La Salle’s Joe Miller struck out the side in the top of the first inning against Archbishop Carroll on Saturday, and his teammates capitalized on that momentum in immediate and dominant fashion.
The Explorers sent 13 batters to the plate in the bottom half of the inning, scored seven runs on four hits, and chased hard-throwing lefthander and Alabama recruit Jake Kelchner to the outfield.
It was smooth sailing from there for Miller and the Explorers, as they captured the program’s first Catholic League baseball championship since 2013 with a 10-0, five-inning romp over the stunned Patriots at Immaculata University.
“To come in and put up seven runs right away was awesome, and it made my job much easier,” said Miller, a Penn-bound southpaw who totaled eight strikeouts and held Carroll to three singles.
La Salle added two runs in the third inning on RBI singles by the Cossetti twins, Andrew and Anthony. The 10-run mercy rule went into effect on Brian Schaub’s bases-loaded single in the fifth.
Andrew Cossetti, a starter at catcher since his freshman year, was thrilled that he and his senior teammates were finally able to get over the hump and earn top league honors.
“It’s something I’ve been waiting on for four years,” the St. Joseph’s recruit said. “To accomplish this, it’s really special.”
With La Salle batting around in the first inning, leadoff man Eric Marasheski made it 7-0 with a two-run single to left-center.
“I was more comfortable with my timing, said Marasheski, a shortstop who is headed to Princeton. “As soon as I saw a fastball coming, I was ready to pounce on it.”
The Explorers (20-3) captured their 2013 title in the same manner, with a 10-0, five-inning triumph over archrival St. Joseph’s Prep at Widener.
The Patriots (17-5) were aiming for their first crown since 2004.
The La Salle players dumped a cooler filled with cold water on head coach Kyle Werman, who took over for longtime skipper Joe Parisi in 2015. “We hope to do well in the district and state playoffs, but this means a whole lot to our guys,” Werman said.
Kelchner, who was 7-0 with a 0.78 ERA and 64 strikeouts in 36 innings going into the final, gave up four singles, four walks, and plunked a batter in the first inning.
Carroll’s Dan Crossan and Trent Pierce touched Miller for singles to start the second. But he responded with three strikeouts.
“I felt like I had good control of my fastball, and I kept my change-up down in the zone,” Miller said.
Anthony Cossetti, an outfielder who is headed to Navy, went 3 for 3 with two runs. Andrew Cossetti walked twice and scored two runs, and third baseman Jack Ruch and second baseman Matt Acker delivered RBI singles in the explosive first.
Archbishop Carroll 000 00 – 0 3 2
La Salle 702 01 – 10 12 1
WP: Joe Miller. LP: Jake Kelchner.