Avon Grove defeats Bishop Shanahan, 6-2
● By Steven Hoffman
The Avon Grove Red Devils relied on a tried-and-true formula of good pitching, solid defense, and timely hitting to defeat Bishop Shanahan, 6-2, in a home game on April 4.
After a scoreless first inning, Avon Grove claimed the lead in their half of the second inning off Bishop Shanahan starting pitcher Kenny Kunzman. Andrew Nole and Jack Lincoln started the rally by reaching base on walks. A single by Aiden Duda loaded the bases. Bailey Smith drove in the first run of the game as he belted a fly ball to center that was deep enough to score Nole. Jacob Stretch then delivered a clutch base hit, singling sharply to drive in two runs. Avon Grove had a 3-0 lead.
Bishop Shanahan played some small ball in the top of the third inning to cut into Avon Grove’s lead. Justin Sampson reached base on an infield single and then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Simmi Whitehill singled and Sampson moved over to third. Sampson then scored on a fielder’s choice when Matt Bertolami hit a slow grounder toward second base, cutting the home team’s lead to 3-1.
Kunzman made fast work of the Red Devils in the bottom half of the third when he quickly coaxed three straight groundouts.
In the top of the fourth, Bishop Shanahan loaded the bases off Avon Grove starting pitcher Owen Mahoney when Kurt Pollard was hit by a pitch, Derek Gibbs singled, and Will Ciarlone walked. Bishop Shanahan pushed across one run when Sampson grounded out. That trimmed Avon Grove’s lead to 3-2. Mahoney battled back and coaxed a fly ball off the bat of Aiden Fisher to end the inning and the scoring threat.
Kunzman, meanwhile, had settled into a nice groove on the mound for Bishop Shanahan. For the second inning in a row, he quickly set Avon Grove down in order in the bottom of the fourth.
The Red Devils’ bats’ got hot again in the bottom of the fifth, when Shane Kelleher and Bryce Porter delivered big hits for their team. The inning began with Smith walking and Stretch reached on a bunt base hit. Nick Sciotto dropped down an excellent sacrifice bunt that moved the runners over to second and third. That’s when Kelleher delivered a triple to score both runs, pushing the lead to 5-2. Porter followed with a hard-hit single to make it a 6-2 game.
Avon Grove head coach Dave Whitcraft had turned to the bullpen after the fourth inning, and relief pitchers Ryan Litchko and Riley Davis combined to surrender just one hit over the last three innings to close out the 6-2 win.
Avon Grove evened its record at 3-3 on the season, while Bishop Shanahan’s record moved to 3-4.
Avon Grove has a home game coming up on Wednesday, April 10 against Downingtown West. Then, on April, 12, the team travels to face West Chester Henderson. Avon Grove will host West Chester East on Monday, April 15.