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UPPER DUBLIN >> Coming down the stretch, all Upper Dublin head baseball coach Ed Wall could do was depend on his Cardinals team to do what they’ve seemed to do all year long. An early three-run lead was down to one, and Wall, like the rest of the Upper Dublin faithful huddled around the Cardinals baseball field Wednesday, was hoping the team could pull one more game out. And when Jason Greene got a fielder’s choice ground ball with two out and two on in the top of the seventh, the Cardinals had a 4-3 win and a berth in the PIAA District One Class AAAA quarterfinals. There, the third-seeded Cardinals will play host to sixth-seeded Council Rock North, a 4-3 winner Wednesday over Springfield-Delco.
“Jason is very focused on doing his job,” Wall said, after the Cardinals celebratory huddle broke up. “His job is throwing strikes, and that’s what he did. This is a big win for us because of where it puts us. This team just keeps finding ways to win, and now we have one more home game.”
It looked as though the Cardinals would cruise to the win, as they roughed up Harriton freshman Jack Rochanowicz for a three-spot in the second inning. Noah Ruiz’s RBI double, Andrew McDermott’s sacrifice fly and Thomas Reilly’s run-scoring single chased home the runs. And even after the Rams cut the lead to a single run in the top of the third with a pair of unearned runs via a run-scoring Cardinals error and Sean Miller’s RBI double, when Rochanowicz gave up a one-out run in the home third, Harriton head coach Scott Kurzinsky decided to pull his freshman standout in favor of Don DiLoreto.
“Jack is a freshman, and we have a lot of confidence in him,” Kurzinsky said. “He’s going to be a great one. We felt we brought Daniel in at the right time, and he did shut them down.”Indeed, DiLoreto put the cuffs on the Cardinals, permitting just two baserunners (both on walks) the rest of the way.
Cardinals starter Cole Swiger held the Rams at bay until there were two out in the sixth. He yielded the two unearned runs in the third, but held down the Rams until the sixth when a walk and a single brought Wall out with Greene in tow.
“It was OK,” Swiger said. “I knew my pitch count was up there. I still felt good, but that was just the adrenaline pumping. I have confidence in our defense and the (pitchers) behind me.”
The Rams got one run back on Lorenzo Sulon’s run-scoring infield single, but just missed the opportunity to add more when McDermott made a two-out, sliding catch of a line drive off the bat of Anthony Calligaro. DiLoreto 1-2-3’d the Cardinals in the home sixth, and the Rams immediately threatened with one out in the seventh thanks to an error and a hit batter. But Greene got John Lautenbach on a line drive to center and induced the game-ending fielder’s choice ground ball from Will Hoffman, and the Cardinals were in the quarterfinals.
“I thought we squared up a lot of balls today,” Kurzinsky said, “but they seemed to go right at their defense. “You hate to lose any game, but one-run losses are especially tough.”
As for the Cardinals, they were looking ahead — but not too far. “We know you can’t overlook anybody,” Swiger said. “We’re going to see nothing but good teams. We saw a good one today. They came back hard on us. And we’ll see another good team on Friday.”
#3 Upper Dublin 4, #19 Harriton 3
The Cardinals opened up a 3-0 lead in the second inning, showing no ill effects from the layoff after a first round bye, and behind the strong arm of Cole Swiger, they defeated the pesky Rams in a second round contest.
“One of the biggest things about getting the first round bye – you win your first one, and you know you’re playing at least two more (games), worst case scenario,” UD coach Ed Wall said. “It’s truly a blessing.”
In the three-run second, Max Weinberg drew a one-out walk, and Thomas Juelke followed with a single. The Cardinals got on the board when Noah Ruiz delivered an RBI double. Andrew McDermott’s sacrifice fly pushed a second run across, and Tommy Reilly’s RBI single put the Cardinals on top 3-0.
“That was huge,” Walls said of his team’s three-run burst. “Our bottom of the lineup has been doing it all year for us, and I couldn’t have been happier. (Max) Weinberg made a big diving play late in the game that kept the ball in the infield, and he got big walk that started the rally. Noah had a pretty good game today – he put the ball hard in play, and that double was huge, especially since it was a two-strike hit. McDermott had some tough at-bats.”
The visiting Rams scored a pair of runs in the third, but the Cardinals tacked on a run in the bottom of the inning to make it a 4-2 game. Juelke’s RBI single plated JT Breslin, who had walked. Harriton scored a run in the sixth to pull to within one, but the Flying Cardinals held on for the win. Juelke collected two of his team’s five hits. He also had an RBI and run scored. Leadoff batter Justin Horn reached base on all three trips to the plate
“Justin Horn had by far the toughest at-bat – he an 11-pitch at-bat, and he ended up drawing a walk,” Wall said. “He singled and he reached on a hit by pitch. He had a pretty successful day. Little things like that. We were able to scrap out a couple of runs, and Cole (Swiger) did a great job out there. He went pretty deep today, and Jason Greene cut his playoff teeth with his first save of the playoffs.”
Swiger allowed five hits and three runs – only one earned – while striking out four and walking three in 5.2 innings. Greene closed it out, allowing just one hit and no runs in 1.1 innings in relief. The Flying Cardinals (14-5, 12-2 SOL) have a date with sixth-seeded Council Rock North in Friday’s quarterfinal round.
“On Friday, we’re going against a extremely strong opponent in Council Rock North,” Wall said. “I know Matt (Schram) is going to have his team ready.
“His son (Jared Schram) is one of the best players on the team. (Matt) Hand went a bunch of innings today, so we’ll see who we get Friday. We know they’re going to be good, so we have to be ready.”
Conor McFadden will be on the hill for the Flying Cardinals.
Harriton 002 001 0 3-6-0
Upper Dublin 031 000 x 4-5-2
————– GAME CHANGER ———-
The Upper Dublin Cardinals make the most of 5 hits in 4-3 victory over Harriton (Rosemont, PA). The Upper Dublin Cardinals and Harriton both had scoring chances on Wednesday, but it was the Upper Dublin Cardinals that were able to capitalize on them as they pulled out a 4-3 win at Cardinal Field. Harriton out-hit Upper Dublin Cardinals six to five, but Harriton stranded nine runners on base. The Upper Dublin Cardinals held off Harriton , as Harriton was unable to overcome a three-run second inning deficit.
Harriton scored on an error and an RBI double by Mullen in the third inning and an RBI single by Lorenzo Solon in the sixth inning. Still, Harriton couldn’t draw even. Cole Swiger got it done on the rubber on the way to a win. He allowed three runs over 5 2/3 innings. He struck out four, walked three and surrendered five hits. Kochanowicz was the game’s losing pitcher. He lasted just 2 2/3 innings, walked two, struck out four, and allowed four runs.
Upper Dublin Cardinals closer Jason Greene put away the final four outs to record the save. The Upper Dublin Cardinals never trailed after scoring three runs in the second on an RBI double by Noah Ruiz , a sacrifice fly by Andrew McDermott, and an RBI single by Tommy Reilly.
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