Archbishop Wood baseball stays hot with come-from-behind victories

Archbishop Wood senior outfielder Kyle McNamee is batting batting .415 with 18 runs and 10 RBIs.

Archbishop Wood rallied to win its last two Catholic League baseball games and remain in position to gain one of the top playoffs seeds.

“We’ve been a pretty resilient group,” seventh-year coach Jim DiGuiseppe Jr. said. “It’s a credit to our kids.”

On Monday, the Vikings trailed visiting Neumann-Goretti, 4-0, in the top of the sixth inning. Catcher J.R. Gifford’s three-run homer evened things in the bottom half, and rightfielder Antonio Rossillo’s sacrifice fly in the seventh was the difference in a 5-4 victory.

Two days later, also in Warminster, Wood trailed upset-minded St. Joseph’s Prep, 10-9, through six innings. The Vikings erupted for seven runs in their last at-bat, including another three-run blast from Gifford, to triumph, 16-10.

The 13-1 Vikings (9-1 league) and La Salle (9-1) are tied atop the Catholic League standings with three league games remaining for each.

Next in line are Cardinal O’Hara (8-2), Father Judge (7-2), Archbishop Carroll (6-2), and Neumann-Goretti (6-3). Ten teams qualify for the playoffs, with the top six finishers gaining first-round byes.

“Our league is so competitive, so you can’t let your guard down at any point,” DiGuiseppe said. “We’ve battled in every game, and that’s all I can ask for as a coach.”

Wood, which earned the Catholic League crown in 2015, has outscored foes, 133-43.

“We’ve been swinging the bats well and getting timely hitting,” DiGuiseppe said.

Leftfielder and leadoff man Kyle McNamee, who was a reserve guard in basketball, is batting .415 with three doubles, two triples, 10 RBIs, and 18 runs scored. He went 2 for 3 with two runs and two RBIs vs. St. Joseph’s Prep.

Camera icon STEVEN M. FALK
Shortstop Robbie Bailey is one of three Archbishop Wood seniors that will play at Gwynedd Mercy.

McNamee is followed in the order by shortstop Robbie Bailey (.341, eight RBIs, 19 runs), first baseman Mike Ferrara (.385, 18 RBIs, 16 runs), Rossillo (.324, 11 runs), third baseman Sam Reynolds (.341, 18 RBIs, 13 runs), and Gifford (.275, 20 RBIs, four homers).

“It’s been tremendous that we’ve had so many players step up and contribute,” DiGuiseppe said.

The pitching staff is headed by ace righthander Jack Colyar and lefthander Dylan Slowinski, who doubles as a centerfielder. Righthanders Reynolds and Bobby Hennessey, also a second baseman, and southpaw Mike Grispino are also in the mix.

Colyar, a junior who has committed to Duke, is 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA and has 34 strikeouts in 25 2/3 innings.

Camera icon STEVEN M. FALK
Archbishop Wood senior catcher J.R. Gifford will continue his career at West Chester.

Ferrara is bound for UNC-Greensboro; Gifford is headed to West Chester; McNamee, Bailey and Slowinski are ticketed for Gwynedd Mercy; and pitcher Dan Rockenbach, who has been shelved by an arm injury, is set to play at Chestnut Hill.

The Vikings will recognize their seniors when they play MaST Charter, of the Bicentennial Athletic League, at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Northampton Civic Center.

Extra bases

St. Joseph’s Prep has been led on offense by first baseman Brandon Sanders (.500 batting average, 16 RBIs, 13 runs) and designated hitter and second baseman Gianni Arici (.432, 13, 10). … Shortstop Andrew Huang was hitting .500 with three doubles for top-ranked Spring-Ford through Thursday. … La Salle catcher Andrew Cossetti is batting .455 with 22 RBIs and 18 runs. … Bensalem junior righthander Nick Dean is 4-1 with a 1.21 ERA and 34 K’s in 29 innings. Also a second baseman, he is hitting .421 with 12 RBIs and 12 runs. … Malvern Prep snapped Shipley’s 11-game winning streak with a 5-2 nonleague win Wednesday in Bryn Mawr. … North Penn sophomore righthander Kolby Barrow is 5-0 with a 1.73 ERA and 34 K’s in 24 1/3 innings. … Downingtown East first baseman Connor Munnelly is batting .378 with 15 RBIs, 11 runs, and a .536 on-base percentage through Thursday. … Righthanders Kevin Cushing and Quinn Danna have pitched well for Pioneer Athletic Conference Frontier Division leader Phoenixville. Cushing, a Cornell recruit, is 3-1 with a 0.42 ERA and 44 K’s in 33 innings; Danna is 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA and 37 K’s in 27 innings.