Baseball: Penncrest-Haverford odds and ends

The state of Monday’s game between Haverford and Penncrest was summed up with one seemingly trivial play. With one out in the sixth, Haverford designated hitter Drew McWilliams ducked to get out of the way of a high fastball delivered from John Geffre. His bat, though, stayed in the way long enough to foul-tip it. It was that kind of day for the starting pitchers, getting outs at will in a 3-1 win by Penncrest.

– The story of the game Monday – as much as Bryan Kirk’s game-winning hit – was Geffre on the mound. The senior allowed just two hits and struck out 8. He retired the last 7 batters he faced, needing just 20 pitches to do so. He induced 20 swing and misses among his 109 pitches. He laughed afterward when asked if having scouts from the University of Delaware, where he is committed to play next year, spurred him on. Whatever it was, though, that was the dominant pitcher Penncrest was banking on this season and hadn’t seen through the early portions of the schedule. “The first couple of starts were real rough for me,” Geffre said. “It put me down a little bit, but I started to pitch better and better as the year went on. And they guys just had my back all year, so that really helped.” His ability to continue to deliver ace-quality performances is integral to Penncrest’s playoff chances.

– Geffre’s opposite number, Alex Barr, deserved a better fate. He allowed just three hits and two walks through his first six innings on the hill, but he simply didn’t have it in the seventh, walking the first two batters. Keith Kravec pitched well – including a three-pitch strikeout of Geffre, who just didn’t look up to the challenge in that at-bat – but Kirk just outdueled him. For a Haverford team that has underachieved this season, it’s the kind of tough loss to stomach that has been all-too-regular this season.

– Kirk got the game-winning hit and the acclaim that rightfully goes with it. But he was also stellar in the field, handling six chances flawlessly, including tying a Delaware County record with three assists in the sixth. He’s made some errors this season, as has the entire infield at times, but he also has such outstanding range that he gets to balls others don’t.

– Speaking of solid shortstop play, Haverford coach Paul Bogosian was pleasantly surprised with what he got from Darren Nardo at the position. He made five really nice plays, including the twirling stab up the middle on Kirk in the sixth and a 1-6-3 putout of Cole Gamber in the first that pitcher Barr kicked his way. (While we’re handing out defensive plaudits, it should be noted that Gamber also made a nice diving catch in center as he does all too often.)

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