Delco League Semifinals

Day off gives semifinalists chance to rest, regroup

By Matt Smith

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Following an off day, the semifinal round of the Delco League playoffs is scheduled to resume Friday.

That is, if the weather cooperates. The forecast is calling for heavy thunderstorms in the area during the early evening hours.

No. 1 Wayne and No. 4 Narberth at the very least hope to conplete Game 3 of their best-of- 5 series. Wayne held a 6-2 lead in the top of the sixth inning over the host Mudcats Wednesday before play was suspended due to darkness. The series is even at a game apiece.

Wayne starter Cam Mathes pitched five solid innings with five strikeouts. He allowed one earned run. Luke Mutz is 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI singles and Jake Siani has scored two runs.

Narberth was on its fourth pitcher in Colin Simmons when play was halted. Starter Jimmy Wigo allowed four hits, three of which didn’t leave the infield, and a run with four strikeouts across 3.2 innings for the Mudcats. Tyler “Bugs” Kehoe and Joe Ravert also pitched in relief.

If 17-time champion Wayne can get six more outs, it will be one win away from another finals appearance. Game 4 will start immediately following the conclusion of Game 3.

Wayne and Narberth have had some memorable playoff affairs over the years. Their heated rivalry brings out the best of both franchises.

“I absolutely love it,” Mutz said. “They have a lot of young guys, college guys out there and so do we. I love hearing them talk, chirp a little bit. It’s fun to play them. You get excited. That’s the kind of baseball I like playing. There’s a lot of energy in this game.”

On the other side of the playoff bracket, No. 2 Upper Darby will head to Church Road Park with a 2-1 series lead over No. 3 Springfield. The Blue Sox cruised past the Colonials in Game 3 behind another sterling pitching performance by the ageless Johnny Gonzalez, who threw a complete game three-hitter to lead the defending champions to an 8-1 victory. Game 4 of the best-of-5 series is scheduled to start at 5:45.

Gonzalez, the reigning finals MVP, threw just 77 pitches, 57 for strikes. He struck out three, walked one and retired 12 of the last 13 hitters he faced.

Vince Gasbarro and Josh Hankins drove in two runs each to pace the offense. Hankins went 3-for-5 with a run scored.

Adam Fine was 2-for-2 with two runs scored and Max Anastasio went 3-for-4 and scored twice. Upper Darby broke the game open with four runs in the top of the fourth inning.

The winners of both series will meet in the best-of-5 finals next week.