Five-run first leads to Avon Grove victory
● By Richard Gaw
Chances are that nowhere in the Avon Grove baseball program is there any written attribution to the most famous quote offered by the late motivational speaker and author, Zig Ziglar, but no matter. For Red Devils starting pitcher Michael Deitz, last Friday's performance in a 7-4 victory over Bishop Shanahan truly was the personification of, "It's not how you start, but how you finish."
Cushioned with an early lead, Deitz battled his way to a complete-game win while helping his own cause with a two-run double in the sixth.
Played before a bundled-up crowd in chilly West Grove, the Red Devils touched Bishop Shanahan starter Frank Chubb for five runs in the first, beginning with lead-off batter Daniel Klinger, who walked, stole second, advanced to third on Jimmy Farrow's infield single, and scored on a passed ball for the game's first run. Deitz then walked, Ryan Guckin reached on an infield single, and Zach Long singled to left to bring in Farrow and Deitz. The Red Devils finished their scoring when a ground-out by Tyler Bonner plated Guckin, and an infield error on a grounder by Andrew Brady brought in Long with Avon Grove's fifth run.
Meanwhile, Deitz stymied the Eagles for the first three innings, on a generous mix of fastballs and off-speed pitches. In the fourth, Bishop Shanahan touched the scoreboard for the first time, when Nick O'Day singled to lead off the inning, and came around to score on Riley O'Day's double to left center.
In the top of the fifth, the Eagles mounted their only serious threat against Deitz, when a bunt single by Jeff Zebrowski filled the bases with no out, after Greg Rankin reached on an infield error and TJ Booth singled. A sacrifice fly to left by Joe Lord plated pinch runner Joe Behnam, which was then followed by Nick O'Day's single to left, that brought in Booth. Bishop Shanahan rounded out its scoring when Zebrowski scored a ground-out by Riley O'Day.
Nursing a slim 5-4 lead in the bottom of the sixth, Deitz put the game out of reach with his bat. Designated Hitter Peyton MacNeill led off the inning with a single, and advanced to second when Klinger was hit with a pitch. With two out, Deitz clobbered a Chubb fastball to left center for a double, bringing in MacNeill and Klinger ahead of him for the game's final runs.
With the win, Avon Grove improved to 3-4 in the Ches-Mont, and 3-5 overall, while Bishop Shanahan fell to 4-4 in the Ches-Mont and overall on the season. The Red Devils play at Downingtown East on April 15, while Bishop Shanahan travels to Kennett on the same day.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.