MERCER COUNTY 9, LEHIGH VALLEY 2
Mercer County beat two opponents and a late-afternoon thunderstorm Tuesday at Citizens Bank Park to capture its first Carpenter Cup Classic baseball title since 2004.
After ousting Jersey Shore in the completion of Monday's rain-suspended game, Brian Giallella's squad knocked off Lehigh Valley, 9-2, and claimed top honors shortly before heavy winds and rain arrived in South Philly.
"It means a lot," Mercer centerfielder Eddie Ashley said. "Every team we played was good. Last year, when we lost [to Lehigh Valley] in the first round, it was disappointing. We were anxious to turn things around."
Ashley, who recently graduated from Steinert, registered a pair of RBI singles in the final. His first, a shot to right field, was part of a five-run, fourth-inning outburst.
Mike Scaringelli (Notre Dame) contributed a two-run single to left in the fourth. In a three-run sixth, Brodie Catherina (Hopewell Valley) followed Ashley's RBI single with one of his own to increase the lead to 8-1.
Mercer, which handed Jersey Shore an 8-6 defeat, opened the tourney with wins over Burlington County (8-4 score) and Delaware County (14-2). "I think we got up early in every one of our games," Ashley said.
Against Lehigh Valley, starter Dylan Malinosky (Hightstown) combined with five others on a seven-hitter. He earned the win, while throwing 1 1/3 innings of hitless relief, against Jersey Shore.
"He was still somewhat loose after the first game, so I figured, 'Let's go with him,' " said Giallella, the boss at Steinert. "I figured we could back him up with our other guys."
Ashley, Malinosky, and Carpenter Cup teammates Dave Osnato and Brandon Kirk, both from Hamilton West, will continue their careers at Mercer County Community College. Kirk notched six assists at shortstop versus Lehigh Valley.
In its win over Jersey Shore, Mercer's three-run ninth was highlighted by an RBI double from Nick Kagel (Lawrence) and an RBI single from John Mastrangelo (Steinert).
Lehigh Valley 000 001 010-2 7 2
Mercer County 000 503 01x-9 11 2
WP: Paul Sparano. LP: Walt Roland. 2B: MC-Brodie Catherina. 3B: LV-Damin Muth.
Mercer County 002 000 213-8 13 1
Jersey Shore 001 000 230-6 10 5
WP: Dylan Malinosky. LP: Rich Power. 2B: MC-Brodie Catherina, Gerry Gomez, Nick Kagel; JS-Ryan Ramiz.