Vincentian baseball team bests Riverview
The Vincentian baseball team had to do one thing in order to succeed this season, according to coach Jay Fennell.
“The sophomores have to play like seniors,” he said.
Through six games, the team played well, going 6-0, but a big test came in a trip to Riverview, which also was undefeated at the time.
The game was a pitchers' duel, and through three innings, neither team could get much footing. The Royals ultimately prevailed, 5-0, to win the battle of the unbeatens.
In the top of the fourth inning, singles by Phil Madonna and Ian Taylor were followed by a walk of Jay Cortese to load the bases for the Royals in the scoreless affair.
Bases loaded and two outs could have put pressure on Greg MacQueen. Pressure is the result of not being prepared, but MacQueen spent extra time with Fennell during the summer. MacQueen struck out in his previous appearance, but Riverview got no such luck this time around.
The junior knocked a two-run single that wound up being the game-winning hit.
“After a strikeout, you have to come back with confidence,” MacQueen said. “This was a huge win, but we can't get caught up in it. We have to continue this the rest of the season.”
The spark by MacQueen carried over to the fifth inning, when Cortese victimized Riverview with a two-run shot that drove in Madonna and Taylor.
Cortese hit his second RBI double in the top of the seventh to ensure the win.
Taylor pitched a solid game, allowing only four hits and striking out four.
“I just hit my spots and threw strikes,” Taylor said. “My slider was my best pitch today. It broke across the plate.”
As a side note, the Royals could have cancelled the game against Riverview and rescheduled its game against OLSH, but the coach wanted to face Riverview.
“We could have rescheduled and reloaded our pitchers, but I wanted to face Riverview and their Division I pitcher,” Fennell said. “I knew if we could stay close, we would get our guys a second look at him. We felt confident.”
Fennell said he has plenty of good pitching and wanted to face the best in the section.
Taylor said that in addition to the win, the Riverview game gave the Royals confidence moving forward, an important intangible for a team starting five sophomores.
Madonna, the team's veteran catcher, is one of the team leaders and one of the best at his position in the WPIAL. He said the play of the younger players was encouraging.
“We are making the pitches when we have to,” Madonna said. “Last year, that was not coming through most of the time.
“I like the versatility of this team. We are deep with pitchers, and we have three solid starters and coach Fennell has us prepared for any situation.”
The Royals will resume section play when they host Northgate at 4 p.m. on Friday, April 26.
Jerry Clark is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or firstname.lastname@example.org.