CENTRAL 13, FRANKFORD 12
In opting to attend Central High and play baseball there, Tom Benek followed in the footsteps of brothers Jim and Larry. Tuesday afternoon, the senior may have cemented his position as the best clutch performer.
Capping of a miraculous comeback against Public League Division A rival Frankford, Tom Benek delivered a two-out, one-run walk-off single to give the host Lancers a 13-12 victory at Ogontz and Somerville.
Before his deciding hit to right field, the third baseman received a few words of advice from brother Jim, a first-year assistant coach at Central.
"I told him not to try to hit a home run," Jim Benek said. "We had the tying run on second base and the winning run on first base."
Down by 12-5, Central rallied in the seventh with eight hits. The last four runs came with two outs. A dropped pop-up to second base, with two gone and Frankford ahead by 12-7, kept the door open for the improbable triumph.
Said Tom Benek: "I told everyone, 'We're not going to win with walks. We have to go up there looking to hit. You have to wait on your pitch and go after it.' "
On a 3-1 count, Benek's shot to right, coupled with a fielding error, set off the celebration. "I want the game in my hands at the end," the 6-foot, 190-pounder said. "I hopped into the box on that last one. I was so ready to hit."
Benek, who lives near Rhawn Street and Oxford Avenue in Fox Chase, went 3 for 4 with three RBIs from the cleanup spot. He delivered a two-run single in the first inning and added a double to deep center in the fifth.
Earlier this season, against Division A foe Prep Charter, it was Benek's bases-clearing double that lifted Central to a 17-16, four-hour win. "He wants it bad," Lancers skipper Rich Weiss said. "He loves to hack."
First-place Central (8-2 in division play) was aided in the seventh by Anthony DeVito's RBI single, K.J. McFarlane's two-run double, Kyle Newcomb's RBI triple, and Tyler Barreto's RBI single.
"That was just resilience," said Benek, who doubles as a first baseman. "We didn't want to lose to Frankford twice this season, especially on our home field."
Jim Benek (Class of 2007) played third and first base for the Lancers; Larry Benek (2000) was a shortstop. Jim was part of the 2006 league-championship squad.
The rebuilding Pioneers (5-5) fell despite notching 15 hits. They lost third-baseman-reliever Carlos Ramirez (two RBI singles) to an ankle injury in the top of the sixth.
Frankford 213 120 3-12 15 3
Central 210 1018-13 14 5
WP: K.J. McFarlane. LP: Emanuel Ramirez. 2B: F-Eduardo Sanchez 2, Chagito Almodovar; C-McFarlane, Tom Benek, Louis Lobron. 3B: C-Mike Duson, Kyle Newcomb.