When it's Council Rock North vs. Council Rock South, with the Bucks County neighbors separated by only a few miles on Route 232, the competition is especially intense.
That was the case Tuesday afternoon on the diamond when South, boosted by ace righthander Greg Paprocki's four-hit outing, held off North, 3-2, in a Suburban One League National Conference showdown in Holland.
After escaping a late rally and nailing down the complete-game win, an emotional Paprocki jumped off the mound and shouted a few words in the direction of the visiting dugout.
"That's not like me," the 6-foot, 170-pound senior said. "I guess I got caught up in the moment. They were doing a lot of chirping during the game. There was a lot of trash-talking from both sides, really."
The Golden Hawks, ranked No. 10 in Southeastern Pennsylvania by The Inquirer, improved to 6-1 overall and 4-1 in National Conference action.
Paprocki, who doubles as an outfielder, grew up playing little-league baseball for Holland. Many of North's players suited up for rival Newtown.
"Whenever you're going to play North, you're really anxious in school," Paprocki said. "You're sitting in your chair and biting your nails, tapping your feet. You live for games like this."
In the latest chapter of the 12-year rivalry, Paprocki held the Indians (6-3, 4-3) to three hits though six innings. Down by 3-0, North, with the aid of two errors, closed the gap to one in its final at-bat.
"I started kind of slow, was leaving my breaking ball up," Paprocki said. "In the fifth, when I got three outs on pop-ups, that was a big turning point."
Paprocki, who will pitch at La Salle University, mixes a fastball clocked in the mid-80-m.p.h. range (he topped out at 88 last summer), slider, curveball, and change-up.
Of his slider, the 18-year-old said, "That's probably my out pitch. When I can locate it well, it gives me the upper hand on batters."
South has been led on offense by senior third baseman Jake Nevin, junior second baseman Nick Ponente, senior shortstop Will Facenda, and senior centerfielder Tyler Anderson.
In choosing to play baseball at La Salle, Paprocki said Explorers skipper Mike Lake, who previously coached at Archbishop Ryan, was "definitely the main reason. He shows he cares about you and your studies. He wants you to geta good degree."
Paprocki, who was a two-year starter at quarterback in football, plays summer ball with the Philly Bandits. He plans to major in accounting at La Salle.
Extra bases. West Chester East's Culver Hughes is 3-1 with a 2.66 ERA and 30 whiffs in 27 innings. He is batting .423 with a .654 slugging percentage. ... Lower Moreland's Jordan Pocrass is batting .579. ... Springside Chesntut Hill's Riley Mihalik is hitting .500 with 10 RBIs. ... Central Bucks South's Matt Radwanski is 2-2 with a 0.54 ERA. He has yielded only 2 earned runs in 25 2/3 innings. ... Methacton's Austin Bregman is batting .457 with 13 runs and 10 RBIs. ... Pennsbury's Brendan Campbell is hitting .452 with a .613 slugging percentage. ... Hatboro-Horsham's David Brown is 2-0 with a 1.33 ERA. ... Upper Dublin's John Lee is hitting .394 with 11 runs . ... Plymouth Whitemarsh's Mike Whalon is 3-1 with a 0.94 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 22 1/3 innings. ... Downingtown East's pitching staff is anchored by Dan Gittis (3-0), Eric Sigovich (3-1), and Kyle Ajjan (3-0). ... North Penn's Collin Healey is 3-1 with a 4.25 ERA. ... Cheltenham's Calvin Salazar is 5-0 with a 0.68 ERA and 26 K's in 30 innings.