Aston Valley 3, Narberth 1

Aston Valley gets Jump on Narberth in Delco League semifinals

By Matthew DeGeorge, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.@sportsdoctormd on Twitter

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NARBERTH >> In his first year with Aston Valley, Trevor Jump is a little too new to fully understand the milieu of the Knights’ rivalry with Narberth.

The rising sophomore at Goldey-Beacom College was pitching to batters Monday that had been in the Delco League for more than half of his lifespan. He was one of the few players occupying the Aston dugout at Narberth Park who hadn’t counted TJ Chism, Narberth’s starter, as a teammate last year. And the Wilmington, Del., native didn’t hail from the same Sun Valley pipeline that produced Chism and a good proportion of Jump’s fellow Knights.

All that background isn’t that important for Jump’s task of firing from the rubber. And as long as he’s as adept at that as he was Monday, his teammates can fill him in on the history later.

Jump tossed six stellar innings, allowing just one run as Aston drew first blood, 3-1, in the best-of-5 Delco League semifinal series.

 

Narberth will try to get even in Game 2 Tuesday.

Jump was outstanding, the aggressive right-hander scattering four hits over six innings. He struck out seven and walked two.

“The main key is just pounding the zone,” he said. “If you have good offspeed of whatever, you just have to make the best of what you have and really pound the strike zone. They hit the ball well, so it’s hard to just throw it down the middle, but you have to spot up here or there, and I got a couple of breaks on some swings and misses, so it was a pretty good start.”

He added a little deception to his pitches, getting three of his strikeouts looking as the second-seeded Mudcats had a few friendly disagreements with the umpire over the exact bounds of the zone.

“He’s definitely one of the better arms that we saw this year,” Narberth catcher Ryan Tecco said. “He could throw his fastball anytime he wanted and he threw it well. He’s got good offspeed, good secondary stuff that kept us off-balance. He commanded the ball well.”

Jump outdueled Chism, the Sun Valley All-Delco who returned to the Delco League with the Knights after a seven-year pro career. Chism wasn’t bad either, tossing five innings and striking out five against no walks. He allowed six hits, all singles, but two of the runs he allowed in the second inning were unearned thanks to a pair of errors.

The bottom of the lineup sparked the Knights’ rally in the second. With one out, seven-hitter Alex Berman singled, as did designated hitter Luke LeBeau. Nine man Christian Bateman hit a hot shot to third that ate up Narberth’s Joe Lake, the error loading the bases and turning the lineup over.

Dan Hyatt followed with a one-hopper to first that Joe Ravert gloved, stepped on the bag with then fired wide of the plate, allowing Burman and LeBeau to scamper home. Jarad Carney’s RBI single over a leaping Lake made it 3-0.

“It was key,” Bateman said. “We were all trying to stick together. It was a big time to get a good win in our first game of the series, so we just wanted to jump out from the beginning. We kind of sparked the lineup for the top, which helped provide the runs tonight.”

Bateman added two singles, he and Carney the only players on either team with multiple hits. Another Sun Valley All-Delco coming off a solid freshman year at West Chester University, it was a thrill for Bateman to lock horns with a Vanguards legend like Chism.

“I’ve known TJ for a little bit,” Bateman said. “I’ve worked different camps with him through Aston Valley. I know of him and I know he’s a really good player, and it was cool to get to play against him for once, because I’ve always heard about him but never got to play against him.”

Narberth’s bats were slow to awaken. Tecco tried to get them going with a resounding double with two out in the second, and he’d eventually score on Mike White’s single, but that was all.

Steve DeBarberie singled to lead off the fourth, but a fielder’s choice erased him and dampened any hopes of a rally as Jump allowed only three runners to reach second base. The top five in the Mudcats’ order went just 1-for-12.

“We have our ups and downs on the field, that’s going to happen,” Tecco said. “We’re a better team than that, for sure. We just have to wake our bats up earlier. We can’t get down and expect to see an arm like that and expect to score runs and expect to win a game when we’re giving up errors and we’re giving up runs.”

Tecco hit the ball hard with about a quarter-mile of fly balls probing the depths of the unfenced right field at Narberth Park but had just the two-bagger to show for it.

Save for the blip in the second inning, Jump surrendered precious little.

“He’s been playing a big role for us all year,” Bateman said. “He’s thrown so many good innings for us and he’s been a force through our pitching staff.”

Dan Hyatt came in to close the game with a 1-2-3 seventh, his two punchouts looking.

It gives Aston the home-field edge, which might offer Jump a little more time to be indoctrinated in the ways of the Knights. And even if that doesn’t happen, he’s learning pretty quickly what it takes to fit in between the lines.

“It’s fun playing with the older guys and seeing guys at different ages, whether they’re 29 or 17,” he said. “It’s awesome. Of course I want to be the young guy out here showing everyone that I belong here. It’s been fun. It’s been a great ride.”