On the Trail With Ted
Tim Cooney, a lefty out of Malvern Prep ('09), will join quite the exclusive club this afternoon when he makes his MLB debut for the St. Louis Cardinals. He'll be pitching against the Phillies and only TWO other Public/Catholic/Inter-Ac products have gotten their start against their hometown team, according to debut info accessed from baseball-reference.com. Oddly, both guys graduated in 1974 -- lefty George Riley from Southern and righty Tom Filer from Ryan -- and they pitched against each other in the '74 City Title game (though Filer did so in relief and was not tagged with the loss). Southern won, 5-0, as Riley spun a four-hitter with 15 strikeouts. Those guys wound up making their MLB debuts three years apart. No position players have made their debuts vs. the Phillies. For whatever reason, many more Philly guys have first appeared in the majors with American League teams and for decades, of course, inter-league play did not exist. An interesting nugget: Late in the 1937 season, a righthander named Joe Kohlman made his MLB debut (in the AL) for the Washington Senators vs. the visiting Philadelphia Athletics. He went eight innings in a game that was suspended after 11 with the score at 7-7. He allowed nine hits, one walk and four runs (all earned) while striking out three. One problem: Not sure if he went to one of "Our Schools." Though he's listed as being from Philly in many places, there's also an indication he might have been from Atlantic City. Anyway, check out this amazing fact: While pitching that season for Salisbury in the Eastern League, Kohlman suffered a loss in his first outing and then racked up 25 consecutive wins! That dominance included two no-hitters.
|Public/Catholic/Inter-Ac Products Who've Made MLB Debuts vs. the Phillies|
|George Riley||Southern '74||Cubs||9/15/1979||*L, 8-1||2||3||1||1||0||0|
|Tom Filer||Ryan '74||Cubs||6/8/1982||#L , 5-2||3||5||4||4||3||2|
O'Hara 8, Roman 5
Episcopal 9, Germantown Academy 6
Conwell-Egan 7, McDevitt 6
On WIP yesterday morning, a caller mentioned to Sonny Hill that Overbrook High would soon be holding an alumni event to honor certain athletes. One name mentioned was Jeff Leonard, who enjoyed a long, productive career in the major leagues, and hearing his name set the mind into its commonplace, can't-be-helped spin. As in, over the last 39 years, how many other Pub/Cath/Int guys have made their debut and then proceeded to become everyday position starters (or close to it) in the majors? The answer: Not many. I decided to use 300 at-bats in a season as the cutoff. Only five guys have reached that number. And four managed just one season of logging that many ABs. Meanwhile, Frankford product Bobby Higginson ('87) was a 10-year starter for the Tigers, enjoying stints at all three outfield positions. Leonard played for five teams from 1977 through '90, hitting .266 with 144 homers and 723 RBI. "Higgy" played for only Detroit in an 11-year career, batting .272/187/809.
"Our Guys" With at Least 300
At-Bats in a Major League Season, 1977-2014
(Made Debut DURING That Time Frame)
|Bob Zupcic||Egan||1992||Red Sox||OF||124||392||108||.276||3||43|
|Ruben Amaro Jr.||Penn Charter||1992||Phillies||OF||126||374||82||.219||7||34|
|*-stats for best season are listed|
Other "Our Guys" position
players, 1977-2014: Mike Costanzo, Carroll; Phil Gosselin,
Levis, Northeast; John Marzano, Central; Gene Schall, La Salle; Christian "Ya Ya" Walker, Kennedy-Kenrick.
No-hitters are kinda rare, right? So, multiple no-hitters are almost NEVER posted on the same day, right? . . . Um, not really. Yesterday, Swenson's Johneric Vincente and String Theory's Joe Cammisa recorded no-hitters and that was the 14th time in this century that at least two no-nos have been recorded by Pub/Cath/Int pitchers on the same day. Three times, THREE no-nos have been posted.
|Multiple No-Hiters on the Same Day, 2000-15|
|2015||4/24||Public||Joe Cammisa||String Theory||Dobbins||11-0||5||8||-|
|3/27||Catholic||Tom Mullin||SJ Prep||Roman||10-0||5||7||2|
|5/2||Public||Travis Zink||Phila. Acad.||Bodine||1-0||7||8||-|
|2009||4/29||Catholic||Ryan Mimnaugh||Lansdale||West Cath.||11-0||5||8||-|
|4/29||Public||Brian Gibbons||Dobbins||Univ. City||11-0||5||11||-|
|4/21||Catholic||Kyle Mullen||SJ Prep||North Cath.||9-3||7||6||4|
|4/25||Catholic||Bill Edger||SJ Prep||West Cath.||16-0||7||10||6|
|2000||5/11||Public||Terrance Brunson||Dobbins||West Phila.||14-2||5||12||-|
|5/1||Public||Eric Rossiter||Franklin LC||Univ. City||11-0||5||14||-|
(With the April 18 Tedbit in mind . . . ) Not quite 11, but close. Neumann-Goretti's pitchers slapped together a streak of 10 consecutive hitless innings. It ended yesterday in the third inning of a game at Carroll. The middle six featured a mercy-rule no-hitter by jr. RH Ethan "E" Pritchett. Thanks to N-G assistant Joe Messina for his help with the details below.
|Streak of 10 Hitless Innings By N-G's Pitchers|
|Jared Healey||April 15||#Two||McDevitt|
|Ethan Pritchett||April 22||*Six||O'Hara|
|Gino Tripodi||April 23||Two||Carroll|
|#-Relieved Joe LaFiora (five innings)|
|*-Game limited to six innings by mercy rule|
SCH Academy 11, Penn Charter 6
Man, it was c-c-c-c-c-old. I was shivering for the last four-odd innings and heard more than a few people say while heading for the parking lot, "I can't take this anymore." The not-comfy temp was bad enough. The wind was also quite strong and the sun appeared, only slightly, for maybe 10 seconds at most. Beforehand, I heard separate groups of players discussing how the weather is almost always brutal when SCH meets PC. NOW you tell me (ha ha). Often in cold weather, pitching dominates. Not today, baby! The visiting Blue Devils posted a four-spot in the first and we were off to the races (around the bases). The teams bagged 11 hits apiece and nine went for extra bases. Oddly, PC won that contest, 7-2. SCH's most productive hitter was jr. 3B AJ LaBella, the No. 3 hitter. He went 3-for-4 with a double (ground rule) and sac fly (to the backtracking shortstop) for four RBI, but his best bolt was a liner that turned into an out (as jr. SS Frank Driscoll made a nifty lunge/dive to his right). Soph DH Dan Shubert, the No. 6 hitter, added three RBI with a one-run single in the first and a two-run single in the fifth. Jr. CF Nick “Juice” Rowland and sr. C Michael Melady also had two hits apiece while soph RF John Cucinotta laced an RBI double and soph SS Christopher “Bubby” Alleyne scored three runs without getting a hit (two walks, one HBP). Aside from four in the first, SCH scored two in the second, four in the fifth and one in the sixth. PC's hitting headliners were frosh LF-LH Mike Siani, jr. C Kenny Bergmann and sr. 1B Dillon Malandro. When Siani came to bat in the third, I was standing at the edge of the restraining fence on the first base side, trying to take a quick pic. Two SCH subs were nearby and I happened to say about Siani, "This is the kid that got a D-1 scholarship (to the University of Virginia) before he ever played in a varsity game." The guys knew about it and one added, not in a mean way, just in an amazed way, "I don't know why." Next pitch? Ping!!!! Siani fired a two-run homer over the fence a few feet inside the dead rightfield corner. Of course, I couldn’t help but blurt out with a smile, “I guess that’s why.” The kid closest to me was shaking his head as if to say, “How in the world did THAT just happen?” UPDATE: That SCH kid was sr. Sean McCann. Siani also had an RBI double while going 2-for-4 with three RBI. He also pitched the last two innings, allowing one hit and a run while uncorking impressive fastballs. Bergmann went 2-for-4 with a double, triple and one RBI. Malandro -- his dad, Ed, was a terrific football-baseball player for PC (class of '83) -- went 3-for-3 with a double and two RBI. He was also issued an intentional walk. SCH’s starter was jr. RH Gunnar Hayes. He experienced no problems through two, then was hit around in the third and fourth. Frosh RH Aidan Frye allowed two hits and a run over the final three frames. Meanwhile, PC’s other extra base hits were doubles by soph 2B Dominic Toso and sr. DH Pete Kashatus. The benches at PC are very close to the cage and when the kids are motivated, that proximity can create a lively ballgame. That definitely happened today. The SCH crew, in particular, showed great energy. Each time the Blue Devils headed out onto the field, two subs (sometimes more) stood beyond the end of that restraining fence and yelled assorted comments to the starters. “You’d better sprint out there!” “Who’s getting out there the fastest?” “C’mon, you gotta hustle to your position!” Sometimes, the subs added playful semi-pushes. Also, at times, guys could be spotted doing pushups. A LOT of pushups, even. Sorry, but I neglected to find out the details. (Feel free to email me, someone/anyone.) UPDATE: Received an email from the aforementioned Sean McCann. "The players that were doing those push-ups and yelling at players were myself, senior catcher Robbie Phillips, senior pitcher Josh Beckerman, and senior pitcher Pat McCann (no relation). We do this at every one of our games and keep the energy up in our dugout. We call ourselves "The Bench Mob" . . . Thanks for this response, Sean! PC’s coach is David Miller, one of the top athletes in the ol’ Chestnut Hill Academy’s history and a former minor leaguer. His emotions had to be swirling. In time, PC could have two very successful lefties in Siani and soph Brendan Cellucci. Their builds and velocities were very similar. Late in the game, a black squirrel made an appearance on the gigantic tree up the hill behind third base. Not sure I’d ever seen one of those. Two PC guys standing nearby said, “No one ever believes us when we say there are black squirrels running around PC.” Guess what? There ARE! (smile) . . . Major props to The Wife. At first, the pics refused to download/upload (whatever the correct word is) onto my ancient laptop. She was able to download/upload them onto her only semi-ancient laptop and then later, somehow, she matched the feat back on my computer. Thanks, kiddo!! Imagine how many curse words you would have heard for the second time in three nights (the Malvern-Haverford School pics are lost forever -- ugh). Even she couldn't perform that miracle.
The Catholic League has finally joined the club. This season, Neumann-Goretti has become the seventh city-leagues school in this century to find itself on the good and bad ends of no-hitters. The Saints suffered a no-no vs. Wood on April 14 and bagged their own yesterday as junior righthander Ethan Pritchett muffled O'Hara. Below is a breakdown. Amazingly, three of the no-hitters in 2003 occurred in Pub round-of-16 playoffs.
|Pub/Cath/Int Schools on Both Ends of No-Hitters in the Same Season in This Century|
|4/22||Kensington||Josh Williams||Univ. City||10-0||5||8||-|
|4/25||Mastbaum||Johnny Marrero||Franklin LC||10-0||5||13||-|
|5/2||Dobbins||Jamil Phillips||Eng. & Sci.||5-0||5||7||0|
When yesterday's Inter-Ac game between visiting Malvern and Haverford School concluded with a one-run margin and the former on top, we should not have been surprised. Over the last 11 seasons, the Friars have become quite successful at winning one-run I-A outings. Their record is 13-5 and four wins (in six chances) have been claimed in extra innings. How'd this one-run dominance begin? Glad you asked. Early in league play in 2005, the Friars edged Germantown Academy, 6-5, as reliever Tom Grandieri (now an assistant at Episcopal; don't hold it against him -- smile) scored the winning run on a wild pitch in the home 14th. There were 27 hits in the game and one was a homer by Malvern's Tim McEndy.
|Malvern's One-Run Games in Inter-Ac Play, 2005-15 (13-5 Record)|
Malvern 7, Haverford School 6
There's a reason certain statements become cliches. 'Cause they're absolutely true! In baseball, folks like to say, "They all look the same in the boxscore." As in hits. Home runs are the best hit, of course, and they also look the same . . . even when they're not. In the home third, a pair of lefty swingers for Haverford School thumped homers to right-center. A two-run shot by jr. 1B Frank Cresta came first and this one was a true blast as the ball cleared the fence at the left edge of right-center and appeared to land on the outbound side of Lancaster Avenue. Soph RF Bryan Hyland strolled to the plate two batters later and his solo homer, also hit hard but not quite a match for Cresta's, cleared the fence at the right edge of right-center. Coupled with an RBI single by Cresta in the first inning, those shots provided the Fords a 4-0 lead. Malvern later posted two HRs of its own. Both by jr. RF-CF Chance DiFebbo. A three-run job in a five-run fifth and a two-run swat in the seventh. Honestly, both dingers had the look of regular flyballs. But HS' field is not exactly roomy and DiFebbo was able to gleefully break out home run trots. The first homer left the yard not far from the foul pole in left. The second carried to center. Two homers on regular flyballs. What are the Chances? (smile) We're thinking DiFebbo minded not at ALL that his homers were not as impressive as the Fords'. They featured enough oomph to get the job done, right? Plus, they helped the Friars claim a win after falling into a 4-0 hole. DiFebbo also played basketball this past winter and as a guard sub made some nifty contributions in games I attended. Dude has the knack! The first run in Malvern's four-run fifth when jr. 3B Jake Mullan laced an RBI single to center. The Friars made it 5-4 in the sixth as leadoff batter Chris Butera, a sr. RH (four innings) and RF, crunched a double down the left field line into the corner. Mullan started the seventh with a scratch infield single (could have been scored an error) and DiFebbo made it 7-4 with his second swat. The entertainment was hardly over. Soph RH Shane Muntz, a semi-stocky fastballer, issued a leadoff walk to Cresta and sr. SS David Rodgers misplayed a popup. A wild pitch moved up the runners and sr. pinch-runner Devin Wilkins (manager of the hoops squad) scored on a groundout off Hyland's bat. Sr. LF Ryan Fuscaldo then grounded out on a very close play at first (a safe call would not have surprised), but the Fords drew within one as sr. DH-RH Nick Greco fired a hard single to center. The No. 9 hitter, frosh CF Justin Meyer, then drew a walk and pitching coach E.J. Moyer, formerly a star lefty for the Fords, took a brisk walk to the mound and made a change. Next was frosh RH Billy Corcoran, just up from the JV and making his first Inter-Ac appearance. (He did pitch in a non-league game over the weekend.) Soph 3B Tommy Toal lofted a popup. You can guess where it went, right? You got it. In the direction of Rodgers, the shortstop. This time David stayed with it and made the catch to give the Friars their win. Though 13 runs were scored, the game required just two hours and mostly moved along in brisk fashion. Especially early. The Fords' starter, jr. RH Michael Warnick, had few problems through the first four innings, though Malvern did hit some balls hard against him. David Hogarth, the Fords' soph SS, went 2-for-4 and made some impressive plays in the field. Hyland ended the visiting seventh by making an impressive, last-second catch against the fence. Wilmer Reid, a long-time, great-guy scout, and DN/Inky reporter Aaron "Ace" Carter (just to watch; he has mostly covered lacrosse this spring) were among the witnesses. Now coaching at first base for the Fords is Tom McNeely. He played for now-closed St. James (class of 1985; in football in '83 he set the city leagues record for passing yards in one game with 329, in baseball in '85 he earned first team All-City honors as an infielder) and his full name is Thomas More McNeely. Why's that? His dad attended St. Thomas More High (class of '48, I believe Tom said) and loved the place so much he named his son after it. Cool! STM, at 47th and Wyalusing, one block off of Girard, closed in 1975. St. James, located in Chester, closed in '93. Not easy for dad/son. Good luck with the Fords, Tom. HS ain't closin' any time soon (smile). Two best lines of the day: After Cresta cracked his homer, a bench guy bellowed, "Bartender, pour me a shot of Jack!" Mullan, meanwhile, had a thick clump of hair sticking out the back of his cap. A Ford student rooter yelled down to him, "No. 11, you have way too much hair for this sport! Why are you not playing lacrosse!?" Ha, ha, ha. (There will NOT be any pics. All kinds of issues trying to download them due to file sizes, etc., then somehow they were erased from the memory card. VERY sorry, guys. Frustrated beyond belief.)
Over the previous eight days, pitchers for Boys' Latin and Wood slapped together matching streaks of 11 consecutive hitless innings. BL's is still alive, so we'll see what happens when the Warriors get back to action Wednesday vs. Bodine. Wood's ended on April 15 when Ryan soph Cory Hunter, recently promoted from the JV, led off the bottom of the first with his first varsity hit.
UPDATE: In its next Pub game, Boys' Latin played Roxborough on April 22. In the first inning, Randy Krok ripped a single to left off Asa James. Rain forced the game to be suspended in the fourth inning with BL ahead, 7-2.
|Matching Streaks of 11 Consecutive Hitless Innings|
|BOYS' LATIN (Halted at 11 Innings; See Above)|
|Asa James||April 10||@Two||Bracetti|
|Asa James||April 15||*Five||Franklin|
|Manny Fernandez||April 17||*Four||Fels|
|Kody Cracknell||April 13||#Four||McDevitt|
|Joey Lancellotti||April 14||*Seven||Neum.-Gor.|
|*-Length of Game|
|#-Yielded hit in first inning of five-inning game|
|@-Yielded hit in fifth inning of seven-inning game|
Wood 5, Ryan 1
Some Tedbits are smaller than others. This one is infinitesimal. As near as I can figure, only three members of Catholic League basketball rotations are also playing baseball this spring. The Prep's Jack Henkels was the most productive hoopster. He averaged 9.4 points in CL play and totaled 232 points for the season. Lansdale's Ryan Quigley also stars in football. (Couldn't find anyone in the Inter-Ac to add to this list.)
CL Hoops Rotation Members
Who Are Also Playing Baseball
|Jack Henkels||SJ Prep||Guard||Outfield|
SJ Prep 6, O'Hara 4 (9 inn.)
Yesterday, junior righthander Shane McGrody pitched a two-hitter as Ryan beat Carroll, 1-0, in a Catholic League game. The list below shows all 1-0 results in CL regular season games in this century. Interesting nuggets: Conwell-Egan's Brian Herman posted two in 2006 and TWO games took place on the same day (April 5) in 2005. Both went extra innings. Those were the games started by Ryan Geiss and Brian Rorick.
|1-0 Games in the Catholic League Regular Season, 2000-15|
|Year||Winner||Loser||Starter for Winner||
|2014||La Salle||Judge||Dominic Cuoci||3||8|
|2010||North Catholic||O'Hara||Ryan Etsell||3||7|
|2006||Conwell-Egan||La Salle||Brian Herman||3||7|
|2005||Dougherty||North Catholic||Kevin McGovern||3||7|
|Conwell-Egan||La Salle||Ryan Geiss||0||*7|
|Carroll||SJ Prep||Brian Rorick||1||#5|
|2003||Roman||SJ Prep||Matt Daley||3||7|
|SJ Prep||Kennedy-Kenrick||Joe McElwee||5||7|
|2001||North Catholic||McDevitt||Dan Szychulski||5||7|
|*-game went 9 innings; Matt Burns pitched the 8th and 9th|
|#-game went 8 innings; Brian Puliti pitched 2 2/3 and Dan Ritter pitched 1/3 to get the win|
|+-game went 7 innings; Josh Rickards finished up (2 hits over two innings)|
The guys below are my "favorite" baseball players in the Catholic League. Reason? Though they have also starred in football, they have not limited themselves to one sport. Often these days, perhaps because of demanding coaches, once guys become accomplished in one sport they stop playing others. Not cool. Have as much sports fun as possible in high school, guys. Meanwhile, check out the list that shows the NFL players who played in the Public, Catholic and Inter-Ac Leagues. Many played two sports and QB Matt Ryan, a product of Penn Charter, was a mainstay in three. Meanwhile, if you want to go way back, hoops all-timer Wilt Chamberlain (Overbrook) was also a track star. He routinely won the high jump and shot put events. Can you imagine? How many guys, ever, have won THOSE two events, which require top-notch athleticism AND brute strength? . . . Note: La Salle's Jimmy Herron (Duke) and Neumann-Goretti's Matt McKeown (Delaware) will be playing D-1 baseball in college, so congrats to them for having stuck with football.
|Cath Football All-Stars Who Also Play Baseball|
|School||Name||Pos.||Year||A-C Football Honors|
|Bonner-Prendie||Christian DiGalbo||1B||Sr.||1st DL/2nd OL|
|Collin DiGalbo||P||Sr.||1st QB/2nd P|
|Carroll||Max Frederick||P||Sr.||1st K|
|Lansdale||Ryan Quigley||OF||Jr.||1st RB/DB|
|La Salle||Jimmy Herron||OF||Sr.||1st WR/DB|
|McDevitt||Brendan Hanagan||P-INF||Sr.||1st K/P|
|Neumann-Goretti||Matt McKeown||OF||Sr.||1st DL|
|Ryan||Matt Romano||C-INF-P||So.||1st P|
|Wood||Justin Rubin||P||Sr.||1st LB|
|Anthony Russo||P||Jr.||2nd QB|
Carroll 5, Bonner-Prendie 2
So, how will Max Frederick get his sports kick in college? Like a lengthy field goal attempt, that's still up in the air. Frederick served Carroll's football team as quite the competent kicker over the past three seasons, and there's no doubt he could perform those duties at the next level. Ah, but he's also a pitcher and today he slapped together a decent outing as the Patriots carved out a road triumph. The sr. RH went six innings and should have departed with an ERA of 0.00. But with two away and runners on second and third in the fifth, sr. 1B Christian DiGalbo lofted a way-up-there popup. All kinds of guys could have caught it. Alas, no one did. The ball plopped onto the soggy turf a shade behind second base -- also a shade toward the right side -- as sr. LF Nick Lazer (walk) and sr. 2B Dan Goggin (single; both moved up on a wild pitch) scrambled home. While checking with Max after the game to ask whether he's committed to a college (he's not) or a specific sport (he's not), I kiddingly told him he should have run over there and caught the ball himself. He quipped back, "I was thinking about it." Frederick allowed four hits and three walks while recording two strikeouts. He's still lanky (listed at 6-4, 165, during football season), so lots of filling out could take place. And who knows? It would not be impossible to kick AND pitch in college, right? Sr. RH JJ Cicala, the starting third baseman and cleanup hitter, worked an uneventful seventh. Carroll scored one run in the second and two apiece in the fourth/fifth. Sr. C Mike McCarthy, a righthanded hitter, deftly shortened his stroke and sent an RBI single to right in the second. Soph DH-1B Rich Melito and sr. 2B Brian Schnell pulled RBI singles down the leftfield line in the fourth. Sr. SS JT Evangelist did likewise for the first run in the fifth. The second marker came courtesy of an all-timer. Jr. 1B-3B Nick Zambella cracked a drive to deep left. Lazer semi-circled going backward, the ball zipped over his head and . . . plop! It stuck in the soggy turf. Or maybe even muddy turf. (Left field was definitely the worst area.) Lazer did not pick up the ball at first. He just looked down in amazement (and perhaps was hoping a ground-rule double would be called). The play continued and Zambella wound up with an RBI triple. Base ump Joe Cassidy, the men's basketball coach at South Jersey's Rowan University, said he'd NEVER seen that happen in MANY years on the umpiring trail. B-P's pitcher at the time was reliever Anthony Martinelli, a jr. RH. He also provided quite unusual viewing. When runners were on first, Martinelli was looking back over his RIGHT shoulder to check on them. "Cass" said he'd seen that a few times. Maybe I had, too. Couldn't remember it, though. B-P's starter was sr. RH Nick Bralczyk. He had all-or-nothing innings. Carroll went down 1-2-3 in the first and third, but otherwise put 10 runners on base against Bralczyk. RH Eli Chase, a hard-throwing soph, worked the sixth and seventh. The best defensive play occurred in the third when sr. RF Jake Miller (looping double down the rightfield line) tried to score on Goggin's two-out single to right. Sr. RF Matt Guyger came up throwing and McCarthy made an impressive snag/sweep to record the out. The B-P folks were upset McCarthy wasn't called for blocking the plate without having possession of the ball. Did appear to be borderline. Oddly, the game's first strikeout was not recorded until the second out of the visiting fourth. In fact, there were only four Ks all game. In Monday's Neumann-Goretti/La Salle game, there were 10 alone on called third strikes. None today. Dude had a tight zone. The most prominent visitor, by far, was former MLBer Mike Costanzo, a 2002 Carroll grad. Mike recently opened an insurance agency in his native Springfield (Delco) and he'd love to hear from you if you're ready to spend money to protect your house/car/whatever (smile). Mike's office number is 484-843-1199. Also, he'll play this season for the Camden Riversharks. Also prominent in the Class of 2002 was O'Hara shortstop Mike Essery (both guys twice earned first team All-City honors) and he was among the witnesses, as well. This Mike is related, via marriage, to Carroll assistant Joe Lake. Great to see you, guys! One more witness of note: former Roman basketball star R.C. Kehoe, now the coach at Holy Family. Ditto, R.C.!
Neumann-Goretti 7, La Salle 4
This was a double-edged opener. As in, neither team was able to play a non-league game before this one due to the crappy weather so far this spring. The base ump was Gene Otto, who assigns umps for all home games involving Catholic League and Inter-Ac League teams. Prior to today, only seven games had been played and five had taken place on turf surfaces at Haverford School (three) and Ramp Playground (two, used by Judge). "The other two were at O'Hara," Gene said. "Only two games so far on regular fields. You believe that?" Yes, it was semi-bitter today, mostly because of a wind that often raged in from dead right, but the field itself looked great and a medium time was had by all (smile). N-G and La Salle are two of the CL's top-dog programs, so it was kind of a shame that they had to meet in a no-preparation opener. There was still some quality viewing, however. For N-G, jr. RH Ethan "E" Pritchett and sr. RH Bay To (Fairleigh Dickinson) came within three outs of posting a combo one-hitter. Sr. SS Justin Curtin (Gwynedd-Mercy), sr. 2B Vinny Vaccone (Mercer County CC, in New Jersey) and sr. DH-RF Gino Tripodi (also G-M) bagged two RBI apiece and sr. LF Matt McKeown (Delaware, transfer from South Jersey's Paul VI) posted a pair of absolutely-ripped doubles. For La Salle, sr. CF Jimmy Herron (Duke) drew a walk in his first at-bat and then hit three balls hard while netting two singles and one RBI, sr. 3B Ian "Eight Feet Beyond the Arc" McIntosh crunched a two-run double to left-center in the seventh and jr. RH Joe Peluso faced just 10 batters while pitching three innings of no-hits, no-walks, no-runs relief. This was game No. 1 for Kyle Werman, La Salle's new coach, and he'll always remember this: His team's first run scored on a hit-by-pitch in the butt (absorbed by jr. LF Langston Livingston). That came in the visiting first after walks to sr. SS AJ "Spell This Fast Once" Grezeszak and Herron and an HBP to McIntosh. Herron's RBI came in the second after soph C Jack Pogyor drew a walk and sr. CR Connor Williams stole two bases. The guys who scored on McIntosh's two-run double in the seventh were Grezeszak (walk) and Herron (single). I was a little surprised To was still out there pitching because he'd slightly turned an ankle while grounding out to end the sixth. If you follow CL baseball, perhaps you're wondering why Pritchett and To did the pitching. Reason: Star sr. lefty Pat Doudican (College of Charleston) is nursing a slightly tender elbow. He hopes to be back soon. With some D-1 assistants on hand to evaluate, Pritchett settled down after the early control problems. He fanned six in four innings. Rumor had it he hit 83 to 86 mph on the radar guns in the first inning. Because his body is nowhere close to being filled out, there's MUCH to like about this young man's potential. To, a star RF and leadoff man, struck out two in his stint. N-G touched sr. RH James Dougherty for three apiece in the first and third and one in the second. Vaccone's two-run shot over the head of sr. 1B Brian Buckley highlighted the first. The big hit in the third was a perfectly placed popup down the right field line (also worth two runs) by Tripodi. Curtin collected his RBI in the second by inside-outing an 0-2 pitch to right. Good piece of hitting. Sr. C Tommy Nardini (also G-M) went 2-for-3 with an RBI double. The game's big oddity: each team looked at five strike threes. The plate ump called a lot of borderline high strikes, but there was no questioning his consistency. He did so from the outset. Per coach Kevin Schneider, N-G's field soon will get dugouts and the black shirts are also due to arrive shortly (hopefully). Dianne Herron (La Salle) and Lisa Doudican (N-G) handled photos-by-team-moms duties. Both reported being q-q-q-uite c-c-c-old (smile). Other dignitaries: Jon Cross (former Penn Charter coach, now creating waves with the AAU Bandits), Al Baur (former Southern star and minor leaguer; his son, Albert, starred for N-G and now is drawing pro interest at Newberry in South Carolina) and Sean Saverio (ex-La Salle star now assisting Werman). Joe Messina, then a seventh grader (his dad, Joe, is a Saints assistant), last summer pitched a pair of 1-2-3 innings in an all-star game that was nationally televised. Very cool! If Werman is a little down about losing his first game, he shouldn't be. Ex-boss Joe Parisi dropped his debut vs. Judge, but went on to claim 453 wins. Best line of the day: After looking at the quite crumpled jersey being worn by Tripodi, N-G's field guy said to him, "It looks like you took that out of your wallet." Ha, ha, ha.
Let's try this again . . . and again . . . and again. For the sixth time in 19 seasons, the Catholic League is trying a different format for its baseball regular season. The breakdown is below. By contrast, football (first to Red-Blue, then to AAAA-AAA-AA) and basketball (Red-Blue, then to all one league) have changed just twice apiece.
|Regular Season Formats for Catholic League Baseball, 1997-2015|
|Years||Alignment||Regular Season Schedule|
|1997-2004||North-South||two games vs. each division member, plus four crossovers|
|2005-2006||North-South||two games vs. each division member|
|2007||North-South||three games vs. each division member|
|2008-2012||Red-Blue||two games vs. each division member|
|2013-2014||Red-Blue||three games vs. each division member in Red; two in Blue|
|2015||No divisions||one game vs. each member|