Diamonds topples Rebels
After Norristown had sunk into a two-game hole in its Perkiomen Valley Twilight LHDJuH VHPLfinDO SODyRII VHULHV DJDLnVW APEOHU, fiUVW baseman Mark Roth spent a sleepless night wondering what had happened. His conclusion? The Diamonds were still the better team. And after the Game Two setback, he made sure everyone on the bench knew that they still were goLnJ WR ZLn WhH EHVW-RI-fiYH set.
“I even texted Vince (Norristown manager Vince Elsier) at 1 in the morning, and told him there was no way (Ambler) was going to beat (Mike) Caron, (Matt) Sperling and (Matt) Zoltak, our pitchers in the next three games.
“With all due respect to Ambler, because they have good pitching, too, I just didn’t think they could beat our guys.”
Sure enough, Roth turned prophet.
Caron allowed just two runs in Game Three, Sperling tossed a two-hit shutout in Game Four and Thursday night at Latshaw-McCarthy Field, Zoltak brought the Diamonds all the way back, fashioning a complete-game, four-hitter as Norristown returned from the brink with a 6-1 win and a 3-2 victory in the series.
With the victory, Norristown returns to the Perky LHDJuH finDOV WR WDNH Rn three-time defending chamSLRn CROOHJHYLOOH. 7hH finDOV series will pit Norristown against Collegeville for the third year in a row and the 12th time in league history.
Norristown brought a terULfiF VHULHV WR Dn DnWL-FOLPDFtic end, scoring all six of its UunV RYHU WhH fiUVW WhUHH Lnnings, then coasting behind Zoltak.
The Diamonds got it startHG Ln WhH fiUVW ZhHn -HVVH Daywalt, an offensive catalyst all year long, singled to right off Rebels starter Zach Wasson, stole second and third and scored on Bryan Mulhern’s ground out.
Pete O’Hara doubled in a second run with two out in the second, and the Diamonds were on their way.
Wasson had befuddled the league for much of the season, and was thought to be doubly dangerous with an
extra day’s rest, made possible by Wednesday night’s rainout.
But Norristown, beaten by Wasson in Game Two of the series, got to the tough righthander, putting the game away with a four-run third inning.
Daywalt, again, got things started with a single. Backto-back singles scored Daywalt.
Then after Roth was hit by a pitch attempting to bunt to load the bases, Mike Isgro’s bloop single plated a pair and Javier Barretto’s single to center completed the scoring.
“I think what helped was facing (Wasson) for the second time in the series,” said Daywalt, who reached base three times. “We kind of got his timing down and what he liked throwing in certain situations.
“We were a little more comfortable facing him.”
Ambler scored in the home third on a pair of walks, a wild pitch and Rocky FerULHU’V LnfiHOG VLnJOH.
But the Rebels’ frustration began to show in the later innings.
Mike Ferrier was tagged out after it was ruled he FDPH RII fiUVW EDVH DIWHU EHDW- ing out a hit in the fourth, then was ejected for arguing the bizarre call.
In the Norristown sixth, Ambler manager Marty Eckert was tossed after arguing that Pete O’Hara had been hit by his own bunted ball outside the batter’s box.
But by game’s end, all Eckert had was respect for Norristown and praise for his team.
“(Norristown) is as good as advertised,” Eckert said. “Even though they’ve changed some this year, they’re still that franchise that’s been doing it for years and knows how to win big games. Vince has done a great job with them.
“Our guys are probably not going to realize what they’ve accomplished this year for a couple of weeks, but what they did this year was pretty special.
“They faced a good ballclub in this series and were a break or two away from winning it.”
As for Collegeville, Roth said the Diamonds would be ready.
“(Collegeville) is the No. 1 seed and the three-time champs,” he said. “They’re a good team - they hit, they pitch and they play defense.
“BuW wH’UH D FRnfiGHnW team right now.”