No. 17 Central Bucks South (17-7) looked like one of the top two teams in the district last Friday.
The Titans put the ball in play, played errorless defense and allowed just seven baserunners against No. 7 Neshaminy (16-6) in the Class 6A District One title game at Plymouth Meeting. The well-pitched and defended game finished in just 90 minutes.
But the Redskins came up with one more big hit: Cory Joyce’s fifth-inning RBI single, which gave Neshaminy a 2-1 lead that would ultimately be the final score.
“It was a good baseball game. We hit the ball hard all day long,” assessed CB South manager Brian Klumpp. “They made plays and then they got a key hit that we were unable to get with runners in scoring position. Hats off to Neshaminy. They played a really good game.”
“We played a good baseball team today but we played a great game,” echoed South shortstop Joey Loynd. “It just didn’t go our way today.”
Neshaminy never trailed. Gus Natelli’s double plated Tyler Jones to put the Redskins up 1-0 in the second. South second baseman Bryan Rossi prevented a second run by charging Tommy Pease’s grounder and nipping him at first for the third out.
“When Ryan (Rieber) throws it outside to righties, I expect the ball the whole game. Every batter, no matter where they are in the lineup. I had to stay down on the turf and make my plays,” noted Rossi, who had five assists in the first four innings.
South had three hits in the first two innings but tied the game in the top of the third on walks. Pitcher Rieber and right fielder Jake McKeown worked free passes. Delaware-commit Loynd singled to the opposite field on a 3-2, two-out pitch to score Rieber.
“That whole at-bat, I was seeing nothing but curveballs. At 3-2, I saw another ball curving away. I tried to do a job and poke it out there,” Loynd described. “We scored the run.”
Redskin pitchers recorded only two strikeouts as South put the ball in play all game. Neshaminy closer Jake Fehrle retired all five Titans he faced for the save.
The game matched up excellent Neshaminy pitching against a potent Titan offense. Neshaminy let up exactly one run in all four of its district wins.
CB South entered Friday victorious in four straight district games, averaging nearly a run per inning in those wins. Owen Petrich, Jake Trachtenberg, Loynd and Rieber all had multi-RBI games in district play.
“We’re a bunch of seniors who have played together our whole lives,” Loynd said. “Once we got our healthy roster back on the field, we had so much confidence.”
Rieber, whose complete game beat Bensalem in the district quarterfinal win that punched South’s ticket to states, threw only 64 pitches in 4.1 efficient innings. It gave Klumpp a full roster of pitching options for PIAA playoffs.
“We definitely have some arms left. That’s for sure,” Klumpp stated.
“Now, you put this behind you and look forward to Monday. That’s really all you can do. We have four games to win states. That’s what you have to focus on now.”
“I think we still have a lot of momentum and a lot of positives,” Rossi said on Friday. “We were a 17 seed who chipped away and got this far.
We’re not done yet.”
Rossi was prophetic. South defeated District 11’s surprise 2 seed, Emmaus, 4-3 on Monday at Boyertown in the first round of PIAA play.
Connor McKeown’s two-out single scored two in the sixth. He thwacked a walk-off double in the eighth.
The Titans take on Wilson-West Lawn in Thursday’s state quarterfinals.