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Blazers trump Kings in Saturday twin bill

The Quaketown Blazers swept their Saturday doubleheader against the South Jersey Kings, walking off Game 1 in the ninth inning 3-2 and winning Game 2 5-1.
Julia Henry

The Quaketown Blazers swept their Saturday doubleheader against the South Jersey Kings, walking off Game 1 in the ninth inning 3-2 and winning Game 2 5-1.

The Blazers found themselves down early in both games, but were able to close the scoring deficit and win.

Game 1 ended on a Jackson Shollenberger shallow line drive to left field sacrifice fly that walked the game off, extinguishing his ghosts of striking out three times with the bases loaded and two outs in last Thursday night’s game.

Braeden Black led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a triple, setting up a perfect walk-off opportunity for Shollenberger, the next batter.

Doubleheaders are capped at two extra innings, so the Blazers entered the bottom of the ninth, after ending the eighth stranding the bases loaded, with a must-win mindset.

“Come on guys, let’s get an extra-base hit here, and let’s walk this thing off. Their mindset was to win and you could see by (Black’s) hustle, that he wanted that triple,” Blazers manager Mike Fitzgerald said.

The Blazers pitching staff worked together, as the starters of both games, brothers Jackson and Cole Snyder, went five innings.

Jackson finished the day giving up seven hits, two runs (both earned), zero walks and four strikeouts. Cole finished his day giving up three hits, one run (earned), three walks and four strikeouts.

“They just pound the zone and make it easy on the bullpen,” said Fitzgerald on the success of the Snyder brothers.

In Game 1, Kannon Zdimal pitched four innings in relief and in Game 2, Chris Parrillo and Malachi Duka had their best outing of the season.

“We scored our first run without a hit, and when you’re struggling that’s what you have to do. You have to be able to manufacture runs until the hits start coming, and when the hits started coming, everything started rolling,” said Fitzgerald on the Blazers’ doubleheader performance.

Mason Woolwine, center fielder in both games, scored three of the Blazers’ eight runs in the doubleheader.

Five Blazers were hit by a pitch on Saturday. Dylan Broderick and Woolwine were both hit once in each game.

“You just try to look for a pitch to hit, if you get hit, you take it and get on first base. We were just trying to find ways to get on base. Today, we played some team baseball and got some runners on,” said Woolwine about his offensive approach.

Broderick showed off his athleticism on Saturday playing the corners, third base in Game 1 and first base in Game 2.

“Wherever Coach (Fitzgerald) needs me to play, I go there and do the best I can,” Broderick said.

Game 2 started in a familiar fashion as the Blazers found themselves down 1-0 entering the bottom of the second, but that was the first and only deficit they would face.

To lead off the bottom of the second, Woolwine was hit by a pitch. Drew Simpson popped out to center field and Shollenberger hit a single.

Woolwine advanced to second on a wild disengagement throw over to first during Simpson’s at-bat. He tagged from second and advanced to third during Simpson’s sac-fly.

Shollenberger hit a ball ripping up the middle infield to score Woolwine.

Shollenberger scored on a double steal three batters later during Ty Everitt’s at-bat.

The Blazers never looked back, adding two runs in the bottom of the fifth and another in the bottom of the sixth.

Game 2 marked the first time the Blazers didn’t have to play the bottom of the last inning at home.

The Blazers faced the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Miners Tuesday night on the road in a game that ended after the Herald went to print and host them Wednesday night before the All-Star break.

The East Coast Collegiate Baseball League (ECCBL) All-Star Game will be played at Memorial Park, the Blazers’ home stadium, on Saturday July 6, with first pitch at 6 p.m.

The Blazers (8-11) find themselves sitting a half game behind the Pocono Timber-Rattlers (9-11) in the standings.The top three teams in each division make the playoffs and the Blazers currently sit in the fourth spot, just outside the playoff race.

Last Wednesday, the Blazers were leading Pocono 5-0 when the game was suspended in the bottom of the fifth with one out. The game will be completed at a later date.

“It meant a lot, and obviously for the playoff race puts us in the hunt now,” Fitzgerald said about Saturday’s victories. “If we win, we can control our own destiny, get in the playoffs just by playing good baseball.”

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