Baseball: Radnor-Ridley odds and ends

It took a little while for Radnor’s 5-4 win over Ridley in the battle of chromatic Raiders to come to life Monday. But it eventually did and turned into a decent game between teams clawing for position in the middle of the Central League pack. So a few spare notes from the game.

– To say this game moved quickly is a bit of an understatement. If you cut out a 26-pitch fifth inning, Radnor starter Sean Corelli’s pitch counts by inning went 12-14-13-17-11. He gave up two runs in the fourth on two hits and an error, yet only used 17 pitches. Ridley’s Andrew Karahalis was similarly effective: 12-13-11-12-24.

– It almost makes you wonder why Karahalis was lifted so quickly. Yes he labored through the fifth inning in which he gave up three runs. But he did retire the last two batters of the inning and stranded a runner on third to escape further trouble. He was only at 72 pitches, so that wasn’t a major factor. His plan of attack, devised in consult with his friend Donovan Davis of Strath Haven, seemed to be working. The Green Raiders have relied on Greg Mount in late-game scenarios before and he did throw the out pitches – five of them, in fact, in the sixth inning – that just weren’t converted.

– It seems it’s been a little of everything for Ridley in losing games lately. In a 10-9 loss to Penncrest in extra innings, they couldn’t hold off the Lions in a game where it seemed whoever had the last at-bat would win. The bats didn’t get going in a 7-2 loss to Garnet Valley that wasn’t as lopsided as the score suggested. And the two errors in the seventh Monday meant their gloves let them down. They have the talent to put things together, they just haven’t posted results consistently.

– The Green Raiders have some guys who can hit. Tyler Shiber and Eric Bergmann are big boys in the heart of the lineup. They have versatile hitters in John Gorgone and Justin Goerlach. If they can get the table-setters on, they could have a dangerous lineup.

– It seems that the other side of the equation, though, is that Radnor seems to have discovered an identity. They scraped out a win with just five hits, manufacturing the game-winning run with two sacrifices and two errors. “We’re trying to set an image for ourselves that we can battle back and win games with anything,” said Connor Wilson, who hit the grounder to second that turned into the game-deciding error. They got timely hitting Monday – Billy Greenfield delivered a big double, Ellis Schaefer tripled and Adam Erkis drove in a run to make it a potent middle-of-the-lineup performances – but they filled in the gaps elsewhere, too.

– The reason Radnor even had a chance to tie the game was a play most may have overlooked. With two outs in the fifth and the bases loaded, Pat O’Neill hit a hot shot up the middle. Schaefer ranged to his left, collected it and, with no other play, fired a bullet to third behind Goerlach, who’d rounded the base and was dead to rights. The throw squirted away from Erkis, caught a little unawares by the play, but he collected to gun Goerlach out at the plate. It was a really heads-up play by the All-Delco, and even though it didn’t go exactly as planned, it crucially kept the game tied.

– Sitting behind home plate gives you an appreciation of the frequency and effectiveness of Corelli’s off-speed pitches. He mixed them in a lot, unafraid to start many Ridley hitters with something other than a fastball. With the power potential Ridley has, it was vital for him to avoid the fat part of bats.

– Greenfield was without a win this season, so it may be a boon going forward for him to have picked up a save Monday. The key: Three batters, three first-pitch strikes. He made it look pretty comfortable.

– I got my first look at Villanova’s new stadium in Plymouth Township. It’s a nice facility with a professional pressbox (though I worry about the shatter-proof properties of the glass since its located only about 25 feet behind the dish.)

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