Chel­tenham ‘walks off’pastPW

The Colonial - - OPINION - By Rick Kauff­man

Both un­de­feated on the sea­son, both with some­thing to prove, the Chel­tenham and Ply­mouth Whitemarsh faced off for both brag­ging rights and the top spot in the Sub­ur­ban One Amer­i­can Con­fer­ence Mon­day af­ter­noon.

As ex­pected, it was a duel like no other. With five lead changes in the con­test, in­clud­ing a Ply­mouth Whitemarsh come­back with two outs in the top of the sev­enth to not only tie the game but to pull ahead, it was Chel­tenham who came out on top.

Ty­ing the game in the bot­tom of the sev­enth, it was pinch hit­ter Con­nor Bar­ton who came off the bench and belted the walk-off win­ner in a 6-5 eight-in­ning vic­tory over the vis­it­ing Colo­nials.

“Any time you beat a time like [Ply­mouth Whitemarsh], it’s huge,” said Pan­thers coach Frank De­cem­brino. “They have fight in them, came out and hit us on the chin early, got a good lead.”

It looked as though the Colo­nials were in for a big day of­fen­sively af­ter lead­off man Con­nor Purdy and two-hole hit­ter Matt Cooper both scored in the top of the first. They tacked on an­other run in the sec­ond af­ter Gavin Brody walked and scored on a Matt Nardo RBI-sin­gle.

How­ever, the Pan­thers’ bot­tom of the lineup struck twice in the sec­ond and fourth, putting four runs up to­tal and tak­ing the 4-3 lead.

Whalon, mean­while, con­tin­ued to pitch ef­fec­tively through­out de­fen­sive mis­cues of his team — in the third he threw a three-pitch in­ning — and in the bot­tom of the sixth he forced three straight bat­ters to ground out to short to pre­serve the onerun deficit.

The Colo­nials re­warded his ef­fort in the top of the sev­enth when with two outs

Dutch Rear­don scored Cooper on an RBI-triple to tie the game. Right­fielder Zach Metz put the Colo­nials on top with an RBI-sin­gle to make the score 5-4.

“I at­tribute that to our ‘never say die’ men­tal­ity,” Whalon said. “We’ve played a lot of close games, a lot of [one-run games] and we just keep stay­ing with it and do­ing what we can to stay up on top.”

But, in the bot­tom of the in­ning, Whalon walked Wes Tarver to start the in­ning, then lead­off Azaan Har­ris hit a screamer up the third­base line that was booted by in­fielder Rear­don and rolled into left field. Gabe Hof­fer­man stepped to the plate and bat­ted in the ty­ing run. How­ever, with the win­ning run in scor­ing po­si­tion, Whalon got Max Per­il­stein to hit into the 6-4-3 dou­ble play to end the in­ning.

Af­ter go­ing down in or­der in the top of the eighth, Whalon again asked for the ball in the bot­tom of the in­ning. He al­lowed hits to Jack McGlade, the even­tual win­ning run, and Calvin Salazar. Pinch hit­ter Mark Franchetti seem­ingly hit into a dou­ble play that would have ended the in­ning, but Salazar was called safe at sec­ond and Franchetti safe on the fielder’s choice. The next bat­ter, pincher hit­ter Bar­ton, came up and hit a screamer to deep right field and the rest is his­tory.

“I was a lit­tle ner­vous, but I knew I wanted to be in that spot. I wanted to prove my­self,” Bar­ton said. “I’ve been work­ing through some strug­gles swing­ing the bat, but this past week I’ve felt great.”

21st Century Me­dia photo / RICK KAUFF­MAN

Michael Whalon fol­lows through on a pitch dur­ing Mon­day’s Sub­ur­ban One Amer­i­can Con­fer­ence game against Chel­tenham.

21st Century Me­dia photo / ADRI­ANNA HOFF

La Salle’s Adam Ar­ca­dia suc­cess­fully steals sec­ond base be­fore Arch­bishop Ryan’s Chris Sanchez can tag him dur­ing Satur­day’s Philadel­phia Catholic League ac­tion.

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