Narberth 7, Aston Valley 1

Meagher’s glove and bat help Narberth advance

By Matt Smith, Delaware County Daily Times

POSTED:  

NARBERTH >> Brian Meagher’s steady defense is the primary reason he has enjoyed a lengthy baseball career in the Delco League.

“The glove is my No. 1 tool,” said Meagher, who was Narberth’s starting third baseman in Game 4 of a Delco League semifinal series Saturday. “That put me through college and allowed me to play this long. I’m used to shortstop, so that side of the field is no problem for me. That’s really the No. 1 thing that I bring to the table, my defense, so if I can do that to the best of my ability and the way I know how then that will help everybody on the team.”

In the fourth inning, Meagher made a pair of sweet plays, a nifty backhanded stop behind the third-base bag and a smooth bare-handed scoop and throw on the run. He wasn’t too shabby at the plate, either. Meagher collected two RBI hits in the nine-hole to help Narberth defeat defending champion Aston Valley, 7-1, and win the best-of-five series, 3-1.

Narberth returns to the Delco League championship round for the fourth consecutive year. The second-seeded Mudcats take on top-seeded Wayne in a five-game set. Game 1 is scheduled for Monday, 5:45 at Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth.

 

“I truly believe that we’re the best two teams going at it,” meagher said. “We got some really good pitching this series and hopefully that will carry over because they have some guys who can hit the ball. If we can get good pitching, play defense and get some timely hitting, we will be fine.“

Marty McKeone pitched six strong innings for the win Saturday. The veteran righthander scattered eight hits and struck out four before yielding to James Santore, who tossed a scoreless seventh inning.

“I definitely was hoping to close it out today, because I’m going to the shore (Sunday),” said McKeone, who plans to drive back and forth from Wildwood and will be ready for his next scheduled start. “We wanted to get this done and over with, especially since we knew Wayne probably was going to be finishing up their series.

 

“Waking up the bats was huge. We’ve been hitting the ball pretty solid but we’ve been hitting the ball at people. Today the balls started to drop and we had some big innings. Defensively we’re solid, but offensively we’re getting it going.”

McKeone allowed a solo dinger in the second inning that shouldn’t have happened. Alex Burman blasted one down the right-field line, lost through the trees in fair territory. Narberth right fielder Spencer Stokes assumed the ball went foul and was delayed in retrieving the ball, therefore enabling Burman to round the bases and score with ease.

Narberth responded with a four-run third inning and never looked back. The Mudcats got a boost from its 7-8-9 hitters — Luke Cantwell, Mike White and Meagher, who combined to reach base in eight of nine plate appearance. Meagher followed a White double with a run-scoring single to tie the game.

“When you’re known for your glove, you’re in the lineup down that way for a reason,” said Meagher, who finished 2-for-3 with a double and two ribbies. “Luke and Mike set the table, both of them were on base all three times, which was big for us.”

Richie Tecco added an RBI knock and player-manager Steve DeBarberie clobbered an RBI triple to center field to make it 4-1. DeBarberie made it to third with a headfirst slide.

DeBarberie had four powerful swings and recorded two RBIs on the day. The former Monsignor Bonner standout — and the Friars’ varsity head coach — still shows he can wield a big bat.

“It feels good to get a hold of one like that. I actually wish I had pulled it so I didn’t have to run around the bases,” DeBarberie said. “It’s my age-30 season, I’m not getting younger.”

Meagher, McKeone and DeBarberie are among the veterans on a Narberth team with a good balance of young and old(er) guys.

“We’ve got a nice mix,” DeBarberie said. “We’ve had our core together the last six, seven years but then you throw Cantwell into the mix and (Joe) Ravert is a young guy who came over from pro ball (Can-Am League). When you play some of the young guys that seems to be a good mix for a championship team every year.”

White was 3-for-3 with a double, triple, two runs scored and an RBI. Cantwell and Tecco each had two singles and a pair of runs scored.

Burman and Christian Bateman had two hits apiece and Luke Lebeau added a single and a walk for Aston Valley. Starting pitcher Dan Hyatt pitched well through two innings, but allowed five runs on nine hits over his final three innings of work. Donovan Davis gave up two runs in two frames of relief.