Baseball: Bosco, Strath Haven beat Conestoga


Since he's penciled in as Strath Haven's starting pitcher for the second Central League game of each week, Kevin Bosco had known for some time that he was going to take the hill against perennial power Conestoga.

"I was pretty excited about the chance I had," the senior righthander said. "Most of all, I wanted to be mentally prepared for the game."

Bosco responded well to the challenge Thursday afternoon, even while plunking four batters. With his complete-game four-hitter, the visiting Panthers downed the Pioneers, 5-3, in Berwyn and stayed unbeaten.

In improving his record to 4-0, the 5-foot-10, 160-pound Bosco, an erstwhile soccer midfielder and swimmer, mixed a fastball clocked in the high-70-m.p.h. range, slider, and changeup. He threw 112 pitches, with 68 for strikes.

Of the four hit batsmen, Bosco, who fanned five and walked four, said, "Before this, I think had hit only one batter this season. The ball was kind of sticking to my fingers."

Strath Haven, ranked No. 7 in Southeastern Pennsylvania by The Inquirer, improved to 10-0 overall and 8-0 in the Central League. It gained confidence last week while beating league rivals Garnet Valley and Penncrest.

"The kids started believing in themselves," Panthers coach Brian Fili said. "It's a confident bunch, it really is."

After allowing two runs in his first inning, Bosco held No. 2 Conestoga (8-2, 7-1) to three singles over the last six frames. "My thing is throwing strikes and letting them hit it," the 17-year-old said. "I have a good defense behind me. I know I'm going to get their support."

With his off-speed repertoire, Bosco this season nixed a curveball in favor of a slider. He also fine-tuned his changeup.

"The difference was that Kevin pitched a nice game, and Strath Haven put the ball in play after getting some leadoff walks," Pioneers skipper John Vogan said.

In the second, No. 9 man Nate Engleka's two-run double to left-center field gave the Panthers a 3-2 lead. They added single runs in the third (Bosco's sacrifice fly plated Donovan Davis) and fifth (David Splain scored on a throwing error).

Following Max Dolente's two-run double in the first, Conestoga's bats mostly went quiet. Junior lefty Drew Jackson (2-1 record) yielded four walks and three hits before giving way to Kyle Stefanic in the sixth.

Strath Haven 121 010 0-5 4 1
Conestoga 200 000 1-3 4 1

WP: Kevin Bosco. LP: Drew Jackson. 2B: SH-Nate Engleka; C-Max Dolente.