Posted: July 6, 2012; Published in Daily Local News
WESTTOWN – After eight batters and two runs, pitcher Ashton Short and the Lionville Hillcats clawed their way out of an early hole with solid pitching and plenty of batting to swiftly derail the Westtown Express, 6-4, in Thursday’s Chester County American Legion regular season baseball contest to extend their winning streak to eight games.
“Early on in the season, we struggled a bit because of a great deal of distractions surrounding (high school) graduation and senior week at the shore,” said Lionville second baseman John Wieser. “We’ve hit a good stride and we’ve won eight straight, including a four-game shutout streak.”
Looking to put some runs up against the strong defense of the Hillcats, Westtown started off strong in the bottom of the first with three hits and a walk from its first five batters. After Joe Palladino was picked off of first for the first out of the inning, Westtown had runners at first and second for the fifth hitter, center fielder Matt Gosik. He hit a single to the gap in right-center field to score pitcher Nick Miller and move shortstop Kevin Jewitt, who was hit by a pitch, from first to third.
Right fielder Gary Gregory stepped up and batted into a fielder’s choice that saw Jewitt scamper home to make it a 2-0 game. After first baseman Jeremy Bellick reached base on four balls, catcher Mike Friedrich struck out swinging to end the inning and effectively end the Westtown offense for the next four innings.
“We started out well,” said Westtown manager Lee Brandon. “But the bench never really seemed alive and some guys just didn’t seem to have their heads in it.”
The Express showed no urgency in their play and this gave way to a strong counterattack by Lionville.
“I heard chatter on their bench during the entire game and they were having fun,” said Brandon. “We weren’t talking and we definitely didn’t have much fun.”
In the top of the third, the Hillcats were trailing 2-1 with Wieser making his first plate appearance of the day. He singled off Miller receiving a piercing uproar of applause from the Lionville dugout.
“I don’t get as many at-bats as most of these guys but I’ve done pretty well this season,” said Wieser who has called Lionville home since his freshman year of high school when he moved from Appleton, Wis., a suburb of Green Bay. “When you got a guy hitting around .500 off the bench, you’re probably doing pretty well.”
Wieser, who recently graduated from Downingtown East High School and plans to attend Penn State this fall, doesn’t start all too often but played an integral role in his team’s win over Westtown with a single, a RBI double, and a walk in three plate appearances.
“I’m happy we’re moving away from the distractions of the early summer and really finding our groove,” said Wieser.
Wieser was followed by designated hitter Adam Clark who received a walk and moved Wieser into scoring position. Third baseman Ryan Ficca hit a grounder right back to the mound which recorded the first out of the inning and moved Wieser to third. Center fielder Drew Taylor then grounded to for a fielder’s choice moving Clark to second and scored Wieser from third to tie the score at two. Right fielder Mike Munnelly knocked in Clark to take a 3-2 lead before getting out at second after third baseman Scott Steff hit into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.
Ashton Short retook the mound with the lead and did not intend on losing it.
Short held up his end of the bargain with four consecutive scoreless innings with no hits and not a single strikeout. His location and control seemed impeccable and the Westtown batters hit into a lot of ground-outs and pop flies.
“I didn’t have my best stuff, but I made it seven innings and we got the win strong solid defense and consistent hitting,” said Short.
In the top of the fourth, left fielder Jake Hoffman hit his first of two doubles and scored the first of his two runs off of a John Wieser RBI double.
Lionville would go on to score two more runs in the sixth to bring the score to 6-3.
In the bottom of the seventh, Westtown’s Jewitt and Jenkins both flew out to left field which brought up Gosik.
On a 1-1 count, Gosik put a pretty swing Short’s third pitch and watched it sail right over the head of left fielder Mike Munnelly for a home run and give the Express some life.
But Short, struck out Gregory on four pitches to end the ball game and stop Westtown’s comeback.
Wieser proved to the be the man of the hour after the game in the Lionville dugout.
“Everyone’s clapping it up for me today, but I’m excited for the team because we’re really coming together at the right time: playoff season.”
Lionville 6, Westtown 4
Lionville 102 102 0 — 6
Westtown 200 001 1 — 4
Posted: July 1, 2012; Published in Daily Local News
WESTTOWN – With the lyrics of country singer Brad Paisley ringing through the humid air of a clear summer afternoon, the Westtown Express built a quick lead only to watch the Conestoga bats heat up as quickly as the 90-degree temperature in their 7-4 Chester County American Legion loss at West Chester Rustin High School.
Westtown (7-8) pitcher Jack Fritz took the mound in the first inning in which he gave up one run off of two hits while also striking out ‘Stoga right fielder Luke Mogel.
That strikeout would prove to be the highlight of Fritz’s day as he left the game after the first due to an arm injury.
“Fritz said his arm just wasn’t feeling right and there was no need to risk a serious injury when he could easily give the mound to (Sean Cooper),” said Westtown center fielder Matt Gosik.
Gosik, a usual standout, had a tough day at the plate a pop-up to second, a strikeout, and a fly ball to right field which only saw shortstop Kevin Jewitt getting tagged out at second after a great throw from ‘Stoga right fielder Luke Mogle. This came as a bit of redemption for Mogle who struck out three times and popped up to first in his final at-bat.
After a pair of runs by second baseman Joe Palladino and designated hitter Nick Miller in the first which gave Westtown a 2-1 lead, the offense seemed to fade quite rapidly.
“We just couldn’t get anything going offensively and it was just a struggle today,” said Gosik.
In the opposing dugout, manager Bill Carroll riled up his troops before the game with a do or die mentality.
“Well we lost a game last week that really could have moved us into first place,” said Carroll. “So we’ve got ground to make up.”
‘Stoga (11-6) was led by a pair of Little brothers and a Roman. Both Austin and Jordan Little had not so little performances against Westtown.
The ‘Stoga defense was supported by a stellar seven inning performance by Austin Little who also recorded four strike-outs. On the offensive side, Jordan Little hit for his brother as the ‘Stoga DH which saw him pick up a walk and two hits on three plate appearances. The first of the two hits was a deep shot over the left-field fence which drove home catcher Justin Roman and left fielder C.J. Herron. Little followed that up with a double in the fifth.
Little’s shadow only barely covered Justin Roman’s performance as he had two hits, two runs, an RBI and a walk.
“Roman’s a good player,” said manager Carroll. “You know he really stepped up when we’ve needed him this year and he’s caught a lot of games where we really needed him to.”
Conestoga 7, Westtown 4
Posted: June 28, 2012; Published in Daily Local News
CALN – After a tough loss to Avon Grove the previous night, the Caln Seabees were in need of a pick-me-up.
With a strong hitting performance and a complete-game win by pitcher Ryan Buchovecky, they certainly got it.
Josh Martin and T.J. Mayo teamed up to drive in eight runs, Buchovecky tossed five solid frames, and the Seabees rode a huge second inning to a 15-4 win over Exton in a Chester County Legion contest at Caln Park on Thursday.
“The boys really hit the ball well tonight,” said manager Rob Weaver.
The first inning proved to be only the calm before the storm of Caln’s offense. After a scoreless first, Extonpitcher Nick Dillman led off with a hit that dropped into the gap in right field.
The Exton offense seemed to be too much for Buchovecky and the Seabees as the Bandits put up three runs in the top of the second, which saw Dillman, third baseman Justin Wright, and first baseman Cody Hegarty all cross home plate.
Walking out to the mound with a 3-0 lead, Dillman looked to collect three outs in a timely manner as he did in the first and get back into the batter’s box.
To his dismay, Caln stroked eight hits and picked up three walks as they scored eight times before ending Dillman’s night on the mound. He only collected one of those three outs he sought before Dante Cappelli moved in from center field to take the hill and try to slow things down.
Dillman watched from first base as three more runs scored to bring the final inning tally to 11.
The third inning proved to be fruitless for Exton as Buchovecky sat Scott Lovbazk, Ryan Hooven, and Dillman down in order.Buchovecky was dialed in all night as he shook off a shaky second inning and only gave up one run after.
“I use my designated hitter in every game to give the pitcher a rest between innings and keep him focused on what he’s actually out there to do- pitch,” said Weaver. “Before this year, you could use the DH to bat for any player in the field but this season the DH can only be used for the pitcher’s at-bat.”
Weaver said he has always used his DH for the pitcher because at this stage of the game a pitcher needs to just pitch.
“A pitcher could go out there and have a bad at-bat and then bring that bad energy out onto the mound where nothing good will happen,” he said.
It seems that Weaver may be on to something, as his pitcher put up three scoreless innings in the affair, while DH T.J. Mayo didn’t fail to impress.
Mayo accounted for two of the 11 runs during the second inning and knocked in another two to boot. He finished the night with three hits in four at-bats and three runs batted in. “I’ve had quite a few multi-RBI games this season,” said Mayo who helped his team improve to 12-4 on the year.
The only play in the second that overshadowed Mayo’s performance was a stand-up triple to deep left center by Caln third baseman Josh Martin, who cleared the bases and knocked in three runs and receiving a loud roar of applause from the Caln bleachers.
“I was pretty happy with my performance,” said Martin, who finished with five RBIs on two hits in three at-bats.
Martin’s final two RBIs came in the bottom of the fourth when his team had their final at-bat of the game.
All night, it seemed that the Seabees’ offense was just a sleeping giant awaiting the small taunting pokes of the Exton bats. After three runs in the second, Caln followed up with its huge second inning and struck again in the fourth, when Exton scored just one run and Caln knocked in three more.
In the top of the fifth, Buchovecky faced four Exton batters before the game ended twoand a half innings shy of the target seven.
Although the Seabees cruised to an easy win, there were a few key players who were not active in the lineup. Chris O’Hagan, who will play for Post University in Connecticut next year, was sidelined due to headaches and a soaring temperature which he was not ready to test in this evening’s warm weather.
Ben Jonik was also left off the lineup card, but for much more severe reasons. In a practice for his Devon Prep high school team, Jonik tore his left ACL after an awkward slide while trying to make a catch in the outfield.
“I’m out for the rest of the season and won’t be quite ready in the fall as well,” said Jonik. “But I’m optimistic that I’ll be 100% for next spring.”
But the Seabees weren’t the only team on the field missing a crucial piece due to injury, as Exton manager Steve “Smitty” Smith was also inactive after a recent surgery to replace his right knee. He was also in the hospital for a wrist injury and a tear in his left rotator cuff.
Needless to say, both teams had ‘Smitty’ in their thoughts.
“Make sure you give a shout-out to Smitty after this one,” said opposing manager Weaver.
Caln 15, Exton 4, 5 innings
Exton 030 10 — 4
Caln 0(11)1 3X — 15