SALFORD BELOW >> Souderton’s third baseball team placed runners in third base in the District 1-6A quarterfinals Friday afternoon.
And every time Pennsbury senior right-hander Dalton Fang stopped the threat with a retreat attack.
“Every single one I try to take one moment, try to stay in the moment,” Fang said. “Just advance my best legs, compete at a given time. So, the first one, obviously the most important, then the second one if it’s coming, then the third one.
The fourth -seeded Indian couldn’t beat Fang until the bottom of the seventh inning. But at the time, No.
“He got the curveball and when he got the curveball, he was really tough,” said Souderton coach Mike Childs of Fang. “And it was a scout report and it happened today and we didn’t hit it. There were a lot of things we saw, we had to be aggressive on the plate.
Fang, a Harvard commitment, made his best 6 2/3 inning, hitting 14 while giving up one – earned – on six hits and no runs and also hitting one two -run in the seventh as Pennsbury (19-3) advanced to the district semifinals to visiting top West Chester Henderson on Tuesday. Henderson tops 9 Perkiomen Valley 12-0 in five innings.
“I have a good taste for all the pitches out there, effective fastball, going forward with fastball and then I can mix changeup and curveball for it,” Fang said. “I don’t think I’m too dependent. I’m mixing the two that I think will benefit.”
Souderton (18-4), who has a 13-game winning streak snapped, can still make the state through five-place playbacks and was host to No. 6 Garnet Valley, which fell 3-2 to No. 3 Owen J. Roberts. In 2019, the Indians became number five in the district and won the PIAA-6A championship.
“As a coaching staff, we’ve been involved and our job is to guide him,” Childs said. “I’m not stressed, I know the caliber of the team we have and I know what we can do. We just go ahead and play baseball and play baseball casually, it’s as easy as it was all year to get 17 wins and now. Let’s go out and have fun.” -glad.
“There’s no stress. We’re making it difficult for ourselves, but I’m confident with these people to fight back and see what happens.”
Ryan Hirsh was 2-for-3 with an RBI while Jackson Freeman finished 2-for-3 for Pennsbury, which won 11. straight-the last defeat came April 22 to fall to Souderton 9-7 in eight innings.
The Indians ’Luke Pollock went 2-for-3 when Big Red starting pitcher Jackson Morrissette lost despite solid efforts, allowing three runs-two wins-on six hits, running one and striking out three in six-plus innings.
“I don’t have anything bad to say about Jackson,” Child said. “He did his job, he got the ground ball. We didn’t make some ground balls, the extra field – which didn’t work very well in the situation. But I was very happy. [with] what he does for us. We just have to make a run.
Souderton created a scoring opportunity in the bottom half of the first as McKenna collected one infield and then went third when Pollock dropped one to right center. But with the runners in the corner, Fang came out of the early hours striking the next two batters.
“You definitely have to focus,” Fang said. “I try to be myself. I know I can work on the things I have, so I don’t have to be any bigger than I am. But you know, just live in the moment and take every pitch one by one.
The Falcons won 1-0 in the top of the second. Justin Mitrovich took the lead by dropping one in the middle and then becoming number three on Joe Tiroly’s single. After Tiroly stole number two to put runners in number two and third, Hirsh singled through the right side of the infield to bring Mitrovich home. Tiroly tried to score in play, but right fielder Hunter Weitzel’s throw was in time to get out in front.
“For me, I’d rather send and throw and then say I want to send later,” Pennsbury coach Joe Pesci said. “Plus early on IO [infield-outfield warmups] those slick balls were cruising all over – they just made the perfect play, the perfect throw.
Fang retired eight straight batters – including striking out the side in the second – before Pollock opened Souderton’s half of four with one infield. Carter Jagiela followed by reaching in for a single bunt.
Pollock was number three because Jagiela was forced into number two due to the choice of field players. Warner stole number two to put runners at number two and number three with one out only for Fang to deliver a consecutive attack.
“I told the team without him they were in a bulldog -like situation and winning that didn’t win this game,” Pesci of Fang said. “You need wind from the other team’s screen when it happens, when you have a guy in a scoring position and you don’t cross. I mean, he’s really phenomenal now. And we let Reese call pitches, we let Callan shake and sometimes we’ll call but him. both are all games.
At the bottom of number six and Souderton still trailing 1-0, McKenna led by mistake. The next batter pops up a bunt to get out but an errant throw for the first attempt to double up McKenna allows him to take a second. And without covering a third in the game, McKenna took base, placing him 90 yards from tying the game with one.
However, Fang suffers him there by collecting more attacks.
“You can’t expect to win a game when you attack 14 times,” Childs said. “No matter how good our pitcher throws, no matter how good or bad our defensive batter is, 14 strikeouts are not going to win a game.”
Pennsbury took firmer control with a top three run from the seventh. Freeman led off with a single for center with an error in the bunt Brody Travagline put two without out and finished Morrisssette’s day on the mound.
With one out, the wild field advanced two runners with a pinch runner Charlie Cordisco scored as Charlie Evans reached on error after knocking the ball to the left.
Evans stole the number two then he and Travagline scored when Fang made one of two RBIs on the left and then advanced to number two in the game.
“I’m looking for a fastball,” Fang said. “I feel like losing 0-2 and I feel like it’s just a fight, try to find the barrel on the ball. Obviously you can’t strike there, have to put the ball in play, do the work but it’s good if the barrel can’t reach the third baseman.
Ryan Zuckerman followed with a single to put the runner in the corner but Souderton remained deficit at four with a 6-4-3 double.
Justin DiCesare started seventh base with a single to the right. After two strikes, Kaden Pasternak chose the middle to bring DiCesare to 4-0. But Gavin Hawkes took over for Fang and only needed two pitches to secure the save.
Round 1-6A District
(5) Pennsbury 4, (4) Souderton 1
Pennsbury 010 000 3 – 4 8 1
Souderton 000 000 1 – 1 6 4
WP: Callan Fang 6.2 IP 6 H 1 R 1 ER 0 BB 14 SO.
LP: Jackson Morrissette 6 IP 6 H 3 R 2 ER 1 BB 3 SO.
S: Gavin Hawkes 0.1 IP 0 H 0 R 0 ER 0 BB 0 SO.
Pennsbury: Jackson Freeman 2-3; Reese Hirsh 2-3.
Souderton: Luke Pollock 2-3.