Narberth 0, Wayne 0 (suspended)

Rain puts damper on Delco Leage championship series game

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


PLYMOUTH TWP. >> In case it wasn’t obvious from the mood beneath darkening skies at Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth Tuesday evening, the number of conferences between managers and umpire in the top of the sixth inning should’ve told the story. 

As Wayne and Narberth meandered into the sixth inning scoreless in Game 2 of their best-of-5 Delco League championships series, Wayne manager Brian Fili used three pitchers to get outs 16, 17, and 18 in the game. Narberth manager Steve DeBarberie, in search of a run, pinch-ran for his three and four hitters — himself included — after a one-out double that positioned him as the potential go-ahead run. 

This particular battle went the way of Wayne, with righty Matt Eiel wriggling out of a jam. But the only victor Tuesday was the weather, with lightning postponing a 0-0 game until Thursday. 

Game 2 will resume with Ed Papardella leading off the bottom of the sixth inning for Wayne and facing a 1-1 count. First pitch at Narberth Playground will be at 5:30. 

Should Game 2 finish in a reasonable timeframe, Game 3 will be afterward. If not, the series schedule will be pushed back a day. Narberth leads the series, 1-0. 

The inning’s cat-and-mouse showed how tight things were in a game that featured eight hits as both managers dipped into their bullpens. The objective, with the way the hurlers were tossing and the spacious dimensions of Villanova’s home park, was to push a run across any which way. 

“Just hoping that we could get a single with one out,” DeBarberie said. “We had two chances at it, two cracks at it to get on the board.” 

DeBarberie split the left-center gap with a double with one out in the sixth. That was the last pitch thrown by Wayne starter James Dougherty, who allowed five hits, struck out three and walked none. 

Fili set up his bullpen to have left-hander Joe Miller ready to face a dangerous lefty in the middle of the Mudcats lineup, either five-hitter T.J. Chism or designated hitter Ryan Tecco in the seventh sport. Miller got ahead with two strikes but then threw a curveball that didn’t curve, except into Chism’s right biceps. 

With two on, Fili went back to the bullpen for Eiel, and DeBarberie sent himself to the bench for the faster Mike Coleman, with Matt DeBarberie running for Chism. 

Eiel got Lee Lipinski to foul out to first, then Tecco bounced out to shortstop to end the threat. 

“It gets Chism and DeBarberie out of the game, especially if this game goes nine innings,” Fili said. “They did the right thing — they put the faster guy on second base. Both teams are really looking for one hit to win the game, that’s what it really came down to. No one got to the pitchers. I tip my cap to both pitchers.” 

Two pitches later, Evan Raiburn, who got the final two outs of the fifth after Reilly Jacobs singled and was sacrificed to second, had his delivery stopped by lightning beyond the outfield wall, triggering the postponement. 

Steve DeBarberie joined the chorus praising the pitchers. Dougherty was matched zero for zero by Dave Lerro, who gave up three singles but walked four in 4.1 innings. 

“Their starter was very good tonight,” DeBarberie said of Dougherty. “He changed speeds on us, he kept us off-balance. We hit some balls hard right at guys, their outfield was playing pretty deep. We didn’t really hit many line drives. We were hitting deep fly balls that they were just tracking down.” 

The defense played a huge part. Raiburn was aided by a stellar pick by Chism at first on a groundout in the fifth. Wayne’s Mike Raimo, a late lineup addition, made a tremendous catch on Joe Ravert falling backward on the track in right field in the first inning. And Narberth’s Mike White bashed one to the warning track in left that Matt Briner hauled in, a shot that would’ve been well over the net and into the front yards on the other side of Windsor Avenue at Narberth. 

That’s one of many changes ushered in by the change of venue, Narberth’s short porch in left and slower infield than the turf surface at Plymouth changing the dynamics. That’ll be important for the one-and-a-half-inning sprint of Game 2, which will pivot the endurance challenge of the series.

“I would like to play here just because we’re used to here and they’re used to Narberth,” Fili said. “Narberth’s a tough place to play, but we’re going to start at 5:30 and hopefully be ready.”