Resilient Unionville rallies to defeat Great Valley, 8-6
● By Steven Hoffman
Great Valley scored three runs in the top of the sixth inning to take a 6-5 lead, but the Unionville Indians answered with three runs of their own in the bottom of the inning to earn a hard-fought 8-6 win on Monday. Eric Takoushian, Tyler Rafetto, and Drew Jarmuz delivered back to back to back RBI singles to complete the sixth-inning rally.
“We finished the game,” explained Unionville coach Mike Magee. “That’s something that we struggled with earlier this year. Today, our guys never quit. They stayed in on every at-bat. That’s important. When you keep working and working and working, good things happen.”
Good things happened almost from the start for Unionville. Takoushian led off the game with a sharp single off Great Valley starting pitcher Ryan Dailey. Takoushian moved to second on a passed ball then advanced to third when Rafetto delivered a grounder to the right side of the infield. Jarmuz followed with a fly ball to center that was deep enough to allow Takoushian to score.
Unionville starting pitcher Alex Pechin held Great Valley scoreless until the third. That’s when Joe Leonetti hit a double deep to left-center. Alex Girone dropped a sacrifice bunt and beat the throw to first base to put runners at the corners. The next Great Valley hitter, Carter Rubin, also attempted a bunt, but Pechin snatched it out of midair and fired to first base for a double-play. It appeared as if Unionville might see their way out of the inning, but Allen Barry singled sharply to left for the two-out RBI to tie the score at 1-1.
Unionville catcher Ryan Barrett, a senior, hit his first home run of the season when he knocked a Dailey fastball out of the park with two outs and one on in the bottom of the third, giving Unionville a 3-1 advantage.
Great Valley tied the score again in the top of the fifth when Rubin and Barry both delivered RBI doubles.
Proving the team’s resilience, Unionville answered back immediately against Great Valley relief pitcher John Hammerschmidt. A.J. Narcise led off the bottom half of the fifth with a double. Takoushian singled to put runners on the corners. Rafetto turned in another good at-bat and walked, loading the bases for Jarmuz. He hit a fly ball to center to score the run. Takoushian moved to third base on a wild pitch and then scored when the throw to third was errant. It was 5-3 Unionville.
Great Valley battled right back in the top of the sixth as they grinded out good at-bats against Pechin. Mike Malloy delivered a one-out single, followed by a walk to Leonetti. The runners advanced on a wild pitch. Then Girone belted a fly ball to left that scored a run. Rubin followed with a single and then Barry doubled in two runs to give Great Valley a 6-5 lead with two outs. Pechin continued to battle for each out, striking out Austin Lenker with a runner on third to end the threat.
Hammerschmidt set down the first two hitters in the bottom of the sixth inning, but Unionville showed its fortitude with one good at-bat after another. Brady Horne singled to left field. Narcise fouled off a series of pitches until he worked a walk. Takoushian then delivered his third hit of the game to score Horne and tie the game at 6-6. Rafetto singled past the third base bag to score another run. Then Jarmuz stroked a single up the middle to make it 8-6.
Magee turned to reliever Ivan Yen to close out the game. Yen got the first hitter, Tom Allen, to ground out. Great Valley got back-to-back singles off the bats of Jack Nonnemacher and Armando Liberatoscioli, putting runners at the corners. But then Barrett threw out a runner trying to steal second.
Yen coaxed a grounder to first base off the bat of Malloy, closing out the 8-6 win for Unionville.
Magee said that Yen, who has been battling some shoulder troubles early in the season, has only pitched twice, but has delivered solid outings both times.
The coach also praised Pechin for battling through six good innings against a tough Great Valley lineup.
“He really deserved to win this one,” Magee said. “He battled today.”
The victory improved Unionville’s record to 4-4 overall, and Magee is seeing his team make progress. Unionville is doing a much better job of playing small ball, manufacturing runs, and coming up with timely hits. He is also pleased that they are staying focused and working hard on every at-bat.
“They are finishing games and I think they are starting to believe in each other a little bit,” Magee said.