Baseball: Birkhead, Patriots reel in win over Hatters

Blog Image 924249 - O'Brien
Thomas Patro slides safely past catcher Eric Thomas in Central Bucks East's 9-2 win over host Hatboro-Horsham in a Suburban One League Continntal Conference game Tuesday afternoon. (Ron Tarver/Staff Photographer)


Once Brandon Birkhead's baseball career is over, he may begin a quest to become one of the country's top anglers.

"Brandon loves fishing," Central Bucks East skipper Kyle Dennis said. "He talks about it all the time. When a game or practice ends and the guys are gathering up the equipment, he'll say, 'I can't wait to go fishing.' "

Tuesday afternoon, following an evening of trout fishing, Birkhead shined on the mound and at the plate while leading the visiting Patriots to a 9-2 romp over Hatboro-Horsham in the Suburban One League Continental Conference opener for both squads.

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound righthander, a three-sport athlete at C.B. East, allowed only two runs (one earned) and four hits in five innings. Thriving mostly with his fastball and curveball, he retired the Hatters in order in the first three frames.

Birkhead, a cleanup man, also delivered a two-run home run in a six-run second. His second blast of the season went over the left-field fence.

"It was a fastball on the inside part of the plate," said Birkhead, who was intentionally walked and scored in a three-run first. "It was a perfect pitch to hit."

Birkhead, who transferred from Pennsbury prior to his junior year, has strong baseball bloodlines. His father, Bo, starred as a pitcher at Pennsbury (Class of 1984) and New Haven. He went on to play minor-league ball for the Milwaukee Brewers organization.

"He's my No. 1 coach," Brandon Birkhead said. ""He gives me advice every game. It's positive. If it's negative, there's a good reason for it."

Birkhead's uncle, Darryl, was a hard-hitting first baseman at Pennsbury and La Salle University in the 1980s.

Of his move from Pennsbury, Brandon Birkhead said, "I bled orange and black, but coming to C.B. East was good for me. I love this school and my teammates."

Against H-H, Birkhead, also a first baseman and outfielder, threw 78 pitches, with 52 for strikes, fanned three, and walked none. Southpaw Dalton Smoot closed with a pair of 1-2-3 innings.

In totaling 10 hits, the Patriots (2-0 overall) were also sparked by shortstop David Yanni (3 for 4, two RBIs, two runs) and rightfielder Eric Chase (2 for 2, three RBIs). Third baseman Carter Usowski contributed an RBI double.

In the second innng, Yanni, who has orally committed Pittsburgh, drive in two runs with a ground-rule doule to right. Birkhead (1 for 3) followed with his shot to left.

After starter Ryan Murphy was chased in the second, the Hatters (2-2) used five more hurlers.

Birkhead, a basketball forward and tight end and defensive tackle in football, spent Monday evening fishing with brother Luke, 9, at Fanny Chapman Park in Doylestown.

"I've been fishing forever," the 18-year-old said. "It helps me relax, be more patient with the things I do."

Birkhead is considering Bloomsburg and Shippensburg for baseball. His fresman sister, Bridget, plays hoops at C.B. East.

Central Bucks East 360 000 0-9 10 1

Hatboro-Horsham 000 110 0-2 4 1

WP: Brandon Birkhead. LP: Ryan Murphy. 2B: CBE-David Yanni 2, Carter Usowski, Eric Chase; HH-Alex Kleidon. HR: CBE-Birkhead.

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