North Penn wins Continental crown

North Penn's Chris Kersey singles in the first inning for one of his three hits.
North Penn's Chris Kersey singles in the first inning for one of his three hits. (BRADLEY C. BOWER / For The Inquirer)
Posted: May 15, 2014

North Penn's Chris Kersey played shortstop last season in the team's run to the PIAA Class AAAA state championship. But he said he did not view his switch to third base at midseason this year as a demotion.

"Coach [Kevin] Manero wanted to try something different," he said. "He moved Jared Melone over from third. I think it's worked out well for both of us. We're both able to capitalize on our strengths."

With the Suburban One League Continental Conference title on the line Tuesday at Second Street Park in Perkasie, Kersey contributed three hits in the visiting Knights' 6-4 triumph over Pennridge.

"He's a first-rate kid, will do anything to help the team," Manero said. "Defensively, Chris is a little better coming in on the ball. Jared Melone has tremendous hands and a strong arm."

North Penn secured the Continental Conference crown for the first time since it shared top honors with Pennridge in 2010.

"We wanted to treat this as just another game, but, obviously, it was pretty important," said Kersey, who is ranked 25th in a senior class of more than 1,000 and will study business and engineering at Lehigh University.

The 5-foot-10, 165-pound Kersey, a leadoff man since early in the season, went 3 for 5 with a run. He is batting .387 (24 for 62) with 19 runs, 13 RBIs, and 11 walks for the season.

North Penn's Alex Peterson opened the fourth with a bloop single to left field and scored on a two-base throwing error after Melone's single past second for a 5-4 lead. The visitors added an insurance run in the seventh on Kris Akins' fielder's choice grounder.

Knights starter Collin Healey gave up four runs (three earned) on 49 pitches in the first two innings.

"He had a little trouble with his command, wasn't getting his breaking ball over like he had been," Manero said.

Junior righthander James Witner took over with one out in the fourth and hurled no-hit ball, with four strikeouts.

"He did a good job of pounding the zone and making them hit the ball," Kersey said.

North Penn (12-6, 10-4 conference) scored twice in the first inning, with Bobby Scott driving in Kersey (single) with a single to left and Brandon Heggan plating Peterson (walk) on a sacrifice fly to right.

The Rams (11-5, 9-5) rapped all six of their hits in the first three innings. In the seventh, Witner struck out the first two batters and closed out the win with a groundout to second.

North Penn 211 100 1 - 6 12 1

Pennridge 310 000 0 - 4 6 1

WP: James Witner. LP: Eric Wesolowski. 2B: NP-Brandon Heggan; P-Brad Misialek.

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