Central Bucks South senior starter Brock Veit wanted to stay even keeled.
“You try to keep it business as usual but when you get all of those runs on the board, you get more confident,” said the southpaw.
South’s six-run third inning at CB East blew last Thursday’s game open, and Veit returned to the bump with a 9-0 lead. He fanned five and allowed only one earned run in five innings in the Titans’ 9-4 win.
“My offspeed was a big part,” Veit offered. “My slider hitting the outside corner was huge. I got a few good change-ups in there and I like to throw offspeed.”
Thursday marked South’s fourth straight win. The Titans allowed only 14 runs in the four victories.
“The pitching has been really good,” noted Titan outfielder Jake McKeown. “They are throwing strikes and keeping us in games. Our hitting approaches have been good one through nine. We’ve had some injuries but guys are stepping up, which is nice to see.”
“Two of our best guys are out but it’s next man up and people are doing that,” left fielder Mike Marino added. South misses Delaware-signee Joey Loynd and senior Bryan Rossi, but the Titans have responded.
“When you come together like we have, everybody is picking each other up. This team is very close on and off the field,” skipper Brian Klumpp noted.
East freshman starter Aidan Weaver threw a perfect first inning; South struck for three runs in the second. Marino’s two-run double broke the shutout.
“He started with a curve and then threw four fastballs in a row,” Marino said. “I stayed back and just tried to put the ball in play. With a man on second and third, I tried to get those runs in.”
Marino scored from second on a misplayed single … a hustle play giving South a 3-0 lead.
McKeown, the first of 11 Titan batters to come to the plate, bookended the third. He led off with a single, stole second and scored on Jake Trachtenberg’s knock. McKeown‘s two-run single later in the frame made it 9-0 South. Catcher Dylan Gruber also knocked in two Titans.
“We sat fastballs,” McKeown observed. “We put the ball in play and good things happened.”
Titan centerfielder Jake Steinberg made a beautiful running grab to end East’s fourth and save two runs. Veit also got great defense from …Veit.
The pitcher snared a liner and started a 1-3 double play to preserve a scoreless third.
“I stuck my glove out there and hoped for the best,” Veit grinned.
“Brock did a great job keeping them off balance,” added Klumpp. “His curveball and change-up were good. He located his fastballs and did a good job working ahead of the count. Defensively, we made some good plays behind and we made the routine plays.
“Between Brock, Owen (Petrich) and (Ryan) Rieber on the mound, we’ve been throwing guys out there who are competing and going after it,” Klumpp concluded.
Crooked number innings are a rarity for East pitching. Last Thursday’s winner would have had a four game win streak. The Patriots surrendered just six runs in their three prior games. Starters Jack Hamilton, Ethan Weiss and Nick Bitsko combined to yield only 12 base runners in 20 innings. Bitsko fanned 13 in six one-hit innings against CB West.
“Our pitchers have been doing their jobs,” said East manager Kyle Dennis. “We had 50 strikeouts and eight walks in our last six games. When you throw strikes and guys make plays behind you, you will be in ball games.”
The young East team will improve.
“Aidan is a freshman and he’ll get experience,” Dennis predicted. “He has been tremendous for us and he will have a ton more opportunities.
And we didn’t make plays behind him. We know what we have to do to be effective.
“We only have a couple of seniors that are out there every day in the lineup,” Dennis added. “There is a bit of a learning curve but we’re figuring it out.”
The Titans were 8-4 (6-3 Continental) after Tuesday’s 3-0 loss to first-place Souderton. East entered press time 7-8 (3-6) after being shut out 4-0 at North Penn Tuesday.