Pen­nridge misses in­jured Ta­toian in loss

North Penn Life - - SPORTS - By Mike Prince mprince@mont­gomeryme- dia.com

When Pen­nridge de­feated :yRPLQg VDOOHy :HsW -uQH 6, it gave the Rams rea­son to cel­e­brate, as it kept their sea­son alive and put them in WKH sWDWH sHPL­fiQDOs. BuW WKH win was still bittersweet for Pen­nridge coach Tom Nuneviller and his squad thanks to one costly in­jury that was sus­tained in the bot­tom of the fourth in­ning.

While pitch­ing with the lead, Pen­nridge star sopho­more Dave Ta­toian threw a two-out pitch and no­ticed some dis­com­fort in his pitch­ing arm. The re­sult? The Rams’ closer, sec­ond base­man and three-hole hit­ter was forced to leave the game with an ap­par­ent el­bow in­jury and, even worse, wasn’t able to par­tic­i­pate in PRsW RI -uQH 11’s sWDWH sHPL­fiQDO.

With­out Ta­toian, one of Pen­nridge’s most im­por­tant SODyHrs ERWK LQ WKH fiHOG DQG in the lineup, the Rams were de­feated by neigh­bor­hood and con­fer­ence ri­val North Penn, 3-0, in a PIAA Class AAAA sHPL­fiQDO DW 6SrLQgFord High School’s Ram Sta­dium.

Af­ter de­feat­ing the Knights three times in as many op­por­tu­ni­ties dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son and dis­trict play­offs, Pen­nridge was un­able to get past North Penn when it mat­tered most, and the loss of Ta­toian was no­ticed.

“Dave got the OK to swing

the bat, but not throw, so we had to sit him to­day,” Nuneviller said re­gard­ing Ta­toian, who sat for the en­tire game be­fore pinch-hit­ting in the top of the sev­enth in­ning. “You take your three-hole hit­ter out of your bat­ting or­der and it’s tough and I think it af­fects the lineup. When you take one of your main guys out of the or­der, it will af­fect you a lit­tle bit, but we wHrH cRn­fidHnW.”

De­spite only be­ing a sopho­more, Ta­toian, a re­li­able closer and a .300 hit­ter, was nDPHd WR WKH firVW WHDP AOOSubur­ban One Con­ti­nen­tal CRnIHrHncH WKLV VHDVRn. And not only that, but he was the only non-se­nior to be named to the team.

With­out Ta­toian in the lineup, the Rams’ of­fense strug­gled, tal­ly­ing just four KLWV wKLOH JHWWLnJ RnOy fiYH run­ners on base.

“Dave con­trib­utes a lot to the whole lineup,” said Pen­nridge se­nior catcher Mike Kac­er­gis, who is gen­er­ally the clean-up hit­ter in the Rams’ lineup but was moved up to third with the ab­sence of Ta­toian. “He’s a good power hit­ter, he has a good on-base per­cent­age and is a solid guy at sec­ond base. We knew we were go­ing to miss him, but we had a good fresh­man in Danny Long to re­place him and we knew he could play. I think Danny com­peted very well in Dave’s place.”

Not hav­ing Ta­toian in the lineup is ob­vi­ously not the only rea­son why Pen­nridge lost, but it cer­tainly gave the Rams a dis­ad­van­tage against a North Penn team that was unDEOH WR fiJurH RuW WKH Rams out all year.

While Pen­nridge’s sea­son ended one game ear­lier than it would have liked, and with an over­all record of 20-8, the Rams should have an op­por­tu­nity to be right back in a con­tend­ing po­si­tion next year with a very strong sopho­more class led by Ta­toian.

“We have good base­ball play­ers and we have three sopho­mores who started as fresh­men last year,” Nuneviller said. “They got good ex­pe­ri­ence and that paid off this year. They were able to cRPH Ln Dnd EH cRn­fidHnW and play some base­ball. We got some guys who will be back and we’re look­ing for­ward to that.”

Kac­er­gis, who is also the Rams’ cap­tain, will be leav­ing Pen­nridge on a sour note, but he said he couldn’t be hap­pier with what his team was able to ac­com­plish this sea­son.

“It’s been a heck of a run,” he said. “Look­ing back at where we started with early morn­ing prac­tices, no one thought we would get this far. We knew states was far away and then we made it to the play­offs and got here, but we just fell one game short. It was still a great sea­son.”

For Mont­gomery Me­dia / SU­SAN KEEN

North Penn’s Brian Maher winds up for a pitch dur­ing the PIAA semi­fi­nals against Pen­nridge at Spring-Ford June 11.

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