UPPER PROVIDENCE — Timmy Foley wasn’t going to take a walk.
The Bristol first baseman’s drawn a few walks this postseason but with the winning run 90 feet from home Friday afternoon, he was going to settle things with his bat. Foley got his wish with a fastball right down the middle and made the most of it.
Foley’s crushed ball to the base of the center field fence provided a walk-off winner as Bristol shocked Roslyn 5-4 in the opening round of the Region 3 American Legion baseball tournament.
“I’ve gotten walked three times in the playoffs and I was not going to let it happen again,” Foley said. “I just took advantage, believed I could do it and did it.”
Roslyn’s first trip since 2016 to the Region 3 tournament, hosted this year by the defending state champion Spring City Red Sox at Spring-Ford’s Ram Stadium, looked like it was going to end well until the bottom of the seventh inning. Aside from a tough second inning, Blue Hawks starter Joe DiMaria pitched very well going 6 1/3 innings before hitting the pitch limit.
The Blue Hawks’ downfall came as a result of some defensive miscues in the seventh and an offense that went quiet after a hot start. Roslyn had eight hits, but only two after the third inning and didn’t have a runner advance past first base after the same third inning.
“We played a great game until the seventh inning when we played poorly and opened the door for a team I thought we had in a position to be able to put away,” Roslyn manager Mark Troyer said. “We made mistakes and they proved costly.”
Roslyn struck first, with Griffin Wittenberg’s leadoff double starting a sequence that loaded the bags with nobody out. Bristol starter Cam Culver got back-to-back strikeouts against the bottom of the Blue Hawks’ order, but leadoff man Cam Marrow came through with a two-out, two-run single to dent the scoreboard.
Marrow helped create a third run in the frame when he got caught in a rundown but kept it alive long enough for Marc Macione to race home for a 3-0 lead.
Bristol came back in the home half of the inning with a barrage of singles against DiMaria, who struggled to locate the strike zone in the frame. The Jays used four base hits with RBI singles from No. 8 and 9 hitters George Delgado and Christian Culver, to cut the lead to one.
“We were off to a bit of a slow start but we turned it around,” Foley said.
Roslyn came back with a run in the top of the third when Wittenberg struck an RBI single to score DiMaria. It wasn’t a game of many hard-hit balls either way, with Wittenberg’s second inning double standing as the only official extra-base hit among the 15 combined hits.
Still, it seemed like that would be enough for Roslyn going into the bottom of the seventh. But on the Bristol side, Post 382 was in familiar territory. All season, the Lower Bucks runner-up showed a knack for fighting back late.
Friday, they did it again.
“Usually in the last few innings, that’s when we really get up and start screaming and yelling,” Bristol center fielder Evan Profy said. “The energy was at its highest in that last inning of the game.”
Profy had the key at-bat of the seventh inning after a rough start to the game offensively. With one out and a runner on second, the outfielder read the defense and decided to put a bunt down.
Roslyn, which had made a couple changes defensively in the late innings, had two players converge on the ball and nobody cover first base, which allowed Profy to reach safely. Just as critical was Profy’s swipe of second in the confusion following the defensive mishap that put runners at second and third.
“Someone’s got to be there to cover,” Troyer said. “We have to get at least an out in that situation.”
DiMaria exited following the bunt play but reliever Jason Cute got Joey Wright to ground out, driving in a run but putting the Blue Hawks one out away from a win. Roslyn opted to intentionally walk Phil Stahl to try and set up a force play and bring up Foley.
A pair of balls in the dirt moved the runners and Profy scored on the second to tie the game.
“This is the best feeling I’ve had in a while, bottom of the seventh being down two runs and winning the game, it was awesome,” Profy said. “We’ve been down in a lot of games and happened to win them, so that’s kind of been our mojo.”
Foley knew right off the bat he’d gotten all he needed of the pitch to end the game. His heroics earned him one of the team’s talismans, a one-handed mini-sledgehammer attached to a chain, which he jubilantly wore after the game.
“We didn’t want to play at 10 (a.m.) and we just had to believe this was our game,” Foley said. “That let us go home winners.”
Bristol will face Downingtown at 4 p.m. Saturday in a winner’s bracket game. Roslyn returns at 10 a.m. to face Perk Valley in a loser goes home game. Last Roslyn was in regionals, it made a run through the elimination bracket, something the Blue Hawks will now try to do again.
Troyer is looking for his hitters to come out more aggressive on Saturday, something he felt they lacked in the later innings against Bristol.
“We have to take it one day at a time right now,” Troyer said. “Several years ago, we lost our opener but won two in a row to force a fourth day and right now that had to be our mindset. We have to battle one game at a time.”