PHOENIXVILLE - When a player puts on the silver and black of the Norchester Bulldogs, there is an inherent expectation of that player. He is expected to play to 100 percent of his ability in the framework of the team concept, and of course expected to win ball games.
Owen J.Roberts freshman Ben Cundello not only accepts that challenge but looks forward to additional hurdles along the way.
“I love being challenged,” said Cundello. “Being a part of Norchester baseball, I know there is that expectation and a tradition of winning big games. I look forward to that and really love the pressure. We have been hitting the ball great all year. Tonight, we just didn’t take advantage of our chances.”
The Phantoms got out of the gate with a three spot in the first and had increased their edge to 5-3 as the Dawgs came to bat in the top of the fifth where Cundello smacked a triple to start off the inning, followed by David Clay who reached on an error and the Dawgs were in business.
Tony Gruenling crushed a double deep to the wide open spaces of Kennedy Field in left center, scoring the duo and tying the game at five.
The turning point in the game came as starting hurler Kutier Endy stepped into the batter’s box and ripped a shot back at the mound. Phoenixville pitcher Sean Williamson snared the ball in the web of his glove and raced right at Gruenling, who was caught between second and third. Williamson was able to apply the tag then pivot and throw to first, catching Endy as he wondered off first base -- the bizarre twin killing ended the rally and gave the momentum back to the Athletics.
“He didn’t want to lead off the inning with a walk so I knew he was going to give me something to hit,” said Cundello. “He gave me a fastball down and in and I just was able to rip it. That double play was huge. If we get that run in, who knows, we are probably still playing, the ball just went right to him.”
Phoenixville, 5-3, regained the lead for good in the home fifth as catcher Mike Anthony drove a ball into the gap driving in two runs to give the A’s a 7-5 lead.
“That’s a good team we just played," said Big Dawgs manager Ken Long. “This entire league has gotten very good. It’s the most competitive league in the state right now. (Williamson) mixed his pitches in well, even though I thought our guys had some very good swings on him. Our goal every year is to finish the season in the state title game. To do that, we have to win games like this.”
Cundello was the only Norchester batter to reach base in the final two innings on a single, but was left stranded as the Dawgs were retired by Williamson in order after his base hits.
“They played very well tonight,” said Long -- who is in his fifth year. “That is a very well coached, disciplined team that we will probably play again down the road as we have split the first two times we have played and they as well as us have beaten Spring City.”
|Salerno 2b||4||1||1||0||Arney 2b||3||0||1||2|
|Cundello 1b p||4||1||2||0||Furr lf||4||1||2||0|
|Clay c||4||1||1||1||Purcell cf||4||1||1||0|
|Rumer rf||3||0||0||0||Demey c||4||2||2||1|
|Gruenling 1b||4||0||2||0||Palmen 1b||3||0||0||0|
|Endy p lf||2||0||1||0||Cook ss||2||1||1||1|
|Zebroski lf cf||3||1||1||0||Williamson p||2||0||0||0|
|Anderson ss||3||0||0||0||Anthony 3b||3||1||3||1|
|Raymond 3b||3||1||3||2||Landis lf||2||1||1||0|