Monday, December 22, 2014

Baseball: Southeastern Pa. Notebook

For the second time in its last three baseball playoff games, Methacton is matched against a familiar foe.

Baseball: Southeastern Pa. Notebook

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Methacton, which defeated Boyertown for its first district title, takes on Pioneer Athletic Conference rival Spring-Ford in a PIAA Class AAAA state quaretrfinal at 4 p.m. Thursday at Neumann University in Aston. Spring-Ford won both regular-season meetings.

For the second time in its last three baseball playoff games, Methacton is matched against a familiar foe.

After beating Boyertown for its first PIAA District 1 Class AAAA title, the Warriors will take on Spring-Ford, another Pioneer Athletic Conference rival, in a state quarterfinal at 4 p.m. Thursday at Neumann University in Aston.

"You don't expect to see a team from your league in the district final or an Elite Eight state game," Methacton coach Paul Spiewak said.

Spring-Ford won both regular-season meetings, by 2-0 on April 10 and 8-2 on May 2.

"That gives you a positive feeling going into the game, but Methacton is a good team and capable of beating anyone," Rams coach Bruce Brobst said.

Spring-Ford (19-7) is expected to start junior Cameron Simmons on the mound. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound righthander is 5-0 with a 0.76 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 36 2/3 innings.

Simmons, who doubles as an outfielder and has committed to Virginia, pitched the last inning of Monday's 2-1 win over District 11 champ Parkland. Starter Bret Clarke held the Trojans to three hits and one run over six innings.

Methacton (22-6) will counter with either Tim Carfrey or John Wiedmayer, both senior righthanders. Carfrey, working the last 2 2/3 innings, and starter Owen McCue combined on a five-hit shutout in Monday's 4-0 blanking of Public League titlist George Washington.

Brobst said junior leadoff man and shortstop Connor Klemann, a Penn State recruit who is batting .443 with 28 runs and 15 RBIs will sit out a second straight game with an unspecified illness.

Without Klemann, Spring-Ford will bank on continued offensive production from centerfielder David Gulati (.333 average, 22 RBIs), second baseman Connor Murphy (.317, 14), and catcher Corey Rantz (.306, 16).

The Warriors, with 10 straight victories, are led at the plate by third baseman Kyle Lowery (.464 average, 30 RBIs), centerfielder Kyle Feaster (.375, 15), and rightfielder Jim Shomberg (.371, 17).

Methacton second baseman Austin Bregman (.389, 22) is expected to sit out with a labrum injury suffered while taking a swing against Washington.

The Rams are two wins away from reaching the state final for the third time in seven seasons; in 2011, the Warriors advanced to the state quarters before losing to eventual champ Conestoga.

Extra bases. With Temple's program folding, Springfield (Montco) senior catcher Marten Pauwels plans to play at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Fla. He batted .469 with 24 RBIs and 17 runs this season. ... For Central, first baseman-pitcher Anthony DeVito and outfielder-pitcher Danny Holdsman batted .481 and .463, respectively. ... Penn Charter shortstop Steve Cohen, who is bound for Lafayette, batted .455 with 28 runs and 23 RBIs. ... Holy Ghost Prep junior righthander Tim Brennan went 3-1 with a 0.76 ERA. Over the last two seasons, he allowed only eight earned runs in 90 innings. ... Archbishop Ryan senior shortstop Bobby Romano, who is headed to Fairleigh Dickinson, hit .454 with 24 runs and 20 RBIs ... Neumann-Goretti senior first baseman Josh Ockimey, who has committed to play at Indiana, worked out for the Phillies twice at Citizens Bank Park in the last week. ... Abington junior catcher Nick Bein batted .440 with 19 runs and 16 RBIs. ... For Pennsbury, second baseman Brendan Campbell and outfielder Justin Jacko hit .470 and .420, respectively. ... Bishop Shanahan junior centerfielder Jeff Zebrowski batted .469. Sophomore third baseman Riley O'Day (.451) was next in line for the Eagles. ... Frankford's offensive catalysts were a trio of sophomores: first baseman Edgardo Bernard (.526), outfielder Mike Hollinger (.442), and shortstop Xavier Sanchez (.415). ... Great Valley senior righthander Dylan Nicklas went 7-1 with a 0.47 ERA and 68 K's in 44 1/3 innings.

Rick O'Brien Inquirer Columnist
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About this blog
Rick O’Brien has been at The Inquirer since 1993, primarily covering high school sports in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Reach Rick at robrien@phillynews.com.

Rick O'Brien Inquirer Columnist
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