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Down to last pitch, Lenape pulls out a victory

Lenape's seniors weren't down to their last inning.

Lenape's seniors weren't down to their last inning.

They weren't down to their last out.

They were down to their last strike.

"We always say, 'The beauty of this game is that anything can happen,' " Lenape coach Phil Fiore said.

Something special happened on Friday.

Down to its last strike, Lenape rallied for five runs in the bottom of the seventh to score a 7-5 victory over Cherry Hill East in the quarterfinals of the South Jersey Group 4 tournament.

Cherry Hill East, the No. 16 seed, had beaten No. 1 seed Washington Township in the first round. Now, the Cougars were on the verge of knocking off the eighth-seeded Indians after scoring two runs in the top of the seventh to take a 5-2 lead.

"That was a little deflating," Fiore said. "But when we came in, my assistant coach, Mike Smith, gathered the players in the dugout and told them, 'Hey, we play until the last out.'

"You just have to keep believing and that's what these kids did."

Lenape pulled within 5-4 when senior Jeff McGarry, who was a strike away from the end of his career, stroked a 3-2 pitch over the left-field fence for a two-run home run.

Next, Bobby Isopi hit a triple, Bryan Clayton was intentionally walked, and junior Kevin McGarry, Jeff's brother, drove a walk-off, three-run home run over the left-field fence.

"This is a good group of kids, a good group of seniors," said Fiore, whose team will face Olympic American rival and No. 4 seed Eastern in Tuesday's semifinals. "They were down to their last strike. But it just goes to show. You have to keep playing."

Colonial power. Through the regular season, it didn't seem like the strongest of seasons in the Colonial Conference.

But the Colonial has shined in the state tournament. The league has four teams in Tuesday's semifinals - and that's without Haddon Heights, which was the best team during the regular season.

Patriot Division rivals Audubon and Haddon Township will square off for the third time in the South Jersey Group 1 semifinals. The teams split a pair of lopsided affairs, as the Hawks won a 12-2 decision on May 2 and the Green Wave won by 13-4 on May 24.

Meanwhile, Haddonfield and West Deptford - two teams that finished far behind Haddon Heights in the Liberty race - have advanced to the South Jersey Group 2 semifinals.

Haddonfield scored 10 runs in the first three innings, highlighted by Kevin Davis' three-run homer, to stun Haddon Heights, 14-1, in Friday's quarterfinals. The eighth-seeded Bulldogs face fourth-seeded Lower Cape May in the semifinals.

West Deptford, the No. 10 seed, upset No. 2 Delran, 8-5, on Friday as Tony Urban picked up the save and collected three RBIs. The Eagles meet 11th-seeded Point Pleasant Boro, which stunned No. 3 Buena, in Tuesday's semifinals.

This and that. St. Augustine senior outfielder Ed Charlton collected his 100th career hit on Friday against his hometown team, Egg Harbor Township. Charlton is batting .437 with 13 doubles, 7 homers and 29 RBIs out of the lead-off spot. . . . Camden Catholic senior designated hitter Tyler Faiola leads South Jersey in extra-base hits with 24 - nine homers and 15 doubles.

Holy Cross senior Jeff Singer has put together a terrific two-way season. The left-hander is 8-1 on the mound with a 1.64 ERA and 63 strikeouts with just 17 walks. He's also batting .476 with six homers and 35 RBIs. . . . Audubon junior catcher Derek "Boomer" Wickersham leads the Green Wave in batting average with a .537 mark and has 38 RBIs. . . . Camden Catholic freshman Tom Flacco is batting .400 and is well on his way to 100 hits with 26. . . . Winslow Township senior pitcher/shortstop Rob Humes has committed to Division II Caldwell College on a combination athletic/academic scholarship.