HORSHAM — It was a thrilling day of baseball on Sunday that ended in thrilling fashion for the LOMA baseball squad.
For the second year in a row, LOMA needed four games to beat the Horsham Astros and capture the PENDEL League championship.
LOMA suffered its fifth loss of the season in Game Three 6-5 before earning its 32nd win of the season 9-5 in Game Four.
In Game Three, LOMA scored three runs in the top of the second inning with three hits and one error.
The Astros came back with two runs in the third inning with a two-run single from Brady McNab.
LOMA did not take long to come back with two runs in the fourth inning thanks to a two-run single from Dustin Kology to make the score 5-2 after four innings.
The Astros got the lead in the fifth inning with an RBI double from Bill Parave, which was later followed by a three-run home run from Ant Kelly to take a 6-5 lead.
LOMA had an ultimate chance to tie the game and take the lead in the seventh inning.
After a leadoff groundball to third base for the first out, Bob Drozdowski reached first base with a walk.
After John Drozdowski struck out for the second out, Tim Lecompte and John Contoudis each earned a walk to make the bases loaded with two outs down by one run.
Tyler DiPatri smashed a ball in the next at bat, but it was a line drive to right field to strand the bases loaded and give Horsham the victory and force game four in the best-of-five series.
LOMA was once again able to strike first with three runs in the second inning thanks to a three-run double from Guaglionona with two outs.
After LOMA starting pitcher Tom Miller was taken out of the game in the fifth inning with a 3-1 lead, the Astros got the best of Pete Moore by scoring two runs in each of the fifth and sixth innings to tie the game at 5-5.
DiPatri for the second straight game had an opportunity to score some runs with the bases loaded in the seventh inning.
DiPatri did not hit a line drive the second time.
Instead he crushed the ball over the fence behind center field for a grand slam to take a 9-5 lead.
“It was unbelievable and indescribable,” said DiPatri. “When I was rounding the bases, it didn’t feel real and it was just an unbelievable feeling.”
LOMA head coach Mike Whitaker also could not believe the moment Dipatri gave his team the lead.
“It was just an unbelievable at bat to work the count full and taking a couple of tough pitches,” said Whitaker. “He was sitting on the fastball and got it and he definitely didn’t miss it.”
Despite being down by four runs in the bottom of the seventh, the Astros did not give up.
After Moore got a groundball to leadoff the inning, Paul Tomcho and Mike Kerns got back-to-back singles to get on first and second base.
Moore was able to get a fielders choice and a fly ball to strand the runners on base and earn LOMA’s second straight league championship.
“It’s a fun friendly rivalry with Horsham,” said Moore. “They are a solid team with a solid lineup, but everybody did a great job and we played our best baseball to beat them.”
Whitaker gave Horsham a lot of credit to make Sunday a thrilling day of championship baseball.
“We knew that Horsham didn’t want to get swept at home and go away,” said Whitaker. “They are a prideful team and we knew they were going to make us earn it and they definitely did.”
“Every year is special for us,” said Whitaker. “This year I think we had such a great year throughout from the very beginning and this was probably one of the best seasons that I ever coached.”
LOMA finishes the season with an overall record of 32-5 and perfect 21-0 record on the home field at Alverthorpe Park in Abington.
“Going for a three-peat will definitely be the plan next year,” said Whitaker. “Hopefully we will bring this entire team back next year.”