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