For The Tribune-Democrat
The Delweld lineup put on an opposite-field hitting clinic Friday night at Point Stadium. Eight starters in the lineup collected at least one hit as Delweld tallied 17 total to win 11-5 and take a 2-0 championship series lead over Martella’s Pharmacy.
“That’s what you got to do, you got to hit the ball where it’s pitched,” Delweld manager Chris DelSignore said. “Derek (Younker) likes to work away on a lot of hitters. We did a good job of letting the ball get deep, driving it the other way and using this big outfield here, especially down the right field line.”
Collectively, Delweld hitters peppered the right-field line four times (three doubles, one triple) for six RBI. The first six hitters in the lineup combined to go 15-29 on the night. Ian Helsel (2-for-4) and Josh Staniscia (3-for-5) each scored three runs.
“They were giving it to us,” Delweld’s Luke Campbell said about Martella’s defensive strategy of playing the right fielder toward the gap. “I’ll tell you what, if you put one down that line, you’re getting a double or triple out of the box. We scattered 17 hits, which is a pretty good number for a nine- inning game. We came through in the clutch with runners in scoring position.”
“They’re doing a good job with their approaches at the plate and right now that’s the difference in this series,” Martella’s manager Chris Pfeil said.
Delweld got on the board first in the second inning with a Marcus Shippey RBI triple down the right-field line, but could not bring Shippey in from third. The regular season champs scored two more runs in the third on a Campbell two-out, two-run double down the right-field line for a 3-0 lead.
Martella’s took advantage of three Ben Legath walks in the fourth, scoring two runs on a Jimmy Stenger RBI single past the diving third baseman and a bases-loaded walk. A flyout ended the inning, stranding three base runners.
The Delweld bats did not relent in the fifth inning. Matt Martin lined an RBI double down the right-field line. With the bases loaded, Drew Hemminger got the suicide squeeze down to score a run. Austin Sleek followed with an RBI fielder’s choice. Martin scored from third and Shippey (3-for-4, RBI) came around to score on the throwing error to first base. Pfeil argued that there should have been interference called on Hemminger as he tried to break up the double play. If called for interference, no runs would have scored. Pfeil was ejected.
Martella’s pinch-hitter Luke Williams provided an RBI single in the sixth to cut the deficit to 7-3. Pat Gully lined out sharply to the second baseman in the seventh to strand two more runners. Martella’s left 11 runners on base.
“There’s no question, when things aren’t going your way and you hit a couple line drives right at people, it deflates you a little bit,” Pfeil said. “But you know what, if you want to be a championship baseball team, you got to overcome the adversities throughout a game and right now we aren’t able to do that.”
Delweld provided the knockout punch in the eighth inning, Martin (2-for-5, two runs, three RBI) found the right-field line again on a full count for two more RBI. Campbell (3-for-5, two runs, four RBI) blasted a two-run home run over the Screen Monster.
“He (Younker) was looking to be aggressive and I was up in the count there,” Campbell said. “He made a mistake on a curveball, left it up, and I took advantage of it.”
Martella’s Jordan Giannini blasted a ball over the diving right fielder for a two-run inside-the-park home run to set the final.
Delweld’s Ben Legath went seven strong innings to get the win on the mound. The right-hander allowed three runs on four hits, walked four and struck out eight.
“He (Legath) was good tonight, it was probably his best outing of the year minus that one bad inning (the fourth),” DelSignore said. “He came out there and he dictated the pace of the game, he threw strikes and got ahead of the hitters. He was able to minimize some of the damage, giving up only two runs in that (fourth) inning, it could have gotten a lot worse.”
Martella’s must win tonight to extend the series.
“We just got to come back (tonight) and try to extend the series,” Pfeil said. “There’s not much more you can tell them. I mean, we have a veteran group and things aren’t going our way right now. But it’s baseball and if you can capture a little bit of momentum, anything can happen. Our approaches at the plate still have to get a little bit better. The difference tonight was with two strikes, they poked balls the other way (six two-strike hits), we stood there and looked at strike three. We had too many (four) called strikeouts tonight”
Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.
Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.