Concord 3, Upper Darby 0

Concord’s first playoff date well worth the wait

From the Daily Times posted 7/30/2019

By Harry Chaykun

For MediaNews Group

The Concord Canes went eight days without playing a game as they waited for the Delco Baseball League’s first-round playoff series to conclude.

They had to wait only until their second batter came to the plate to score their first postseason run against the Upper Darby Blue Sox at Garnet Valley High Monday night.

Matt Maul opened the bottom of the first inning with a single, took second on a wild pitch, and raced home easily as Ben Faso belted a double to center field.

As it turned out, the second- seeded Canes wouldn’t need any more runs. The two they scored in the third inning just made things easier as they rode the pitching of Brad Scull, who struck out 11 in six innings, and Frank Saviski, who had one strikeout in one perfect inning of relief, to a 3-0 victory over Upper Darby in the opening game of a best-of-5 semifinal series.

Nate Sides, who played shortstop in Monday’s game, will make the start for the Canes in Game Two, which begins at 5:45 at Garnet Valley tonight. Ben Thorpe gets the call for third-seeded Upper Darby.

“I have a lot of respect for the Upper Darby pitching staff,” Faso, who played at Garnet Valley and La Salle University, said. “It was good to get Brad that run early. You could see that he was on, and being ahead makes you more confident.”

Scull, who has pitched for Chester and Aston Valley in the Delco League, is in his first season with Concord.

“I’ve spent some time this year still trying to get into pro ball,” said Scull, a product of Monsignor Bonner and Wilmington University. “So I missed some of the games here. I know I have to be able to throw harder, so I’ve done a lot of work on that.

“This lineup has good gloves as every position. They make plays for me.”

After giving up singles to Tom Donahue and Ben Mutz to start the first inning, Scull retired Joe Suppa on a sacrifice bunt then struck out Vince Gasbarro and Christian Strickland.

Upper Darby starter Mutz gave up hits to Maul, Faso and Sides in the bottom of the first before getting out of trouble with a pop-up and a pair of strikeouts.

Scull got three more strikeouts in the second inning and came up with two more additions to his K-streak in both the third and fourth innings. The only batter he walked came in the fifth inning, and he hit a batter after a Strickland single in the sixth before retiring the next three batters on nine pitches.

“I just have to make sure I’m throwing strikes,” Scull said.

The Canes scored twice in the third when Sides drew a one-out walk, Chris Salvey was hit by a pitch, Saviski delivered a run-scoring single, and Joe Poduslenko hit a sacrifice fly. “I got a 2-0 fastball I could hit,” Saviski said. “Ben (Faso) had been in my ear telling me what was going to happen.”

Concord returned as a Delco League franchise after being unable to field a team last summer. 

“There were some things going on and we couldn’t make the commitment to having a team,” player/ manager Saviski said. “I met with our general manager, Joe Convery, during the winter and said I’d manage the team and oversee everything that was going on in the dugout.

“We had some guys coming back, and we added players like Brad (Scull), Matt Maul, Chris Salvey, and Joe Poduslenko, which really helped us. It’s good to get the playoffs started by getting this win.”

Maul, who had two singles and a walk, was the only Concord batter with more than one hit. Seven batters had one hit apiece for Upper Darby, which got two scoreless innings and a pair of strikeouts in relief from the ageless John Gonzalez.