The host Doylestown Tigers, Post 210, gave southpaw Alex Gatto a gift on Saturday afternoon against the Pottstown Steelers.
Gatto stewarded that gift exceptionally well. Staked to a 9-1 lead after one inning, Gatto tossed a complete game. He scattered just three hits after the first inning while striking out four Steelers on a day where the numbers on the heat index resembled a Major League radar gun.
“I love to go outside and stay away, especially as a lefty who doesn’t pitch as fast. Get them to roll over a lot or miss it,” described Gatto after the Tigers topped Pottstown 10-1.
The win clinched a Bux-Mont Legion playoff spot for Doylestown. Two Bux-Mont teams’ seasons have ended due to excessive forfeits while the Tigers’ win eliminated Pottstown.
The Steelers sent 28 men to the plate; Gatto walked or hit none of them.
“That’s usually how I pitch, is to pitch to contact. I don’t have the speed to blow it by guys. I like to let them hit it and I know the guys behind me will make the plays,” Gatto added. He equitably induced nine flyouts and eight groundouts.
Gatto might have been nearly flawless, but Pottstown mistakes helped to seal its fate early. The first six Tigers reached base but just one, leadoff shortstop Rhys Nicholas, did so on a hit. Second baseman Connor Bates became the seventh straight Tiger to reach when he smacked an RBI double to give Doylestown a 6-0 lead.
Bates scored on Nicholas Carbonara’s single. Carbonara scored when Nicholas did a fair impression of another Rhys – Hoskins – and clubbed a rare triple to left. Sam Tierney’s ground out plated Nicholas and made the score 9-1.
“Coach has been preaching to take the ball where it’s pitched,” Nicholas stated. “I stuck with that mindset and hit what the pitcher gave me.”
Nicholas opened the game by driving a single to right after receiving a steady diet of away pitches.
Doylestown did not relent despite the heat. “We’re here for each other,” said right fielder Danny Loving, who singled and hustled from first to third on a nondescript wild pitch in the first. “Guys who are hurt are still showing up for each other. We appreciate that. We want to work hard for them and the coaches. It’s the camaraderie that keeps us going.”
Left fielder Dylan Steinfeldt was the only Tiger to not reach base in the first. He announced his presence with a second inning RBI single.
Nicholas had three hits and an intentional walk. Jack Roland came off the bench to hit a double and single. Steinfeldt singled twice.
The Tigers had an ugly start to their summer, with several mercy rule losses. But between their June 23 7-6 win over Perkiomen through Tuesday’s win over first-place Quakertown, the Tigers went 5-6 and had scored as almost many runs (55) as they had let up (56.)
“I think we stuck with it and kept practicing what we have all offseason,” Nicholas said. “Bats started to finally come together.”
“In the beginning of the season, we were hitting a lot of hard balls right at people,” Loving added. “Things weren’t going our way. It started to turn for the better. We found some gaps. Plays that were tough plays to make went through. We stuck to it, like Rhys said, and it changed the course of the season.”
The Tigers were 5-12 at press time yet showed enough resiliency to clinch a postseason spot.
“It’s hot but the guys behind me,” kept Gatto focused. “We have other games coming up,” the lefty concluded. “We had to get the job done today.”