HORSHAM — Tyler Lizell held off Horsham’s bid for a seventh-inning comeback and visiting Fort Washington kept it winning streak intact Monday night.
The Macs scored twice in their bottom of the frame to pull within a run but Lizell sealed the save and the Generals’ fifth-straight victory with a strikeout and Fort left Hatboro-Horsham with a 5-4 Lower Montco American Legion League win Monday night.
“It was a little rough with some of the errors but I kept pounding the zone, trying to make it easy for my catcher so I’d get them all done,” Lizell said. “But they had their good part of the lineup up so I was trying to pitch them outside, inside and it worked out in the end.”
The first-place Generals (15-3, 13-1 league) recorded just three singles but plated four runs before posting their first hit, taking advantage of Horsham miscues along with a few key steals to build a 5-1 lead after a pair of runs in the fourth.
“We didn’t have a whole lot of hits but we were able to manufacture some runs with our baserunning and took advantage some walks and extra baserunners,” Fort coach Gary Bonataibitus said. “And ultimately that held up fortunately.”
Horsham’s bid for a late rally began in the sixth as JT Thomas’ RBI groundout pulled the Macs (6-5-1 league) to within 5-2.
Justin Kahrimanian led off the bottom of the seventh with his second hit – an infield single to right side – then went to third as Noah Gremo reached on an error. A balk scored a run to make it 5-3 and advanced Gremo to second.
After a fly out to center, Gremo went to third on a wild pitch and came home on Will Bruner’s RBI ground out. But Lizell got the next batter to strikeout swinging as Fort topped the Macs for the second time in their third and final regular-season meeting.
“Settled back in,” said Lizell, who just graduated from Upper Dublin and is looking to walk on to Gettysburg College’s baseball team. “After the first error I was a little shaken but recovered, took deep breaths.”
Horsham handed Fort its lone Lower Montco defeat 8-0 June 21 but the Generals beat the Macs 5-4 three days later and have not lost since.
“We played them three times now, we beat them once and we beat ourselves twice,” Horsham coach Bill DeBoer said. “We did not do what we needed to do today. We lost focus in big situations and we let them play their small-ball game to our detriment.”
Both teams are slated to play home games 6 p.m. Tuesday – Horsham taking on Loudenslager back at Hatboro-Horsham while Fort hosts Morelanders at Upper Dublin.
“The last couple games we haven’t hit as well as we would have like,” Bonataibitus said. “We hit the very well early in the season. I think we (have hit) not so well like I said the last week or so but hopefully now things will pick up. We got four games left in the regular season so hopefully that will pick off and get us ready for the playoffs.”
Generals starting pitcher Tristan Helmick gave up a run in the bottom of the first then proceeded to throw four straight scoreless innings. The right-hander picked up the win, allowing two runs – both earned – on five hits, two walks and a hit batter while striking out two.
“He’s thrown well for us all year,” Bonataibitus said. “He’s one of my younger guys but he’s been doing well every time he’s been out there. So we kind of have a young pitching staff but they’ve all been kind of through the fire here with a lot of games so hopefully that will continue on as we get ready for the playoffs.”
Horsham grabbed the early 1-0 lead in the first as Jim Tooley hit a one-out single, went to third when Bruner reached on an error and scored on Anthony Liott’s RBI sacrifice fly to center.
Fort Washington, however, tied the game in the top of the second when Lizell came home on a two-out wild pitch.
“Every other team I feel like we’ve been hitting pretty well but Horsham they have some good pitching,” Lizell said. “So we got to play a lot of small ball, first and thirds, steals, all that.”
The Generals went ahead for good in the third, starting their half of the inning by loading the bases on three consecutive walks by Landon Katchman, David Sharp and Nate Dennis.
An error on Ryan Deal’s fly ball to center allowed Katchman to score while Horsham got a force out at second on the play. Sharp made it 3-1 Fort by taking home on a double steal.
“We seem to lose focus and it’s a chain reaction after that,” DeBoer said. “Each game we have one to three innings where we lose focus but we hit so well that we’re able to overcome that a lot. But not against a team that’s going to start playing small ball against you and the slightest mistake turns into you chasing your tail on the field.”
Fort plated two more in the fourth as Chase Trimm scored from third after an error while Mark O’Brien made it 5-1 with the Generals’ first hit – an RBI single that brought in Tim Saiber.
Landon Kratchman followed with another single but Horsham kept the margin at four by throwing out O’Brien at third on a steal attempt then turning a 2-3-1 double play after a strikeout.