Wolverines Claw Back to Overtake Bandits in Playoff Opener
The Wayne Wolverines overcame a sluggish start to manufacture a 4-3 comeback win over the Roxborough Bandits in the first round of the Main Line Junior Legion League playoffs at Odorisio Park.
Matt Cohen pitched a complete game for the Wolverines, giving up seven hits and three unearned runs, while striking out three and walking one to earn the victory.
The Wolverines mustered only four hits, three of which were infield hits, but took advantage of three Roxborough errors and seven walks to scrape together single runs in the fourth and fifth innings and two more to take the lead in the bottom of the sixth. Bobby Hydrisko went 1-2 with the sole outfield hit for Wayne, Cohen went 2-3 with a run scored, and Jack Demmy had a walk and the game winning RBI on a sacrifice fly to left field in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Roxborough came out swinging, stroking two hits in the first inning yet somehow going out with only three batters. After a leadoff single dumped into left center field, the Bandits tried the hit and run. The batter hit the ball right up the middle where Jack Lee was positioned by second base for the would be base runner, and easily converted the 4-3 double play. The third lofted a shallow fly ball in between the middle infielders and the center fielder for a single, but the batter thought he saw second base unoccupied so he tried to take second. Center fielder Luke Kania threw a strike to Cohen, the pitcher, who alertly went to cover second for an easy tag out of the batter for the final out of the inning.
The Wayne bats were quiet as the Wolverines went hitless in the first two innings. Roxborough again came up empty-handed in the second inning as Cohen stranded runners on first and second.
The Bandits took the lead in the top of the third inning with the help of three Wolverine errors in the space of two at-bats. Roxborough started the inning with two straight singles. The next batter launch a fly ball to left center field. An error on the attempted catch and then an overthrow out of play on the relay throw cleared the bases and gave the Bandits a 3-0 lead. Another error on a ground ball put another Bandit on second base. After a ground out moved the runner to third with one out, Cohen and Bonini engineered a pick off of the runner on third to end that threat.
That would be all Roxborough would get against Cohen. who retired 13 of the last 15 batters and also induced another double play.
Meanwhile, the Wolverines slowly but surely got their offense together. Hydrisko got the Wolverines' first hit in the bottom of the third. Walks to Demmy and Sean Mullarkey loaded the bases with two outs, but Wayne could not push a run across.
They had better success in the bottom of the fourth inning. Lee legged out a grounder to the short stop for an infield hit. He then stole second base. Patrick Lofton followed with a walk. After a 5-3 double play put Lofton on second with two outs, Cohen followed with an hit deep in the hole at shortstop, but the Roxborough shortstop did a nice job keeping the ball in the infield, putting runners on the corners. After Cohen took second on the first pitch to the next batter, Lofton scored and Cohen moved to third on a third strike/ wild pitch to cut the lead to 3-1.
Wayne went right back at it in the bottom of the fifth inning. With one out, Kania walked and moved to second on a wild pitch. Mullarkey, who made two nice plays at shortstop in the top of the inning, sent a grounder to his Roxborough compatriot, but the shortstop let it go through him, bringing in Kania and cutting the lead to 3-2.
After Cohen once again kept the Bandits' batters quiet, the Wolverines continued to fight for the lead. With one out, Keiran Ryan drew a walk. Cohen then hit a grounder to the right side of the infield that the first baseman tracked down, but was unable to get it over to first in time to get the speedy Cohen. Brendan Surbeck came in to pinch run for Ryan. Nick Scheri then fought back from a 1-2 count to draw a seven pitch walk to load the bases. Nick Camposano came in as a pinch hitter and worked a six pitch walk to bring home Surbeck and tie the game at 3. Demmy then lofted a fly ball to left field for a sacrifice fly that plated Cohen with the go-ahead run.
The Wolverines now needed only three outs to earn a first round victory. After a leadoff single into left field, Cohen induced a 5-4-3 double play, with Joe Bonini tossing to Lee who completed the twin killing with a relay to Scheri at first. Cohen ended the game with a strikeout, and the Wolverines move forward in the playoffs.