Narberth 4, Aston Valley 3

Narberth walks away with series lead

   By Harry Chaykun

   Mike White didn’t do what he had hoped when he came to the plate in the top of the seventh inning with the Delco League semifinal playoff game between the Narberth Mudcats and Aston Valley Knights tied Thursday night at Penncrest Hight.

   “I was just thinking about putting the ball in play,” the Mudcats’ second baseman said.

   White did not put the ball in play. He did end up with the game-winning run batted in when he drew a bases-loaded walk, forcing Ryan Tecco, who had singled with one-out, home with the run that gave the Mudcats a 4-3 decision and a 2-1 lead in the best-of-5 series.

   Narberth will try to qualify for the playoff finals with a win in Game 4, which begins at 1 p.m. Saturday at Penncrest.

   “I just wanted to focus up there after my previous at-bats,” White, who had grounded out and flown out in his first two trips to the plate, said.

   “He (reliever Christian Bateman) was throwing the ball up. I just didn’t want to swing at a bad pitch.”

   Joe Ravert, who worked two-thirds of an inning Tuesday to earn a save for the Mudcats, got another save Thursday night.

   After a walk to Luke LeBeau opening the bottom of the seventh, he got Max Carney to fly out to left field, retired Sam Farnell on an infield grounder as LeBeau advanced to second base, and threw a called third strike past Rob Caruso to end the game.

   “I’m working in accounting with my dad, Ed, and he was my ride to the game,” Ravert, who played at Malvern Prep and La Salle University before spending some time in the Can-Am League, said. “I threw eight or 10 pitches on the side before I went out there (for the seventh inning).

“You try not to think about it and just throw.”

   Caruso had singled, reached on an error, and walked in his first three at-bats. LeBeau and Caruso had hits and scored on Matt Domian’s double in the bottom of the first inning. Marc Spero walked with two outs in the second and came around on LeBeau’s double, giving the Knights a 3-0 lead.

   Narberth got even in the top of the third. Leadoff batter Joe Lake was safe on an error, Rich Tecco walked, and Ravert’s single drove Lake across the plate. Tecco scored as Steve DeBarberie grounded into a force out, and Lee Lipinski’s infield hit tied the score.

   After a rough first two innings, Mudcats starter Chris Huyette blanked the Knights in the third through fifth innings, giving up one hit and striking out a pair in those middle innings.

   With one out in the bottom of the sixth, Huyette walked Eric Stewart and was replaced by Toby MacCart, who got Spero to hit a grounder to shortstop Rich Tecco. Tecco threw to White at second base for one out, and White’s toss to first beat Spero as Narberth, which had hit into three double plays, got its first twin killing.

   “I’ve thrown two innings all season,” MacCart, who recently was diagnosed with a sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament and tendinitis in his right arm and became the winning pitcher after Ravert shut down the Knights in the seventh inning, said.

   “I knew I might have to throw tonight, depending on the situation. And that was the perfect situation. My ball sinks, and it was a good spot to look for a ground ball.”

   Designated hitter Ryan Tecco and Lipinski got three hits apiece, and Ravert had the other two safeties for the Mudcats. LeBeau and Domian both had a single and double to account for four of Aston Valley’s five hits.