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Quakertown rallies past Chal-Brit


The Quakertown Blue Jays improved to 2-0 on the season after defeating Chal-Brit 5-3 Monday night.

Quakertown, the 2023 Pennsylvania American Legion Baseball champion, scored the go-ahead run off a Cole Reich walk with the bases loaded to score Caleb Everitt.

Describing the team’s mindset early in the season, skipper Bob Helm said Quakertown was “just trying to stay focused” as it entered its first Bux-Mont American Legion League game.

“We told everyone that everyone’s going to be gunning for us this year, so it’ll probably be a lot of tough games early on and just kind of staying even keel and trust your process of how they can play,” Helm said.

Danny Qualteria, shortstop and leadoff batter, echoed this mindset.

“Our goal was to get on them early. Get their starter out as soon as we could and pile it on from there,” said Qualteria, who went 2-for-3 with a double, scoring a run and recording an RBI on a walk when Chal-Brit changed pitchers, tying the game up 3-3.

Chal-Brit (0-2) was the first to get on the scoreboard, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the third inning. Connor Blowers popped out foul along the third baseline. Alex Shuart, the 9-hole batter, stepped up to the plate and sent a blooper single to center field.

Turning the lineup over, Chal-Brit’s Mike Koldhoff hit a ball into center field, breaking his bat and recording a double. Noah Sampson rocketed a ball past the glove of Qualteria into the outfield, recording an RBI.

“Koldhoff is one of, if not our best hitters,” Chal-Brit head coach Timothy Shanahan said. “He’s played for me four to five years on different teams. This is his first time in Legion.”

“He’s been my leadoff guy for four to five years, that’s what we expect from him, and that’s why he’s there,” added Shanahan about Koldhoff’s performance at the plate (3-for-4).

James Schaefer next hit a deep ball bouncing off the center field fence, scoring Koldhoff and Sampson, but was caught at third, attempting to extend the hit to a triple.

The early lead was critical to Chal-Brit, which lost its 2024 season opener 10-0 against Pennridge.

“We were just trying to come out of (this game) with a positive feeling,” Shanahan said. “We run on energy and vibes on our team and if we can get a lead we’re much better off for it.”

Noting last year’s games against the Blue Jays were less competitive, “5-3 is a loss, but it’s a step in the right direction,” he said.

The Blue Jays echoed the offense of Chal-Brit in the bottom of the third, scoring two runs.

Carver Perrone struck out to start the inning. Zach Oechsle drew a walk. Qualteria roped a deep double to left field, bouncing against the 325 sign. Matt Rickert caught Reich’s line drive to center field for the second out.

Gunnar Rahn hit a long ball to right field, recording a two-run RBI.

The bats were silent for both teams until the bottom of the fourth. Cooper Natisin was hit by a pitch. Everitt singled to right field. Tanner Clancy popped out to right field. During Perrone’s at-bat, Natisin and Everitt executed a double steal and then Perrone was hit by a pitch.

Oechsle struck out, turning the lineup over.

A switch hitcher, Qualteria began the game batting as a lefty and switched over to the right-handed box when Chal-Brit’s Sam Keifer came in to relieve Chase Alexander in the bottom of the fourth.

“I bat from both sides, I’m comfortable on both sides. Right when I switched, I was looking for a ball to hit, but I got walked,” said Qualteria, adding he purposefully switched when Keifer came in.

The Blue Jays relied upon Reich, right fielder and second batter, to help them offensively.

Reich worked two walks, including the one to give the Blue Jays the lead.

“I really like to let my baserunners, like Danny, steal bases, so I can see pitches and work counts,” said Reich.

When the Blue Jays were down early in the game, “I just told them to just make sure to get a run here, a run there, just to kind of stabalize things, and we got two and two,” Helm said.

Quakertown scored its fifth run when Perrone stole home from third during Reich’s at-bat in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Clancy, who came in relief for Quakertown, pitched four innings, recording zero runs, one hit and eight strikeouts to earn the win.

On Thursday, Quakertown travels to Plumstead and Chal-Brit, in pursuit of its first victory, hosts Nor-Gwyn.

“We don’t want to wait around too long,” Shanahan said postgame. “I’m hoping we can get our win pretty soon.”

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