In all-star competition, where players are known for getting their hacks at the plate, the defensive aspect is often obscured. Yet it was the play of the defense, especially in right field, that propelled the Suburban One League National/Bicentennial Athletic League to yesterday's 7-3 win over Berks County in an opening-round Carpenter Cup baseball game at Penn's Meiklejohn Stadium.
The defending champions of this 16-team single-elimination tournament will meet Lehigh Valley in tomorrow's 12:30 p.m. quarterfinal at the same venue.
Because of the expected bad weather, changes have been made in the schedule.
Today's scheduled 9 a.m. game between the Suburban American/Continental and the Tri-Cape, has been moved to 4 p.m. tomorrow. The other game today, between Jersey Shore and Burlington County, has been moved from 12:30 to 2 p.m.
Suburban National/BAL received three stellar plays from its right fielders. With runners on second and third and two outs in the first inning, junior Nick Mascioli of Delco Christian made a diving catch, extending his body as far as possible on a ball hit by Muhlenberg's John Marchiano.
"I saw it coming and near the end I sprinted and just went for it," Nascioli said.
Winning coach Keith Smeraglio of Holy Ghost Prep was duly impressed.
"Do see how far he had to run to make the catch, and he didn't chicken out because he could have collided with a teammate?" Smeraglio said. "It was such a big catch, because if it falls in they probably score two runs."
In the fifth inning, senior Tyler Orr of Neshaminy nailed Blaise Fernandez at the plate with a throw from fairly deep in right field.
"I feel my arm is strong and let it rip," Orr said.
Orr also made a fine shoestring catch to end the sixth inning with two runners on base.
"I thought it was going to hang, but it began sinking, and I slid and was able to make the catch," he said.
Nobody had more than one hit for the winners, with the most impressive being an RBI triple that hit the wall above the 380-foot sign in center field by Christopher Dock's Ryan Seiz.
Staying on the theme of great plays by rightfielders, Lehigh Valley's Andrew Brandsetter made two outstanding catches in yesterday's 3-1 win over the Inter-Ac/Independents.
With a runner on second and two outs in the sixth inning, Germantown Academy junior Sean Coyle launched a shot that looked like a sure extra-base hit. Brandsetter ran the ball down at the wall, saving one run.
"That play changed the game," said Penn Charter head coach Rick Mellor, who guided the Inter-Ac/Independents team and saw his hitters strike out 12 times.
Another defensive gem was provided by Friends Central senior Ricky Moses, who threw out a Lehigh Valley runner at third base from deep center in the seventh inning. The game ended when Brandsetter made another difficult running catch at the wall, this one on a shot by Stephen Harrington of Penn Charter.
SOL Nat./Bicen. 000 123 010 - 7 7 2
Berks County 001 011 000 - 3 10 2
WP: Andrew Strenge. LP: Brock Krumanocker. 2B: B-Kyle Hartman; Clinton Faust; SOL-Greg Olenski, Matt Hone. 3B: SOL-Ryan Seiz.
Lehigh Valley 000 101 100 - 3 6 1
InterAc/Ind. 010 000 000 - 1 3 3
WP: Mike Glassic. LP: Ken Koplove. 2B: L-Daniel Johnson, Tyler Brong 2, Tommy Crimi; I-Timmy Vernon.