UPPER GWYNEDD — Matt Cavagnaro had some extra motivation Wednesday night.
The Lansdale Tigers shortstop had all the usual goals like producing at the plate and covering his pitcher’s back in the field, but Wednesday marked the first time this season his children were able to come and see him play. It added up to a strong night as Cavagnaro and Lansdale cashed in often.
The Tigers rallied with nine unanswered runs to top host Nor-Gwyn 13-6 at Hostelley Field.
“I was getting good pitches to hit and put a barrel on it,” Cavagnaro, who went 4-for-5 with three RBI, said. “I wasn’t missing hitter’s pitches and was fortunate enough to get a few hits.”
Cavagnaro was a big part of Lansdale’s sixth and seventh inning offensive outburst but he wasn’t a one-man show either. The Tigers, who have a good roster balance of veterans and college-aged players, got plenty of contributions up and down the lineup.
Another of the veterans, right-handed pitcher Matt Sperling, got the start on the mound Wednesday. The longtime Perky League presence started well, giving up just a single run through four innings, but ran into trouble in the fifth when the host Packers scored five times to take a 6-4 lead.
Sperling, who bats as well as pitches, helped his team get started on the comeback with a leadoff double that kicked off a four-run sixth.
“I’ve been doing it long enough that I’m able to separate myself as Matt the hitter and Matt the pitcher,” Sperling said. “Certainly, I was not happy at all but I had to refocus. Sometimes, you can take your anger from both sides, whether you take it from the plate to the mound or vice-versa and if you harness that and make it work for you, you can turn it into a positive.”
It’s been a few tough games in a row for the Packers, but the hosts did take the first lead of the night when Dan Gavlick scored on Matt Blazynski’s RBI groundout in the second inning. Gavlick would add a two-run double during the team’s five-run fifth immediately following Michael Knipe’s two-run single.
Sperling, who went 3-for-4 and scored three runs, leveled the score with an RBI single in the fourth before coming home on Zac Hess’ two-run home run to left field. Chad Evans added an RBI double in the fifth to stake the Tigers to a short-lived 4-1 edge.
“We certainly took advantage, we had 14 hits, that’s the name of the game, just make it tough on them,” Sperling said. “The big thing, half our lineup are current college kids and they missed almost their entire season. Usually they come in with 150 at-bats under their belt and ready to rock-and-roll, so it’s tough for a lot of these guys.”
Wednesday, some of the Tigers’ younger players came through in the crucial job of turning the lineup over. Trey Oberowski, who had a hit-stealing catch in right early in the game, had hits in the sixth and seventh innings and came around to score each time batting out of the No. 8 spot.
Justin Massielo, who batted ninth, had two singles and a walk, scoring twice to go with a seventh inning RBI. Those contributions proved fruitful as the top of the lineup worked down to Cavagnaro in the three spot.
Cavagnaro, who singled in the first inning and again in the fourth, got his first run-producing hit in the fifth, a two-run single that scored Oberowski and Massielo. The veteran shortstop would add an RBI single an inning later to drive in the final run of the night.
“We’re a confident group when it comes to hitting,” Cavagnaro said. “We had a rough inning, we gave up the lead so we wanted to put a couple quality at-bats together and we were able to do it. The guys tied the game and got the bases loaded for me, so I knew I would get some pitches early to hit and fortunately put a good swing on it.”
The win put Lansdale at 10-8 on the season and kept the Tigers sitting third in the Perky League table. Sperling has been encouraged by the younger players’ recent uptick in production offensively but still expects the postseason to be anyone’s game.
“We have to turn the lineup over to get four or five at-bats and the only way to do that is hit one through nine,” Sperling said. “This game is so much about confidence, I’ve been doing it long enough and know anytime you see balls drop or find outfield green, it’s huge. That hopefully will carry over into next week and as we approach the playoffs.”
Lansdale 13, Nor-Gwyn 6
Lansdale 000 314 5 — 13 14 1
Nor-Gwyn 010 050 0 — 6 6 2