lead.
All the Warriors needed were nine outs and they’d be on their way to the district championship, but the Pioneers had no intentions of letting that happen.
For Conestoga, Andrew Turner reached with a one-out single and was sent home on a game-tying RBI-single by Brandon Ruffen.
Methacton baseball coach Paul Spiewak, center, celebrates with the Warriors coaching staff after defeating Conestoga in the District 1-AAAA baseball
Methacton baseball coach Paul Spiewak, center, celebrates with the Warriors coaching staff after defeating Conestoga in the District 1-AAAA baseball semifinals Thursday at Glen Mills. (Rick Kauffman/21st Century Media) (Rick Kauffman)
The Pioneers had an opportunity for more, but Warriors pitcher Tim Carfrey pitched himself out of a bases-loaded jam, getting Austin Shirley to ground out to first baseman Pellicano.
Through five innings, the Pioneers left the bases loaded four times — the first, second, fourth and fifth innings — and left nine runners in scoring position.
“We were able to get a lot of runners on, but Methacton was able to get runners on and they were able to get them in, and that’s the difference right now,’ said Conestoga coach John Vogan.
The top of the seventh proved to be the tipping point for the Warriors when Glenn Seymour and Lowery reached base. Then, with two outs, it was Pellicano who came up huge with a drive into right field for two RBI and a 6-4 lead.
“I went up there looking for a pitch to drive,’ Pellicano said. "We just pick each other up, just like in TJ’s at-bat.’
The Pioneers looked to make one final push when Ryne Ogren started off the bottom of the seventh with a double, but Carfrey worked a fly-out, strikeout and groundout to finish the Pioneers in order.
“I’m sure they’re disappointed with how many runners they left, but to me that means our pitchers beared down with the season on the line,’ Spiewak said.