Wayne 1, Narberth 0

Wayne takes Game 2 and leads Game 3

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


NARBERTH >> Two days ago, lightning brought a halt to a Delco League finals game in the bottom of the sixth inning. Thursday, darkness did the trick. And the difference a game makes in the best-of-5 series is substantial, to say the least. 

Wayne got the only run in Thursday’s continuation of Game 2, a 1-0 win to knot the series, and it was five outs from a win in Game 3 over Narberth before fading daylight intervened, quelling a rally the Mudcats hope to restart Friday. 

Game 3 will resume Friday at Narberth Playground with one out, runners on first and third and the leadoff spot due up for Narberth, representing the tying run in an 8-5 game after Joe Lake’s two-run single. The series is tied at 1-1. 

It’s a lot to wrap your head around thanks to the early sunsets in the dog days of summer combined with fields with no lights. 

First, Game 2, which was suspended Tuesday night as storms rolled into Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth. The game was scoreless in the bottom of the sixth, and Wayne (still the home team on the scoreboard) promptly broke the deadlock Thursday. 

Ed Paparella led off the sixth with a single against Joe Ravert, then took second on an outfield bobble. A groundball moved him to third for pinch-hitter Sean Mohollen, who was unavailable to play Tuesday, to rap a single and plate the only run. 

“For me, it’s just trying to swing early, swing often,” Mohollen said. “We knew Joey Ravert was coming in. We knew he throws hard. I saw him in Game 1, and he got me out on a fastball inside. I knew he was going to come back with the same kind of stuff and try to overpower me. We knew in the dugout when we saw him warming up we were going to try to get on him early and often, swinging at fastballs. 

“Eddie Paparella did a great job starting it off, getting on base, and then I just tried to do my best, get a fastball and go up there and hit it as good as I could.” 

That was all Matt Eiel needed. After escaping a jam in the top of the sixth Tuesday, the sidearm righty struck out the side in the seventh to nail down the win and even the series. 

Wayne manager Brian Fili decided to let Eiel ride in Game 3, and he responded by retiring nine of the first 10 batters he faced before walks got the better of him in the fourth. 

“I was kind of itching to get out and pitch the top of the seventh since Tuesday night I was bummed that we got suspended like that,” Eiel said. “I was just trying my best to get the adrenaline back up because it was definitely pumping Tuesday night but having such a long layoff till the next pitch was tough. But having Paparella come up in the bottom of that sixth inning and get that base knock and then Mohollen knocks him in, that gets that adrenaline back, I’m right back in the moment.” 

The Wayne bats were plenty awake, eager to benefit from extra bases offered by an uncharacteristically sloppy Narberth defense. 

Dan Williams scored in the top of the first when Luke Zimmerman’s fly ball to center was dropped. In the third, Wayne tacked on two more, aided by a Matt Briner bloop single that third baseman Joe Lake threw wildly past second trying to get the force, allowing Kevin Mohollen to speed home. Briner would score on a Zimmerman sac fly to make it 3-0. 

“We weren’t awake, we weren’t alive at all in the start of Game 3,” Narberth manager/right fielder Steve DeBarberie said. “We were just playing defensively and hoping they would make mistakes, and not playing aggressively like we normally do. We just have to change that.” 

It got worse for Narberth in the fourth, when Briner smashed a three-run homer to right field, one that DeBarberie dove for with two on and two out but missed, the ball bounding well beyond the trees. 

Narberth, though, wasn’t done. It clawed back with three runs in the bottom half, aided by four walks, three issued by Eiel. TJ Chism dunked in an RBI single as the Mudcats went station-to-station, then free passes to Lee Lipinski and Luke Cantwell forced in runs. But reliever Cameron Mathes induced a 1-2-3 double play off the bat of Mike White to stem the tide at 6-3. 

The schedule oddities have forced both teams to dig deep into their staffs, and it has shown. Narberth used five pitchers Thursday, including Ravert to finish Game 2. Marty McKeone gave up six runs (four earned) in four innings of Game 3. James Santore surrendered a pair of runs in the top of the fifth, Kevin Mohollen supplying a two-run single. 

“It’s tough because you’re just burning guys, it feels like, that you can probably extend them if the game goes on, but they’ll probably be a no-go for tomorrow,” DeBarberie said. “We’ve just got to piece it together. That’s what it comes down to.” 

Narberth kept battling late. Singles by Chism and Lipinski started the sixth, and Lake slapped a two-run single to plate them and move White, who was hit by a pitch, to third. That’s when the umps called the game, leaving the managers to do the same dance over again. 

“We felt like we had the momentum and we started the inning, I don’t think it got much darker from the five minutes we actually played,” DeBarberie said. “So it’s unfortunate, but it’s the way it is. You can’t control that.” 

Once again Friday, the game and series could come down to who can get revved up quickest. Fili and DeBarberie will spend the next day negotiating who can and can’t show up, as is the inherent challenge of the Delco League. Then at 5:30, with margins slightly wider than Thursday’s, it’ll be time to go. 

“Just be ready to rock,” Sean Mohollen said. “We know the situation.”