Baseball: Neumann-Goretti downs La Salle, 5-4, for Catholic League title

Blog Image 924249 - O'Brien
Neumann-Goretti's seniors and skipper Mike "Big Zoom" Zolk celebrate winning the Catholic League title.

A throwing error in the bottom of the eighth inning opened the door for Neumann-Goretti to capture its second straight Catholic League championship and third in four seasons.

The Saints, riding the arm of Joey Gorman for seven innings and overcoming four errors, eked out a 5-4, eight-inning win over La Salle on Tuesday at Widener University.

Pinch-runner Joe Lolio, running on the pitch, scored from first base on Joe Kinee's sacrifice bunt toward third base. Mike Piscopo's throw across the diamond skipped past first baseman Chris Melillo, rolling all the way to the fence and allowing Lolio to score.

Gorman, who threw 144 pitches, was lifted with no outs in the top of the eighth. Junior righthander John LaMotta picked up the win in relief.

The Explorers, who were trying for their first Catholic League title since 2005, totaled 10 hits.

In the fourth inning, despite three N-G errors, La Salle managed only one run. With the bases loaded, the St. Joseph's-bound Gorman got P.J. Acierno to ground out to second.

For N-G, soph first baseman Josh Ockimey drilled a two-run home run to right field (about 320 feet) in the third.

La Salle senior righthander Kevin Long went the distance, allowing six hits and striking out three.

Ockimey opened the bottom of the eighth by drawing a five-pitch walk. Lolio, a sophomore who mostly played JV ball this season, took over as the baserunner.

After Jimmy Kerrigan flew out to center, Kinee put down the bunt that forced Piscopo to charge in quickly and hurry a throw to first.

N-G (17-3) and La Salle (19-3) will try for District 12 titles on Thursday at Richie Ashburn Field. The Explorers will take on Frankford at 12:15 p.m. At 3:15 p.m., the Saints will battle Philadelphia Electrical Charter.

-Rick O'Brien