Chester County spoils day for Catholic League in Carpenter Cup

Catholic League's Corey Baiada avoids a low pitch during the fifth inning in Carpenter Cup first-round loss to Chestery County. Yong Kim / Staff Photographer
Catholic League's Corey Baiada avoids a low pitch during the fifth inning in Carpenter Cup first-round loss to Chestery County. Yong Kim / Staff Photographer
Posted: June 11, 2012

WHEN ASKED TO pronounce his surname, Corey Baiada sounds it out, bye-ah-duh, and then adds, "Like Bayada nurses."

Hey, he could have used one of those folks last Wednesday. Or even a doctor.

Baiada, a 5-11, 195-pound senior catcher at La Salle High, and the coaches' choice for MVP in Catholic Red, was felled by something or another a day before the Explorers were to participate in a PIAA Class AAAA quarterfinal.

He never did seek a medical opinion and/or comfort. But a 24-hour virus would be one good guess. Or maybe a hint of food poisoning thanks to that convenience-store chain with the name that rhymes.

"I had a breaded chicken classic hoagie," Baiada said Sunday. "Don't go for it. It was baaaad."

Baiada was speaking at sun-baked Richie Ashburn Field, in South Philly's FDR Park, after the Catholic League fell to Chester County, 13-7, in the first round of the 27th annual Carpenter Cup Classic.

Since he's not yet 100 percent, and with a state semifinal on Monday's docket (noon vs. Hatboro-Horsham at Spring-Ford High, in Royersford; Ss. Neumann-Goretti vs. Lampeter-Strasburg, in a AAA semi, will follow at roughly 3), Baiada was limited to designated-hitter duties in the cleanup spot.

They suited him well. He went 2-for-2 with a walk and an RBI double in his five-inning stint.

Now, we take you back to Wednesday. Baiada was supposed to practice twice, once with La Salle at the high school (he did) and again at Archbishop Carroll with the Carp Cup squad (he didn't).

"Once I got to Carroll, I started feeling dizzy and my stomach was out of place," Baiada said. "I don't know what it was. The coaches knew I had states coming up, so they told me just to sit and watch.

“I was feeling it the whole time. I was telling myself, ‘I'm going to throw up sooner or later.' Sure enough, right as practice ended, at 8 o'clock right on the dot, I sat by the trash can and … Then I had problems all night and into the next day."

Crappy weather postponed La Salle's game with Central Dauphin from Thursday to Friday, but Baiada was still unavailable.

"I guess we could have forced it," he said. "But I didn't feel 100 percent. We had confidence in [replacement catcher] Christian Bruno and our pitchers. Every single person on our team contributes. Has a big role. Plays hard. Gives the same effort in practice. It's a matter of trust and knowing your players. Sure enough, [Bruno] went out there and did his job."

Nevertheless …

"It was killing me to watch," he acknowledged. "I wanted to hit and catch. Just wanted to play. But when I'd get up to walk around, or scream out support, it would hit me."

He smiled. "But I'm fine now."

In the first, after Neumann-Goretti soph Josh Ockimey launched a bomb of a two-run homer over the centerfield fence (roughly 395 feet), Baiada directed a single to left-center. He thumped an RBI double to the same vicinity in the third.

"It was a 3-1 count and the pitch was a fastball down and in; usually my hot spot," he said. "I saw it, got my foot out, turned my hips, threw my bat out there … Sure enough, it went to a good spot."

All three times he reached base, Baiada remained in action.

"I loved it. That was a first," he said. "To not see a courtesy runner coming out for me, like in the Catholic League. Beautiful. I haven't gotten to run all season."

Every year, some seniors, even guys among the very best in the league, opt to forgo CC participation. Baiada can't understand that mindset.

"In such a short time, you really get to know the guys and make a connection," he said. "That's the best thing. There wasn't one guy who didn't like another guy. Really special."

N-G outfielders Joey Gorman and Jimmy Kerrigan also stroked two hits for the CL while Gorman, who's slated to pitch Monday, scored a pair of runs.

In the seventh, Devin McCann (Cardinal O'Hara) drew the CL within 7-5 with a groundball scorcher inside the third-base bag. Next, it was as if someone pushed an instant-replay button as Corey Kreamer (Father Judge) directed the exact same kind of hit to the identical locale. A throwing error off a grounder hit by Ian Conwell (Lansdale Catholic) created a 7-7 tie.

Alas, the ninth was seriously messy and Chester County cruised to a six-spot.

Baiada, who lives in Harleysville, Montgomery County, is bound for Bloomsburg and by sophomore year he expects to be preparing for a career in criminal justice or teaching.

And, at least for the near future, his hoagie stop might be 7-Eleven.

Contact Ted Silary at silaryt@phillynews.com. High school sports online at www.philly.com/rally

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