Congratulation to the Suburan One American / Continental Team for winning the 2016 Carpenter Cup at Citizens Bank Park. UD players Cole Swiger, Justin Horn and JT Breslin were members of this team. UD head baseball coach Ed Wall was also head coach for this team.
The SOL American/Continental defeated the Philadelphia Catholic League 3-2 to capture its first ever Carpenter Cup title. Team championship photo provided courtesy of Paul Bogosian.
SOL American/Continental wins 2016 Carpenter Cup; second straight title for SOL team
By Jarrad Saffren
The Carpenter Cup Classic is a 16-team baseball tournament matching all-star teams from Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.
Each year’s winner can call itself the best league or leagues in the tri-state area.
For two straight years now, the Suburban One League has earned that privilege. SOL National/Bicentennial Athletic League won the 2015 Carpenter Cup, beating defending champion Jersey Shore 12-6.
SOL American/Continental won the 2016 Carpenter Cup Friday at Citizens Bank Park, beating the Philadelphia Catholic League 3-2. SOL American/Continental had never won the cup before. The leagues joined forces in 2005.
Upper Dublin’s Ed Wall has coached the team since 2014. SOL American/Continental lost before the semifinals in 2014 and ‘15.
“This year we had a feeling,” Wall said. “We knew we could go far because of the depth of our pitching.”
You know the names. Let’s induct them all into the one-name club. They earned it. Klepchick, Gulibon, Mayhew, Kennedy, and Pave.
The first four brought the dead ball era to the SOL Continental this season. Pave represented the American, got far less attention, and pitched just as well.
The big five gave up four earned runs in 30 innings this tournament.
“Our pitching all year in the league has been phenomenal,” Mayhew said. “We knew we could really do some damage with our great rotation.”
“We got ahead of batters and made good pitches,” Klepchick said. “We have the best pitchers in the entire state.”
“Almost every one of our games was a one-run game. We got a lot of tough outs,” Wall said.
SOL American/Continental beat Tri/Cape 7-6 in the first round, Lehigh Valley 6-4 in the quarterfinals, and Delaware County 5-4 in the semifinals. Three one-run wins. One two-run win.
Every American claims to suck at math. Well, I don’t, so here’s the math. SOL American/Continental won four games by five runs. Pitching makes that difference.
It did again Friday. Pave made his second Carpenter Cup start. The least-heralded A/C hurler pitched two shutout innings, struck out three, and allowed one baserunner. He pitched four scoreless innings in the tournament.
“He pitched fantastic. I’m scared to death to face him for two more years in the American Conference,” Wall said. “He pitched with confidence against top-notch hitters. He was spotting his changeup and slider. He’s a tall, lanky kid that’s just going to get bigger and stronger. So good luck to him.”
Good luck to you and your Flying Cardinals, Ed. Maybe try to convince the Paves to move to Fort Washington (Whisper voice: Upper Dublin is in Fort Washington).
Pave left with a 1-0 lead. In the first, Souderton’s Blake Gular lifted a sacrifice fly to deep left. Upper Moreland’s Randy Meehl – who singled to right to lead off the inning – sprinted home.
PCL took a 2-1 lead in the fourth. La Salle’s Gregg Sywulak singled and stole second. Bonner-Prendergast’s Steve Furman singled Sywulak to third. Neumann-Goretti’s Nick D’Amore muscled the ball to short center. Meehl ran in, caught the ball, and heaved it home.
Sywulak slid home as the ball sailed toward the third base line. 1-1. Christian Lutz towered a double to left center to plate Furman. 2-1.
Mayhew entered in the fifth and pitched a shutout inning.
“That was huge. A one-run game is easier to manage,” Mayhew said. “If they get it to two or three, the team gets a little down, it’s tougher to come back.”
SOL A/C’s second lineup always comes back. It scored seven runs to overcome a 6-0 deficit in the first round. It scored four in the quarterfinals to overcome a 4-2 deficit.
So guess what it did Friday? Seriously, guess.
It fell short. Just kidding.
Observe the bottom of the fifth…
North Penn’s Nate O’Donnell took a baseball to the body. Then he ran to second on a wild pitch. Upper Dublin’s Cole Swiger followed and scorched a double down the left field line.
“The kid started me off with a fastball outside, then an off-speed pitch for a strike. I was waiting on an inside pitch after that,” Swiger said. “He threw me one a few pitches later. I turned on it.”
O’Donnell, the alternate, scored his fourth run in four games.
“He’s been a spark the whole tournament. Batting him in front of Cole creates runs for us,” Wall said. “We were talking in the dugout, ‘How’d we miss this guy?’ We didn’t, really. We knew he was good. I’m just so happy he was able to play.”
Now back to the rally…
Central Bucks East’s Cameron Komonchak belted a single to right, moving Swiger to third. Central Bucks West’s Thomas Philipps—the same Thomas Philipps who hit a two-run, game-tying homer in the first round—shuffled in.
Philipps turned on an inside fastball and rocked it down the left field line. Swiger dashed home. SOL American/Continental led 3-2. The second lineup had done it again.
The greatest backups ever scored 16 of SOL A/C’s 21 runs in the tournament. Almost every member had his moments.
O’Donnell scored the winning run in the semifinals. Swiger doubled and scored the tying run. Komonchak went 6-for-8 in four games. Philipps hit the game-tying bomb in the first round and the game-winning double Friday.
Wissahickon’s Alex Tappen hit two doubles, two RBIs, and scored the winning run in the first round. He bopped a homer in the semifinals.
CB East’s Collin Sheehan hit a game-tying single in the quarterfinals. Upper Dublin’s JT Breslin stroked the go-ahead, two-run double in the same game/inning.
“Those guys all have gap power,” Wall said.
After the rally, Mayhew pitched two more scoreless innings, striking out four. Klepchick closed for the second straight game.
He ran full counts to all four batters in the ninth.
“I got ahead of batters and let them back into the count,” Klepchick said.
The first batter singled. But the next three struck out. The first victim swung through a slider up and away. The second looked at a two-seamer inside. The third swung over a low cutter.
“I had some extra velocity on the pitches. Adrenaline was pumping,” Klepchick said. “Normally I throw the cutter for contact and the slider for the out pitch. But to that third hitter, I did the opposite.”
Klepchick’s teammates jogged onto the field to celebrate. They shook hands with the PCL players, posed with the actual, physical Carpenter Cup, and packed their ginormous baseball bags.
There were no bear/bro hugs, no champagne baths, and no celebratory ‘This is for you mom/Philly’ shouts.
There was just the understated satisfaction of making history.
“It feels amazing to be first,” Mayhew said. “That’ll stick with me for a lifetime.”
“It makes everything so much better to be able to do it for the first time,” Philipps said. “It’s just awesome to be able to come together with rivals.”
“This tournament is such a special tournament for the area. And one of the most important for these high school kids,” Wall said. “To represent public schools, and go out there and get a title, it’s amazing. It’s a huge thing for us, being public school proud.”
Public school proud. That’s a t-shirt.
Thanks for joining me this season, dear reader. I understand if you never want to meet me in person.
As you head into summer, remember three things…
Baseball is baseball.
The SOL wins because baby boomers had a lot of children.
And coaches are pretty much full of platitudes. (But they are completely sincere and quite often right.)
SOL AMERICAN/CONTINENTAL 3, PHILADELPHIA CATHOLIC 2
Philadelphia Catholic: Marquise Wood cf 3-0-0-0, B Kelly lf 1-0-0-0, Gregg Sywulak rf 2-1-1-0, Bobby Heck ph/cf 2-0-1-0, Steve Furman c 2-1-1-0, Jeff Manto ph/2b 2-0-0-0, Nick D’Amore 3b 1-0-0-1, Andrew Cosetti ph/c 1-0-1-0, John Coppola 1b 2-0-0-0, Tim Dougherty ph/1b 2-0-0-0, Christian Lutz dh 2-0-2-1, Matt Romano dh 1-0-0-0, Langston Livingston lf 2-0-0-0, Tim Ulrich 3b 2-0-0-0, Jared Healey ss 2-0-0-0, Shane Flaherty ss 1-0-1-0, Greg Grandelli 2b 2-0-0-0, Pete Klein rf 1-0-0-0, James Kelly p 0-0-0-0, Aidan Welch p 0-0-0-0, Matt Scanlon p 0-0-0-0, Sean Hughes p 0-0-0-0, Kody Cracknell p 0-0-0-0, TOTALS 31-2-7-2
SOL American/Continental: Randy Meehl cf 2-1-1-0, Cole Swiger ph/rf 2-1-1-1, Matt Shilling ss 1-0-0-0, Cameron Komonchak ss/ph 2-0-2-0, Thylar Summerell 1b 2-0-1-0, Thomas Philipps ph/1b 2-0-1-1, Blake Gular 3b 1-0-0-1, Alex Tappen ph/3b 1-0-0-0, Luke Nuneviller dh 3-0-1-0, Blake Rappaport dh 1-0-0-0, Collin Sheehan c 2-0-0-0, Justin Horn ph/ss 2-0-0-0, Noah Goldstein lf 1-0-0-0, Eric Gross c 2-0-2-0, Steven Gebre 2b 1-0-0-0, JT Breslin lf 2-0-0-0, Luke Barnum rf 1-0-0-0, Nate O’Donnelll ph/2b 2-1-0-0, Nick Pave p 0-0-0-0, Brian Edgington p 0-0-0-0, Andrew Mayhew p 0-0-0-0, Dan Klepchick p 0-0-0-0, TOTALS 30-3-9-3.
Philadephia Catholic 000 200 000 2-7-0
SOL American/Continental 100 020 00x 3-9-0
DP-PCL 1, SOL A/C 1. LOB-PCL 5, SOL A/C 9. 2B-Christian Lutz, Cole Swiger, Thomas Philipps. 3B-Christian Lutz. SF-Nick D’Amore, Blake Gular. SB-Gregg Sywulak, Shane Flaherty.
Philadelphia Catholic IP H R ER BB SO
James Kelly 3.0 3 1 1 2 3
Aidan Welch (L) 1.0 3 2 2 1 1
Matt Scanlon 2.1 1 0 0 0 2
Sean Hughes 0.2 1 0 0 1 0
Kody Cracknell 1.0 1 0 0 0 3
SOL American/Continental IP H R ER BB SO
Nick Pave 2.0 0 0 0 0 3
Brian Edgington 2.0 3 2 2 0 0
Andrew Mayhew 3.0 1 0 0 2 4
Dan Klepchick 2.0 2 0 0 0 3
PHILADELPHIA >> In the 2005 Carpenter Cup, Suburban American realigned to become SOL American/Continental. Friday morning at Citizens Bank Park, the team won its first championship, 3-2, over the three-time champion Philadelphia Catholic League.
“American/Continental’s first time and hopefully not the last time,” SOL AC coach Ed Wall joked. “It’s very exciting.
“This Continental Conference was just stacked with pitching. You witnessed all season and you saw out here as an example of what they have. We had one American pitcher in (Nick) Pave who went out and did a fantastic job for two innings.”
The SOL AC has made some deep runs in its short Carpenter Cup history. It lost in the semifinals in 2010 (4-3 to SOL National/Bicentennial), 2009 (14-9 to Burlington County), 2008 (6-1 to Lehigh Valley) and 2005 (6-5 to Philadelphia Catholic).
It also has two championship losses — neither of which came in the standard nine innings. In 2011 the SOL AC lost to Burlington County 3-1 in a game that ended after eight innings due to rain. In 2007, it lost to Chester County, 6-5, in 11 innings.
But in 2016, the Suburban One League American/Continental would not be denied.
“It feels surreal,” CB South’s Eric Gross, who went 2-for-2 in the title game, said. “It’s just a cool experience to be here with a bunch of guys from different teams you played all year. It’s just a fun time going out and playing on this beautiful field, too.
“I feel this is one of the best leagues that we’re in. All these kids compete and play at a high level.”
This year was the 31st Annual Carpenter Cup. Olympic Colonial has the most titles with five, followed by the Jersey Shore with four. Chester County, Burlington County, Philadelphia Catholic, Lehigh Valley and SOL National each have three. The SOL National/Bicentennial (established in 2005) and Mercer County each have two. Delaware (split in 1993) and Delaware South have each won one championship.
Rapoport joins SOL AC for championship game
Wissahickon’s Blake Rapoport was a late addition to the Suburban One League American/Continental team. He joined Thursday night before Friday morning’s championship game.
Rapoport had tried out for the team, but the first two games were during senior week. He decided he didn’t want to leave senior week with his friends, but made sure the team knew he was still interested in playing.
The team only had two alternates and, after a couple players dropped out, needed another. Coach Ed Wall called Thursday night and Rapoport was ready Friday morning.
The Lehigh-bound Rapoport got just one at-bat in the game and grounded out, but it’s an experience he won’t forget.
“It’s unreal,” he said. “The field’s incredible. The guys on the team are incredible — it’s a great group of guys. The coaches were great. The atmosphere was just really something that I can’t put into words.”
PCL misses 2 studs
In Friday’s championship game, the Philadelphia Catholic League was without a pair of stud pitchers from Neumann-Goretti. Jeff Ciocco and Ethan Pritchett missed the game due to a vacation that was planned well in advance.
“They booked the trip way back when,” PCL coach Jim DiGuiseppe Jr. said. “We were aware of it from the beginning. It is what it is. That’s why we have a pretty deep roster and you’re allowed alternates. You look for other guys to step up and fill the void.”
Ciocco was 2-0 in two appearances for the PCL. In total, he allowed four hits in five innings. He gave up no runs, struck out five batters and walked one.
Pritchett made one appearance and threw two scoreless innings. He surrendered two hits, walked one batter and struck out one.