UPPER DUBLIN 3, UPPER MORELAND 2
Dan Jacobson says the potential is there for Upper Dublin to duplicate or improve on its 2012 baseball success, when it went 18-7 and earned a berth in the PIAA Class AAAA state tournament.
"I think we have what it takes," the senior righthander said. "We have hitting, pitching, solid fielding. We also have a winning attitude."
With Jacobson scattering three singles and fanning 11 in a complete-game effort, the host Cardinals, in christening their newly renovated field, turned back Upper Moreland, 3-2, Thursday afternoon in a Suburban One League American Conference matchup.
The difference against the Golden Bears, who last year took top conference honors and advanced to the Class AAA state final, was Dane Nealis' RBI single to right field in the sixth inning.
"The guys are starting to catch some momentum," said Upper Dublin skipper Ed Wall, whose squad improved to 4-1 overall and 3-0 in conference action. "They're feeling good about themselves."
The 6-foot-5, 185-pound Jacobson, a four-year varsity member who is ticketed for Rhode Island, mixed a fastball clocked in the mid-80-m.p.h. range, curveball, slider, and change-up. He threw 113 pitches, with 73 for strikes.
"He's really starting to be the pitcher we had hoped he would be," Wall said. "His determination has been a big part of that. He's going out there with a mindset that he can't be beat."
Against Upper Moreland, Jacobson mostly quieted a feared hitting lineup that features the Hooker brothers, Charlie and Colton, Mike Cavanaugh, and Pat Driscoll.
"He's one of the better pitchers in the league," said Charlie Hooker, a senior outfielder-pitcher bound for Alderson Broaddus. "He was hitting his spots well, getting ahead in the count, and keeping us off balance."
Aided by a hit batsman and dropped infield pop-up, the Cardinals took a 2-0 lead in the third. The Golden Bears (3-2, 2-2) evened things in the fourth on a theft of home and Colton Hooker's RBI single.
For the hosts in the sixth, Harrison Guber started with a single and Jacobson drew a walk. After starter Eddie Decker was replaced by Charlie Hooker, pinch-hitter Conor McFadden set the stage for Nealis' winner with a perfectly placed bunt.
Upper Dublin catcher Thomas Juelke, who caught the eye of an Immaculata University assistant on hand, threw out a pair of would-be base stealers at second.
In suffering the loss, Decker, a senior righthander who last season went 7-0 with a 0.87 ERA, fanned nine and yielded four singles.
Did Jacobson, with his frame, consider also playing basketball for the school? "That's actually my worst sport," the Dresher resident said. "I'm just awkward on the court."
Jacobson, who prepped for the season by playing for the All-Star Baseball Academy, plans to major in marine biology at Rhode Island. He also considered Lafayette, Temple, and West Chester.
Upper Moreland 000 200 0-2 3 1
Upper Dublin 002 001 X-3 5 2
WP: Dan Jacobson. LP: Eddie Decker.