Concord 13, Narberth 2

With clear conscience, Concord ties Delco League series

from the daily Times POSTED:  

If the Concord Canes were troubled about being on the verge of elimination from the Delco League playoffs, it didn’t show Wednesday night. 

Truth be told, the Canes played like the team one win away from a berth in the league championship, not one needing a win to keep their season alive.

But that’s the nature of this Concord team, which rolled over defending champion Narberth, 13-2 at Garnet Valley High School, to even the best-of-5 semifinal series at two games apiece and force Game 5 Friday evening (5:45) at Narberth Park.

What’s Concord’s cool secret?

“None of them have a conscience,” coach Bud Pruitt said. “They show up and they play ball. That’s all it is, really. They show up, play and have fun. If they lose, oh well, we’ll win the next one.”

That devil-may-care approach has served the Canes well in a series that has gone back-and-forth the way this one has. Narberth won the first game, 8-6, only to see the Canes roar back with a 14-4 romp in Game 2. The Mudcats rode the pitching of Marty McKeone to an 8-1 victory in Game 3, only to have Kyle Davis return the favor in Game 4.

Davis pitched six strong innings Wednesday before giving way to Brian Gross. Davis scattered seven hits, did not walk a batter and fanned five. An 11-hit attack, which sparked a four-run outburst in the second inning followed by a five-run uprising in the third, took a lot of the pressure off the right hander.

“Yeah, it’s easy throwing with the big lead,” Davis said. “It lets you be more aggressive with the hitters. You can get the fastball over on the first pitch. When the guys are swinging like that it makes it easy.”

The early lead helped, but Davis had it going from the start. He set the Mudcats down in order in the first inning and retired six of the first seven hitters before his teammates got the offense in gear.

“I was getting the fastball over early and that let me go out and attack guys,” Davis said. “Having that big lead allowed me to stay aggressive.”

Every player in the lineup had either one hit, a run scored or an RBI. Shortstop Nate Sides wielded the biggest bat. He was 2-for-4 with four RBIs and three runs scored. Left fielder Ben Faso was 3-for-4 with two RBIs and one run scored. Third baseman John Convery scored twice and knock in a run. Davis contributed two hits. Cole Gamber (two hits), Andrew Belfiglio and Brian Kirk, the final three hitters in the lineup, were a combined 4-for-10 with six runs scored and one RBI.

It was that kind of night, where the hits kept coming. Concord had at least one hit in each inning and you could see the team’s confidence grow with each at-bat.

“We’re just trying to get out in front early because we know that if we get out front early we can really pile it on once we get going,” Faso said. “Once we get going our problems seem to disappear. And once we get going I think we can beat anyone.”

The reverse appeared to be true for Narberth. Every hit by Concord, every run the Canes scored took a little out of the Mudcats.

“This was just like Game 2,” Narberth manager Steve DeBarberie said. “It feels like when we’re down, we’re not competing at all and that’s the most disappointing part of it. When we don’t pitch well, we don’t hit and we don’t make the plays in the field. We drop balls. But when we’re pitching well, we’re hitting well and we’re making plays. We’re a completely different ball club. “

Concord took advantage of four walks to break the game open in the second inning. Convery drew a bases-loaded walk to get the Canes on the board. Sides followed with a fielder’s choice to chase home another run. Faso singled home the third run and Sean Heidig walked to make it 4-zip.

The Canes were not done. Concord capitalized on four Narberth errors to put up a five-spot in the third inning. The Canes would tack on two more in the fourth inning and two in the sixth.

“We came back big time today with the bats,” Davis said. “Hopefully, we can carry that into Friday.”