Things were resolved pretty quickly Thursday between Bonner-Prendergast and Archbishop Carroll. A seven-spot put up by the Friars in the second inning has a way of doing that in a game that finished 10-1 in Bonner’s favor.
But there were plenty of talking points that unfolded in the last five innings. So here goes…
– The result was lopsided, but the best play of the game certainly went to Carroll centerfielder Joe DiWilliams. On a 380-foot bomb hit by Pat Vanderslice, the junior tracked it, went up the slight incline at the base of the wall and corralled the ball over his shoulder. Though its overuse is rampant, DiWilliams’ web gem truly resembled the iconic catch by Willie Mays in the 1954 World Series.
– Back to the main storyline: Bonner can hit. In two games against Carroll – against really solid pitchers in Matt Lafferty and Eric McGough, it must be said – the Friars have clubbed 28 hits and scored 25 runs in just 12 innings. Thursday was proof that the short-porch-aided outburst at Carroll’s stadium was no outlier. Jimmy Haley and Frank Saviski aren’t just power guys; they were top-of-the-order guys last year who showed an ability to get on base regularly. This year, with another year of muscle packed on, they pack a punch, too. Then the likes of Brad Scull and Vanderslice are guys that can just mash in the 5 and 6 holes and drive home runs.
– Speaking of Haley and Saviski, there were scouts from the Toronto Blue Jays, Arizona Diamondbacks and New York Mets in attendance looking at them. The Penn State commit Haley, especially, was being looked at closely. Dan Furman, destined for Pitt next year, also got some looks, topping out at 88 miles per hour on the radar gun.
– They say familiarity breeds contempt, and no matter what the pregame prayer said, there was a little feistiness between these teams. Each team exchanged hit-by-pitches suffered by Vanderslice and DiWilliams (whether they were intentional or not, I won’t speculate). Furman objected to a couple of instances of Carroll calling timeout midway through his delivery. DiWilliams did a little talking with Haley and second baseman Richie Tecco after a takeout slide on a double-play attempt that led to a Tecco error and the only run of the game. It was enough for the umpires to call over both managers for a brief conference and a message to pass onto the players to curtail the extracurriculars.
– One of the big differences today between the two Carroll pitchers was the ability to locate their offspeed pitches. McGough’s curveball was erratic, rarely able to find the zone or induce swings-and-misses, the righty often getting under it and floating it toward the plate instead of pulling down. The success enjoyed by reliever Joe Sparacino (four innings, four hits, one run) was based on his ability to mix in his breaking balls. He struck out six, induced 11 swings-and-misses and made a couple of hitters look silly, even managing to induce two swing-and-misses from Haley, a very good offspeed pitch hitter.
– To honor the tradition that both Bonner and Carroll are so high on, both teams used wood bats in their game today. Providing evidence as to why the athletic directors of the Catholic League were not keen extending on the wood-bat format to all league games, the final tally on the cracked bat scoreboard was Carroll 4, Bonner-Prendie 1. At least the Patriots had a pile of kindling to show for their efforts.
– While we’re on the subject of expenses, I counted 13 baseballs lost over the cliff on which Bonner’s field is precariously perched.
– Finally, I may have uncovered the secret to Bonner’s success: It’s got to be the stirrups. Scull, Vanderslice and Saviski are among those sporting the green-and-yellow stirrups, which aren’t the fake stirupped socks. They’re the real McCoy, and the baseball gods are rewarding them.