Baseball: Moorestown beats Rancocas Valley

 

By Phil Anastasia

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Alex Campbell drove in the game's first run with a single.

He drove in the game-winning run with a sacrifice fly.

But the Moorestown catcher's biggest contribution to his team's rousing, 6-4 victory over previously undefeated Rancocas Valley on Tuesday was a diving defensive play.

Campbell scrambled to gather an errant pitch, then dove to tag out a runner at the plate for the key out in the seventh inning of a wild Burlco Liberty Division game at the Red Devils' athletic complex in Eastampton.

"That was huge," Campbell said of the play that began with the bases loaded and no out.

Tyler Kaiser scored two runs and drove in another and pinch-hitter Scott Zimmer delivered a two-run single as Moorestown (6-4, 4-2) rallied from a 4-1 deficit with five runs in the top of the seventh inning.

"I can't even describe how huge this is for us," said Kaiser, a Rider recruit who got the pitching win in relief of starter Zach Michaud (four innings, no runs, three hits).

Moorestown scored its third win in a row and handed Rancocas Valley (7-1, 3-1), the No. 8 team in The Inquirer Top 10, its first loss in an exciting game that went from a taut, five-inning pitcher's duel to an action-packed scramble in the final two innings.

"It was like all of a sudden, 'Kaboom,'" Moorestown coach Bill Donoghue said.

Campbell, who plans to play next season at Ursinus, gave Moorestown a 1-0 lead in the sixth when his two-out single plated Kaiser, who had walked.

Rancocas Valley went in front 4-1 in the bottom of the sixth as Shane Pastore drilled an RBI single, two more runs scored on a bases-loaded error and another crossed on a bases-loaded walk.

"I thought we were in good shape up 4-1 with their 7-8-9 hitters coming up," Rancocas Valley coach Dave Hower said. "But give Moorestown all the credit."

Consecutive singles by John Clark, Jesse Fante and Dallas Clark (no relation to John) loaded the bases in the top of the seventh. Kaiser drove home one run with a single.

After an out, Zimmer stepped to the plate as a pinch-hitter and chopped a two-run single into left field to tie the score.

Campbell drove home Kaiser with the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly to deep center.

"One out, runner on third, I was just trying to get the ball out of the infield," Campbell said.

Rancocas Valley loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the seventh, but Campbell's diving tag short-circuited the Red Devils' rally -- and also allowed the Quakers to intentionally walk Maryland recruit Nick Cieri for the third time.

"If Alex doesn't make that play, we have to pitch to Cieri," Donoghue said of the Rancocas Valley catcher, who probably is South Jersey's most dangerous hitter. "Who knows what happens?"

Moorestown 000 001 5 -- 6 9 2

Rancocas Valley 000 004 0 -- 4 8 0

WP: Tyler Kaiser. LP: Mason Anderson.

2B: M-Drew Pederson, Jeff Briggs; RV-Nick Cieri.

Contact Phil Anastasia at panastasia@phillynews.com. Follow @PhilAnastasia on Twitter.

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