Making its first appearance in the PIAA state baseball tournament, Council Rock South thrived with timely hitting, a strike zone-pounding southpaw, and flawless defense.
In Monday's first-round matchup against Monsignor Bonner, the Golden Hawks, a 10th-year program, made history with an 8-3 triumph at Richie Ashburn Field in South Philly's FDR Park.
"This is a cool experience," said Council Rock South senior shortstop Billy Fleming. "You play a team you've never played before, so you don't really know what to expect. You have to make adjustments on the fly."
Fleming, a leadoff man and West Virginia signee, paced a nine-hit attack with a 3-for-4 performance. The 6-foot-1, 195-pounder singled in the first, tripled to left-center field in the third, and doubled in the same direction in the sixth.
With a rock-solid defense behind him, junior lefty Bret DeStefano allowed no free passes and fanned three in a complete-game effort.
"He stayed in the strike zone all game and let the defense take care of the rest," Fleming said. "That's what you need out of pitcher, especially in the playoffs. He's very poised. He doesn't let anything bother him."
Next for Council Rock South, District 1's No. 4 seed, is a Thursday quarterfinal against District 1 champion Spring-Ford at a site and time to be determined.
Bonner, District 12's two-time titlist, lost in the first round of states again. Last year, the Friars (17-6) were shown the door by Great Valley.
"I thought we were better prepared than last year," Bonner coach Joe DeBarberie said. "When you reach this level, you have to be playing your 'A' game at that time. They were the better team today."
Things started badly for the Friars. Thanks to a two-base fielding error, Fleming wound up at third on his single to center. He scored on Zach Fitzgerald's groundout to shortstop.
Brian Donnelly, a fleet-footed No. 9 hitter, keyed the Golden Hawks' four-run fourth with a three-run triple to left. "He's one of the best athletes in our building," Council Rock South coach Greg Young said.
Before Donnelly's shot, Kane Price drew an 11-pitch, two-out walk off starter Matt Dolan. On a 3-2 count, a pitch was ruled a foul ball by the home plate umpire. DeBarberie contended that Kane never made contact with the ball on his swing. "I thought we should have been out of the inning," he said.
Dolan, a first-team all-Catholic pick who came in with an 8-1 record, allowed five hits, five runs (four earned), and two walks in four innings.
His replacement, Matt Hudash, didn't make it through the fifth. Aided by three walks and a pair of wild pitches, the Golden Hawks (17-5) scored three more runs to make it 8-0.
Jim Haley highlighted Bonner's three-run fifth with a two-run triple to right.
Council Rock S. 100 430 0 - 8 9 0
Monsignor Bonner 000 030 0 - 3 8 1
WP: Bret DeStefano. LP: Matt Dolan. 2B: CRS-Billy Fleming. 3B: CRS-B. Fleming, Brian Donnelly; MB-Jim Haley.