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2020 Pennridge grads make most of opportunities to play together

Pennridge’s baseball team literally had some recent late-season heroics that helped bring some closure to a likely promising season.
In the unorthodox surroundings of high school sports this year due to COVID-19, Pennridge provided a glimpse of its untapped potential in two August tournaments.
Team members representing the Perkasie entry in the Bux-Mont Baseball Classic had a successful run to the semifinals, and they followed it up with a quarterfinal finish in the St. Luke’s Lehigh Valley Tournament. For the veteran senior group that was expected to improve on a five-win campaign last year, it proved to be a final satisfying shot. Six of the nine graduating seniors were projected returning starters.
In the Bux-Mont tournament, they had a 2-1 record in group play. At Lehigh Valley, they posted an overall 2-2 mark.
“When we were told that we had an opportunity to play in these tournaments, not a single one of the seniors said no,” said 2020 graduate Sean Clayton, who will continue his career at Bucks County Community College next spring. “Every single one of us wanted to see how it worked. We thought we did really well in the games that we played. It meant the world to be able to play.
“Even in the Bux-Mont tournament, it was just a lot of fun to play with my teammates. I didn’t think I would because I was at the shore. When the game was postponed and rescheduled, I was given permission to play, and it worked out.”
The Rams’ final game was a 4-3 loss to Notre Dame (Easton) in which they scored three runs in the first inning, and they were one win away from playing in the semifinals at Coca-Cola Park, the home of the Phillies’ Triple-A affiliate IronPigs. Joey Calabretti provided all the runs for the Rams on a bases-clearing double.
First-year head coach Craig Whitten was appreciative of the opportunity and believed he had a gauge of their expected season.
“I told the team that any game we had in the year 2020 was just gravy,” said Whitten. “We got into the Bux-Mont Classic, which was great, and it was even better to get into the Lehigh Valley tournament. It was more games than some of the teams in our league got. We’re just happy to get it all together.
“These (seniors) are just amazing, and it was an incredible experience. I coached these guys before when they were freshmen. I wish I could have had a varsity year with them and seen what we could have done in the spring season. But we saw how we can bounce back from a loss or how we can learn from a win in these tournaments. I was actually able to get that with seven games.”