LV reaches Carpenter Cup title game
Northwestern’s baseball team failed to win a championship this year.
Despite having an outstanding regular season and playing in the Colonial League and District 11 finals, the Tigers came up just short of earning any gold medals.
Four players on that team, however, gained another chance for a title when the Lehigh Valley Carpenter Cup squad rallied from a deficit on Monday to gain a 7-6 semifinal victory over Delaware South to advance to this morning’s championship game.
Derek Holmes, Nick Henry, Rafe Perich and Carter Welch all played pivotal roles for Northwestern during its 22-5 season. They have also come through at different times for the Lehigh Valley team during the Carpenter Cup tournament.
On Monday, it was Holmes who again was clutch.
The Tiger, who recently graduated and will be attending Moravian College in the fall, had a key two-run double in the first round of the tourney. Against Delaware South in the semis, he came through with a two-run single in the eighth inning to erase a deficit and give his team the lead for good.
“Delaware South was playing for one run (in the home seventh) ... and they were able to get that run,” Lehigh Valley manager Ted Plessl said. “We came up in the top of the eighth and we were not to be denied … On a 1-2 pitch, after fouling off a couple balls, Derek Holmes hits a single to center for two runs and we go up.
“So talk about a clutch two-out, two-strike hit.”
That single not only give Holmes and his former Northwestern teammates a chance for some redemption, it also allows a number of other LV players a shot at a title.
“I kind of addressed this at our last team workout,” said Plessl. “Easton lost out. Emmaus lost out. Liberty lost out. Parkland lost out. Northwestern lost out. … I’m looking at a great bunch of ballplayers, and I said, ‘Hey, there’s championships that were not (won).’
“But, I said, ‘Here’s one more shot for all of you.’ It was kind of interesting, as I saw all of them shaking their heads yes. They’re going for it. I don’t know what will happen, but I know one thing: the other team is going to have to beat us because we’re not going to beat ourselves. The bottom line is we will fight to the very last out. I feel good about tomorrow.”
Lehigh Valley was scheduled to face Burlington County (NJ) in this morning’s championship game at 10 a.m. at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. If successful, it would be Lehigh Valley’s first title since 2011.
Delaware County jumped out to a 5-1 advantage in Monday’s contest, but Lehigh Valley rallied to tie the game with a four-run fifth inning. Braden Breithaupt scored on a passed ball, while Brandon Robinson delivered a two-run single. Zack Transue also came up big with an RBI single.
Lehigh Valley’s pitching did give up a run in the seventh, but held its opponent scoreless in the eighth and ninth to preserve the win and a shot at the title.
“Our pitching has been sensational and has kept us close,” said Plessl. “Our defense has been sensational. Our resilient offense has also been sensational. Our kids just keep playing. ... The defense has made some great plays that our pitchers are like, ‘Yes! Can’t believe he made that.’ That’s pretty much what it has been.”
DEJA VU? ... The last time Lehigh Valley won a Carpenter Cup title (2011), it defeated Burlington County in the finals.
MULTIPLE HITS ... Holmes and Liberty’s Ben Piripavel both had a pair of hits. Piripavel also scored two runs.
ON THE ROSTER ... Palmerton’s Ryan King, who had been an alternate, was added to the active roster for Monday’s game. King didn’t get to pitch but was ready to go if needed.
SEEING TIME ... Other area players who saw playing time in the semifinal game included Henry (1-for-4, run), Perich (0-for-2, walk), Pleasant Valley’s Dallas Greenzweig (0-for-1, walk) and Brandon Ratti (0-for-2).
Lehigh Valley 100 040 020 - 7 8 1
Delaware So. 140 000 100 - 6 10 3
Mahady, Zwolenik (2), Staivecki (4), Waller (7) and Greenzweig, Transue (5); Hilligoss, Reichhold (4), Keene (5), Warrington (7) and McGray, Shockley (5). W - Waller. L - Warrington.