The Boyertown Area Times
Methacton fends off late rally, edges OJR in 10-inning thriller
Amid all the tension and hype during a battle of top 10 baseball teams in District 1 Class 6A, No. 8 Methacton was given a side of deja vu to go with its gut-check.
Up 4-0, the Warriors were dealt a four-run blow from No. 6 Owen J. Roberts in the top of the sixth, ultimately forcing extra innings. Just two days off an eight-inning loss to Pope John Paul II, Methacton was put in a spot to exorcise some demons.
“We knew this was going to be a huge swing game. Many people who were around last year knew when we lost to PJP, it went downhill from there. Not this year,” senior outfielder Jake Chapman said. “This year, we’re coming back stronger than ever.”
After entering extra innings tied 4-4 — and trading a run each in the eighth — the Warriors pulled out a 6-5 win over the Wildcats at home in 10 innings on Friday.
Chapman drove in the winning run with a bunt to wrangle in senior third baseman Ty Lohsen (2-for-4, two runs) on the play, who got on with a leadoff double.
“We just had all the momentum going for us,” Lohsen said. “Big double and then a bunt, really put us on top.”
Owen J. Roberts (5-4 overall, 1-2 PAC Liberty) took its first and only lead of the game, 5-4 in the top of the eighth inning. Tyler Brashear knocked a one-out double and Lucas Zachesky (2-for-5, two RBIs) dropped a ball into shallow grass to bring him home to break the initial extra-inning stalemate.
With two outs and nobody on in the bottom half, it was all but over. That is, until a full-count walk got Lohsen aboard. He reached third on a Chapman double then home on a wild pitch, keeping Methacton (6-1, 3-0) alive.
In a bend-don’t-break situation, the Warriors fought for every inch to flip the script from earlier in the week.
“It takes a lot of dexterity, a lot of stamina and a lot of confidence that our team has,” Chapman said, noting Methacton’s 18 innings in three days. “We play with swagger, we play with confidence and it’s just a good time.”
Tulane commit Kross Howarth tossed 5 2/3 innings of six-hit, 12-strikeout ball for the Warriors — the first five scoreless for the Wildcats. Mike Christian earned the win on the mound, closing out with five hits and three strikeouts over the last 4.2 innings.
Down four 4-0 in the top of the sixth inning, Owen J. Roberts pieced together an explosive frame to catapult right back into the game. After back-to-back walks to start, Lucas Santise cashed in with a base hit RBI and Brashear followed up with one himself.
From there, Dylan Donaghy and Zachesky rocked Methacton’s boat with consecutive RBI doubles, coming back from the depths to tie it 4-4.
“It started with one guy getting on. It started the rally, got momentum going from there,” Owen J. Roberts coach Alex Condello said. “The bottom of the order did a really good job today … We tied the game with three straight hits in the bottom of the order there, so they did a really good job.”
Brashear, an East Carolina pledge, pitched the final four innings for the Wildcats, finishing with two hits and three strikeouts. Starter Tristan Dietrich struck out nine with two hits in the first three innings and Zach Brockner (3for-3, run) tossed the following three with six hits and six strikeouts.
Methacton dealt the first blow in the bottom of the third. Bobby Heckner was hit by a pitch to lead off the frame, and after working his way to third, the senior came home on a wild pitch and throwing error for the initial run of the game.
Two innings later, Mike Christian (New Haven) made a base hit RBI, but obstruction was called on the play as Tommy Kratz (2-for5) was tangled up rounding third base behind the lead runner, sending him home to balloon Methacton’s lead 3-0.
Tyler Weil-Kasper (3-for5) added an RBI single, capping a three-run fifth inning — all of which were made with two outs — for Methacton at a point where the Warriors largely controlled the game.
“The ebbs and flows were crazy,” Warriors coach Paul Spiewak said. “First they take a one-run lead, then you’re two outs and nobody on and certainly all the momentum and percentages are with them, whereas other percentages were with us, we were up four-nothing. You have to give them credit, they battled back and their three pitchers are phenomenal.”
Condello, an Owen J. Roberts alum of 2016, is in his first year taking the reins of the school’s baseball program. Last year, the Wildcats won their first Pioneer Athletic Conference championship since 2010 — and ninth overall — along with its first District 1 title ever.
“I got the program given to me in very good hands,”
Condello said. “I was an assistant the last couple of years and when Greg Gilbert left (after 23 seasons) we kind of established this culture here … We know the target on our back coming off that good year. Getting everyone’s best makes us better as a team.”
While the Wildcats soaked up the sun last year, Methacton missed the 20team district postseason field after placing 21st in the District 1-6A rankings.
Currently in the top 10 and having survived a crucial PAC Liberty matchup beyond the wire, the Warriors remain atop the divisional standings after making a rebound from Wednesday’s crossover.
“We could’ve folded. After what happened Wednesday, it happens again today where we lose a lead late. We could’ve folded,” Spiewak said. “But to their credit, they stuck together, stayed with it and battled back.”