ROYERSFORD — Roslyn manager Mark Troyer wasn’t quite sure how things would play out Saturday morning.
With the Blue Hawks coming off a crushing walk-off loss in Friday’s opening game of the Region 3 American Legion baseball tournament and temperatures already hovering in the low 90s for the 10 a.m. first pitch, there were a lot of variables at stake. Script-wise, things played out quite similar to Friday, save for a better ending.
Roslyn jumped out early, then held off a mid-game rally by Perk Valley for a 5-3 win to stay alive another day at Spring City’s Ram Stadium.
“Driving here, I wasn’t sure what to expect,” Troyer said. “I talked to the guys about it, it’s 95 degrees, it’s early in the morning, we just came off a really tough loss and sometimes it’s hard to find that energy again and play good baseball.”
Both sides could certainly claim a few plays they wanted back, but overall it was a well-played game all around that came down to the final set of at-bats. Like on Friday, Roslyn jumped out to an early lead and this time was able to see it out to the final out.
First baseman Griffin Wittenberg started the Blue Hawks’ second inning rally by ripping a leadoff double to right. Roslyn got a bit of a break when a short-hopper off Steve Vogl’s bat got the Perk Valley defense tangled and nobody out and George Jacob followed with an RBI single to plate Wittenberg.
“We came out hot,” Wittenberg said. “It was the early game, everyone knew that, so we wanted to come out with energy and hit the ball like we did yesterday. We just wanted a better ending.
“We weren’t waiting back for other pitches. I got up and swung at the first pitch I saw, Steve swung at the second pitch I think and it just went from there.”
Marc Macione had the big hit of the inning, a boomshot double to left that looked to have a chance at leaving field but settled for driving in two more runs.
Perk Valley also had a Friday flashback to its 7-3 loss against Downingtown where the opposing team used a strong offensive second inning to take control of the game. Saturday though, it didn’t stop the Raiders from fighting back.
“I’d like to have some things back in the field, but any team can say that and I think like yesterday that second inning came back to bite us,” PV manager Tim Tyson said. “We put ourselves in a bit of a hole but we fought back and got within one before we gave up that late run, which really hurt.”
On a searing hot day, Raiders pitcher Tommy Moore embodied that fight, shaking off the second inning to throw a complete game. The big right-hander did give up a run in the sixth inning after Vogl doubled with one out and eventually scored on a wild pitch but otherwise kept his team in the game.
Troyer said he was worried how his team’s bats would handle the power and speed Moore had on the hill and Tyson had nothing but praise for the pitcher, who played his final Legion game on Saturday.
It was Moore’s battery partner in catcher Logan Carney who provided the spark to get the Raiders’ rally going.
“That just says a lot to do that after being out there catching in that heat,” Tyson said. “We have different rules in the regular season, we can courtesy run for the catcher to give him a break but it’s something you can’t do at regionals so for him to be out in that heat and do that at the plate, it was phenomenal.”
Carney went 3-for-3 at the dish, his two-out single in the fourth inning igniting a two-run surge for PV. The Raiders had gotten a run back off Roslyn starter Michael Yoast in the third inning when Chris Pow stole home on a delayed double steal but it was their bats that carried the fourth.
A balk and wild pitch moved Carney two bases and he scored on Tyler Haywood’s infield single. Haywood then swiped second and came in when Corey Elmer, a replacement after Pow injured an ankle scoring the previous inning, singled to center.
Roslyn couldn’t stop Bristol’s rally on Friday but Marrow made sure the Blue Hawks would keep their lead Saturday. The center fielder made a tremendous play charging a fly ball and coming up with a sliding grab to end the inning with Roslyn still up 4-3.
“They were starting to chip away and next thing you know it’s 4-3, you see this little flare out there and think it has a chance to drop and Cam comes up with a sensational play,” Troyer said. “He’s been making plays like that all year long in center field for us. He’s been a terrific fielder.”
Wittenberg said the fifth run was huge not only in extending the lead but just to reassure the team’s confidence. Pitcher Jason Cute, who came on in relief to start the fifth inning, tossed three scoreless frames to prevent any further PV threats.
PV’s season ends but Tyson said the Raiders are only losing two players due to age eligibility and with the experience of getting to regionals this year, they’re looking forward to trying for a repeat next summer.
“It was fantastic, you want to keep playing more baseball if you can,” Tyson said. “Losing the championship of our league, we thought we were done so coming here was just a big bonus. I’d love to be playing tomorrow, Monday and Tuesday but just to be able to play more baseball with this team was a great thing.”
Roslyn returns on Sunday for the 4 p.m. elimination game against the losing side of Saturday night’s contest between Nether Providence and Yardley-Morrisville.
“It’s the same thing tomorrow, just energy, energy, energy,” Wittenberg said. “We have to hit the ball early in the count, which is what we did today.”