Hawks shot down by CB West in opener

The Advance of Bucks County - - SPORTS - By Steve Sherman

Buck­sLo­calS­ports Ed­i­tor

Free bases. In base­ball, you wanna get ‘em, not give ‘em.

On Fri­day, March 23, on a day more suited for ice hockey then base­ball, Coun­cil Rock South was hand­ing them out like free water ices DW RLWD’s Rn WhH firsW GDy RI spring. The Golden Hawks gave away 16 of them, in­clud­ing 13 walks.

And Sub­ur­ban One League (SOL) Con­ti­nen­tal Con­fer­ence Cen­tral Bucks West took full ad­van­tage. The Bucks used just two hits in reg­is­ter­ing a 4-0 edge that in­cluded three un­earned runs in the vis­i­tors’ fourth. In the eighth, af­ter load­ing the bases on a pair of walks and a hit bats­man, West strung to­gether three straight RBI hLWs Ln D fivH-run HLJhWhin­ning out­burst that saw the Bucks es­cape Hol­land with a 9-4 vic­tory in ex­tras.

CB West righthander gohn Fitz earned the win in a three-in­ning ef­fort in re­lief of Bucks starter Cole Malin­auskas. West south­paw Sean Lough­ery was cred­ited with the save, al­low­ing just one baserun­ner in the home eighth.

It was cer­tainly a tough way to start a sea­son for the Hawks, a team en­ter­ing the cur­rent cam­paign as de­fend­ing SOL Na­tional Con­fer­ence champs and 2012 3,AA finDOLsWs.

Start­ing on the hill for South was se­nior left­hander Ryan Flem­ing, who is headed to Rut­gers on a Di­vi­sion-I ath­letic schol­ar­ship. Flem­ing had prob­lems with con­trol, how­ever, walking IRur bDWWHrs Ln WhH firsW WhrHH in­nings. With his team trail­ing in the top of the fourth, Flem­ing al­lowed West to load the bases on nary a hit then tossed a pair of wild pitches that saw the Bucks ex­tend their lead to 2-0 on a run sFRrHG by RuW­fiHOGHr :LOO Tay­lor.

That was the end of Flem­ing’s day on the mound. Mak­ing mat­ters worse for the Hawks, re­liever Dom Cocco is­sued a pair of bases-loaded walks that al­lowed West to go on ahead by a 4-0 score.

The boys from Hol­land bat­tled back, how­ever. Flem­ing – who scored two of South’s four runs and crushed a pair of in­ningopen­ing triples – ig­nited both ral­lies for the Hawks, start­ing off with a one-out sin­gle in the home fourth. With two outs, catcher Pete DeLuca (2 RBI, D) smacked an RBI dou­ble that scored Flem­ing fol­lowed by an RBI sLnJOH by FHnWHr­fiHOGHr 0DWW Scan­na­pieco that closed the gap to two.

Flem­ing got things go­ing in South’s di­rec­tion again in the sixth, tag­ging Malin­auskas with a lead­off triple then coming home on a bunt sin­gle by DeLuca af­ter a walk to ju­nior righthander Matt Walsh. With run­ners at the cor­ners, Walsh came home with the ty­ing run when DeLuca got him­self caught Ln D runGRwn bHWwHHn firsW and sec­ond base. Fitz threw the ball away how­ever and the Hawks run­ner was safe at sec­ond. He’d get to third on a passed ball, one of three oc­ca­sions in the last three in­nings South had the win­ning run just 90 feet from home plate.

In the bot­tom of the sev­enth, short­stop Will Fac­cenda was left stand­ing on third base af­ter get­ting on board with a walk, reach­ing sHFRnG Rn D sDFrL­fiFH DnG steal­ing third.

In the vis­i­tors’ eighth, the Bucks were back at it with the free bases. South righthander Matt Walsh, who’d

done a nice job in re­lief of se­nior Dom Cocco to that point in­clud­ing pitch­ing a 1-2-3 sev­enth, al­lowed West to load the bases on a pair of walks and a hit bats­man.

With one out, Bucks catcher Ja­son Per­alta made the Hawks pay once more, stroking an RBI sin­gle that sFRrHG CB WHsW RuW­fiHOGHrs Zach Marmelin and Miles 9Hr­ruWR. BuFNs FHnWHr­fiHOGHr Bren­nan Sny­der fol­lowed with an­other hit that scored Ln­fiHOGHr RRE 3KLOOLSs DnG Per­alta. A moment af­ter Fitz reached base as a hit bats- man, West short­stop Pat Kelly stroked an RBI sin­gle that pushed the score to its finDO.

“You go from 90 feet from win­ning the game to down fiYH runs Ln WKH HLJKWK LnnLnJ just like that,” ex­plained CR South head coach Ted Kirner. “It’s base­ball.”

Coming off a sea­son in which South sus­tained only one loss in cap­tur­ing SOL Na­tional Con­fer­ence and went all the way to the state cham­pi­onship game, one might sus­pect that ex­pec­ta­tions are high this sea­son for the Hawks.

How­ever, that may not be the case for South.

Gone are Hawks mound aces Brett DeStefano, Brian Don­nelly and Jeff Miller. Catcher Dan CalODKDn DORnJ ZLWK Ln­fiHOGHrs Mike Chaykin, Zak Gross and Steve Wright have also grad­u­ated.

“We’re go­ing to have to earn ev­ery­thing that we get,” stated Kirner. “We’re go­ing to have to be a scrappy team and we’re open to the chal­lenge. “We’re ex­cited for it.” South grad­u­ated 13 se­niors and what’s more, Greg Young, the only coach the Hawks had ever known, stepped down at sea­son’s end in 2012.

It ap­pears that it’s a whole new ball­game on Rock Way. In ad­di­tion to Flem­ing, South is re­ly­ing on righthanders Greg Paprocki and Matt Walsh along with Cocco, a left­hander.

“The key is get­ting th­ese guys to gel as a group,” ex­plained Kirner. “A lot of th­ese guys want recog­ni­tion. They have that pas­sion burn­ing deep down in­side to just know that they can do it.

“They know it’s pos­si­ble and they deeply want it; they just have to play.”

The Hawks open play in the SOL Na­tional Con­fer­ence April 2 at Abing­ton be­fore coming home April 4 ver­sus Tru­man. South re­turns just three to the var­sity squad in­clud­ing Flem­ing, FDFFHnGD DnG rLJKW­fiHOGHr Greg Paprocki.


Photo by Steve Sherman

Coun­cil Rock South in­fielder Jake Nevin gets back to first base in time to avoid the pick­off in sea­son-open­ing duel against CB West.

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