Aston Valley 10, Upper Darby 9

Aston Valley walks off with win over Upper Darby

   By Harry Chaykun

   ASTON – Donovan Davis didn’t have a good top of the seventh inning at Jim Buggy Memorial Field Saturday afternoon.

   He gave up a pair of hits and runs, was called for two balks, and had a heated conversation with plate umpire Bill Haines.

   Things got better in the bottom of the seventh for Davis and his Aston Valley Knights teammates, who batted around and scored five runs to rally for a 10-9 decision over the Upper Darby Blue Sox.

   With the win, the Knights improved to 16-8-1 for 49 points. The Narberth Mudcats, who lost to Wayne Friday night, are 15-6-2 for 47 points as the teams battle for second place and a bye in the opening round of the Delco Baseball League playoffs.

   “We only have three games left while they still have to play five,” Knights player/manager Marcus Spero said. “But it was good to get this one. This will certainly help us in the standings.”

   The Blue Sox scored three runs in the top of the second inning and three more in the third off Davis, who went the distance, giving up 12 hits and striking out eight while walking only one.

   Trevor Robinson (3-for-3 with a sacrifice fly and four RBIs) had a two-run triple in the second for Upper Darby, and Champ Sanchez (two doubles and a single) and Robinson added run-scoring singles and Tyler O’Shea (two doubles) got a run home with the second of his two-base hits in the third.

   Dan Hyatt’s two-run homer in the fourth inning off Blue Sox starter John Gonzales cut the Knights’ deficit to 6-5 before an unearned run in the sixth and the two hits, two balks, a dropped throw at the plate, and Robinson’s sacrifice fly put the visitors four runs ahead with three outs to get in the the seventh.

   Shawn Vasquez opened the winning rally for Aston Valley with a double off Ron Bailey, who took over on the mound for Gonzales to start the inning. Christian Bateman and Spero followed with hits to get one run home and another scored on an error before Bailey recorded a strikeout.

   Eric Stewart’s double produced a run, then the Blue Sox gave Nick DiPietropolo (3-for-3) an intentional walk. Davis, who had bunted twice and struck out in his first three at-bats, crossed up Upper Darby by chopping the ball over the head of first baseman Dave Jerdon, who had come in in anticipation of another bunt. The ball rolled into right field as the tying run scored. After an intentional walk to Hyatt, Ben Mutz relieved Bailey and threw four wide pitches to Sam Farnell to force in the deciding run.

   “It was a hot day, and sometimes things happen,” Davis said of the seventh inning run-in with the umpires. “If it helped us get up, it was good for us. We know we have to battle every game.”

   Davis, who played at Strath Haven High and Widener University, works from 2:30-11 p.m. Monday through Friday as a process chemist in Morrisville (Bucks County).

   “I can’t play games during the week,” he said. “And I don’t get that much of a chance to hit. That last time up, I was just trying to put the ball in play, and I got a nice hop.”

   Spero appreciates whatever contributions Davis can make to the team.

   “We lost some players to college leagues and others aren’t playing anymore,” he said of how the Knights have tried to keep things together with a lot of new faces this summer after winning the 2017 playoff championship.

   “(Davis) is our weekend warrior. I wish we could play all our playoff games on the weekend so we’d have him. (DiPietropolo) was a pitcher at Chestnut Hill College, but he told me he could play the outfield and hit if we needed him to do that. Whoever has been showing up has done what they could to help us.”

   Leadoff batter Noah White and catcher Len Montano both contributed a pair of hits to the Upper Darby attack.