Williamstown plays small ball in 8-6 baseball win over Cherokee

Posted: April 07, 2012

Williamstown has a couple of heavy hitters in the middle of its lineup, but the Braves probably won't spend much time in home-run trots this season.

They prefer to race around the bases, anyway.

Williamstown didn't manage an extra-base hit in an odd but impressive 8-6 victory over Cherokee on Saturday in the first round of the Grand Slam Classic baseball tournament at Washington Township.

The Braves collected 11 stolen bases - twice racing home on double steals - in jacking their record to 4-0 and advancing to face the Millville-Haddonfield winner in Monday's semifinals.

"That's our game," said Williamstown senior catcher Brett Virnelson, who was 2 for 3 with an RBI and a stolen base. "We're going to play small ball. When you score a run that way, it picks up the morale of the whole team in the dugout."

Senior centerfielder Jordan Glover was 2 for 4 with two RBIs for Cherokee, which was playing its first game of the season as most of its seniors were away on a school trip last week.

The Chiefs, the No. 5 team in The Inquirer's preseason Top 10, hit six Williamstown batters, issued five walks, and committed four errors.

"We played sloppy," Cherokee coach Marc Petragnani said. "Give Williamstown credit. They outplayed us. We're a better team than this and we'll show that soon. Hopefully, very soon."

Williamstown has traditionally been a team geared more toward speed than power, and the switch to BBCOR bats this season has created even more emphasis on the so-called "small ball" aspects of the sport.

"With the new bats, you need to err on the side of being aggressive," Williamstown coach Jim Ambrosius said. "We've got a few guys in the middle of the lineup with some pop, but it's more important than ever for the top and the bottom of the lineup to find a way to generate some offense."

Williamstown shortstop and leadoff hitter Matt Lang reached base three times and had three steals. Centerfielder and No. 7 hitter John Brady was 1 for 1 with an RBI, reached base four times, and had three steals.

Cherokee ace Colin Perro worked three innings, allowing a pair of unearned runs on two hits. Perro, a righthander who has signed with Monmouth, struck out four but also hit four batters and issued two walks.

Petragnani said after the game that Perro was battling an illness.

Williamstown broke a 2-2 tie with four runs in the fourth. Virnelson and winning pitcher Kyle Grim delivered RBI singles, but the Braves also stole three bases and took advantage of three walks and a hit batter.

Cherokee   002 000 4 – 634

Williamstown   020 402 x – 886

WP: Kyle Grim. LP: Frank Rosetti.

2B: C–Jordan Glover.


Contact staff writer Phil Anastasia at 856-779-3223, panastasia@phillynews.com or on Twitter @PhilAnastasia on Twitter. Read his blog, "Jersey Side Sports," at www.philly.com/jerseysidesports

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