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Quakertown falls in regionals

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Quakertown’s stay in the recent Pennsylvania Legion Region 2 tournament was a short one.

In the double-elimination tournament at Boyertown, the Blue Jays suffered a tight 2-1 loss to South Parkland in their opening game, and then saw an early lead vanish in a 6-3 defeat to Boyertown in their second.

Yet, the Blue Jays walked away with a newfound sense of respect among themselves and their peers, as they made their first appearance in the regional round since 1995. Quakertown finished with an overall 21-8-2 record and 14 players will return next year.

“Our players played with a lot of heart and showed a ton of passion fighting until the end,” said Quakertown acting manager Shane Helm.

“It didn’t end the way we wanted it to, but our players should be proud of earning their way to regionals.

“This experience should only help our team next year with the experience we gained.”

Mason Hicks, a recent graduate who will be moving on from the team, believed his team changed their overall perception. Hicks hit .284 with two homers, 18 RBIs and 19 runs scored before the regional tournament. He drove in the lone run against South Parkland with a homer and threw two innings of relief in the same game.

“I think Quakertown was a very underrated team coming into this year,” he said. “We changed a lot of people’s and teams’ minds. We were not a team that should have been taken lightly.

“We proved to a lot of people that we were serious competitors.”

Hicks also thought his team could have provided more offense against South Parkland and Boyertown. The Blue Jays combined for eight hits in two games.

“South Parkland had two pitchers that were decent, but they weren’t overpowering,” added Hicks. “We should have been able to do more damage in both games.”

Matt Ciarrocchi, who allowed three hits and one run with six strikeouts against South Parkland, thought he and his team would adapt to the challenge. He had an overall 7-0 record with a 0.87 ERA.

“Going into the tournament, I thought we were going to be facing some tough teams,” said Ciarrocchi, who also will be leaving the program. “I felt like I was pretty on and had good stuff to back it up. I was living in the bottom of the strike zone for the majority of the game. I left a few balls up and they were able to put some good swings on them.”

“I felt we were ready for the tournament. We had a good season and strong chemistry all season.”

Adam Ritter, who also played his last game for Quakertown, hopes his teammates cherished the season. Ritter hit .424 with 13 RBIs and 18 runs scored before regionals.

“Coming off the heartbreaking playoff defeat (in high school baseball), everyone was eager to jump into Legion with a chip on our shoulder and we played great baseball for the season,” said Ritter. “We struggled toward the end of the regular season, but we had high expectations for the postseason. We made it to regionals and it was one of the best feelings because we had another chance.

“Playing in the regional tournament was a great experience and losing in it was disappointing. But playing for the Blue Jays with the coaching staff and players was worth it in itself.”


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