Chester County launched a two-out rally, strung together a pair of hits, and tacked on five more runs to escape what had been a tight game, 13-7.
It was the middle matchup in a trio of games at FDR Park on the first day of the Classic, which features 16 all-star teams from the area. With the win, Chester County advanced to the quarterfinals, in which it will meet the Suburban One League National/Bicentennial team on Thursday morning.
Played across Broad Street from Citizens Bank Park, the Classic is a magnet. It draws 17- and 18-year-olds to Richie Ashburn Field with the thought that, given a few sweet swings or slick sliders, they might see a scholarship.
It also attracts middle-age men with keen eyes and leather skin, the type who bake under the sun at showcases such as the Carpenter Cup in the name of hope: Hope that they will find a prospect who slipped under the radar guns of others.
While the event hosted scouts from places such as Rutgers and even the Boston Red Sox, most arrived, stopwatches dangling from their necks, by way of less glamorous locales - junior colleges and Division II and III schools.
All of them got a chance to see the confusing events of the ninth inning. Chester County pressured Bochus, the Catholic League pitcher, from the beginning. With the score tied, 7-7, Brad Rhoads led with a single to left, Bochus plunked Prescott Bliss, and Ryan Ficca used a bunt single to load the bases.
Then Bochus struck out Hall, but the ball grazed the dirt. Because there were fewer than two outs and third base was not open, Hall could not advance. But Hall did not know that, and neither did catcher Devin McCann.
Hall sprinted to first, and McCann touched the plate, thinking Rhoads had to advance from third after the dropped third strike - Rhoads did not. McCann then fired to first to nab Hall, who already was out. But Rhoads was not, and he broke for home to score easily.
"Every inning, you've got to concentrate," Chester County coach John Rozich said. "Baseball is a game of failures. Baseball is a game of funny things."
Rozich praised Hall for taking advantage of the Catholic League team's confusion. And while that put Chester County ahead for good, the play didn't put the game away. The next five batters did.
Mike Munnelly singled, Rob Purcell walked, Nick Miller reached base on an infield hit, Ryan Yenchick reached on an error, Dylan Jenkins singled, and Chester County scored five more runs.
It's those types of basic plays, Rozich said, that win ball games. Except when it's a strikeout.
Chester 200 021 206 - 13 13 0
Phila. Catholic 201 010 300 - 7 13 1
WP: Zach Rybak. LP: Scott Bochus 2B: CC–Jackson Martin, David Iaccobucci, Brad Rhoads, Rob Purcell, PC–Corey Baiada, Devin McCann, Corey Kreamer. HR: PC–Josh Ockimey.
Suburban One National 9, Jersey Shore 7 - Catcher Kevin Ortiz led the way, driving in four runs as Suburban One National/Bicentennial downed Jersey Shore on Sunday morning. Tyler Scheuer allowed two earned runs in 22/3 innings but picked up the win for Suburban One National. Jersey Shore's John Leiter gave up a pair of earned runs in one inning in the loss. Suburban One National will play Chester County on Thursday morning in the quarterfinals.
Sub. One Nat. 400 122 000 - 9 12 4
Jersey Shore 302 110 000 - 7 11 1
WP: Tyler Scheuer LP: John Leiter 2B: SON–David Blount, Dylan Evert, Kevin Ortiz. JS–Kyle Murphy. 3B: JS–Chris Reynolds, Mike Rescigno.