Valley Forge Military Academy's loss turned out to be Springside Chestnut Hill Academy's gain.

"It was a good experience, but it just wasn't for me," Zach Jancarski said of his two-year stay at Valley Forge. "I mostly decided to go there because my dad [Dave] was a military guy and thought I should give it a try."

With the aid of Jancarski, now in his third year at Springside Chestnut Hill, the visiting Blue Devils crushed Penn Charter, 16-1, in five innings Friday to keep alive their bid for an Inter-Ac League championship.

SCH struck for seven runs in the first inning and eight in the second. The game was stopped after five innings because of the 10-run mercy rule.

Jancarski, a centerfielder and No. 3-hole batter, spent his eighth and ninth grades at Valley Forge. He was a full-time boarder the first year.

"It definitely made me a tougher person, gave me a thicker skin," he said.

In four trips to the plate against the largely inexperienced Quakers, the 6-foot, 180-pound junior went 1 for 1 with two walks and a sacrifice fly. He scored three runs.

"I think my biggest strength is my speed," Jancarski said. "If I can get the ball over a middle infielder's head and get a chance to run, that's my thing. That's how I make things happen."

The Blue Devils improved to 6-2 in Inter-Ac play. The chance to catch front-runner Malvern Prep (8-1) and earn a share of top honors still exists. SCH is scheduled to host the Friars on Tuesday.

"This was an extremely important game for us," said Jancarski, who lives in East Norriton. "It was good for team morale, and it means we're not out of the league-title race."

Jancarski walked and scored in the first. He did the same in the second and, with SCH batting around, plated run No. 9 with a fly to left field. In the fifth, he singled up the middle and scored on a fielder's-choice ground out.

"Our offense has been in a slump the last four weeks," Blue Devils coach Chris Lubanski said. "It was nice to score that many runs and gain some momentum for the stretch drive."

Jancarski, who has committed to play at Maryland, was a leadoff man at the start of the season.

"You see a lot of junk batting third, but I don't mind it," he said. "The coaches felt we needed to shake things up a bit."

Also contributing to the rout were Owen McAdoo (3 for 3, two RBIs, two runs), Matt Rowland (2 for 3, two runs, two RBIs), Mike Melady (2 for 3, four RBIs), and Matt Caldwell (3 for 4, two runs, two RBIs).

Springside Chest. Hill 780 01 - 16 15 2

Penn Charter 001 00 - 1 2 1

WP: Mike Hayes. LP: T.J. Pagan. 2B: SCH-Owen McAdoo 2, Matt Caldwell 2, John DeAngelis.

Contact Rick O'Brien

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