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Burlington Mets second in York Tournament
Posted: Monday, September 7, 2015 7:29 pm
It's a safe bet that the members of the Burlington Mets team slept well Monday night. They had an amazing run at the Tom Kerrigan York Colonial Tournament, winning five straight in the losers' bracket before falling to the Susquehanna Assault 2-1 in a nine-inning final Monday. And it's an ever safer bet that pitcher Dave Gibson enjoyed the deepest sleep of them all. Gibson, a 27-year-old lefty who lives in Philadelphia and pitches during the Rancocas Valley League season for Vincentown, was a late roster addition for the tournament. All he did Monday was pitch 18 innings, over three games, including a route-going effort in the title-game loss.
"Dave Gibson threw 18 (freaking) innings," Mets coach Ric Babula said. "He took the ball in the (8 a.m.) game, and, what was it, six hours later he was still on the mound. And he never left it, unless we were batting. And he was still throwing good at the end. It was one of the most phenomenal performances I've ever seen. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen anything like it.
"I mean, Shaun (Babula) pitched two straight games on Sunday, and that was great. But Gibby went 18 innings. Eighteeen! We wondered about taking him out, but he kept saying, 'I'm good. I'm good.' And he was good. He must've thrown 225, 250 pitches."
Gibson, who threw 159 pitches in the RVL championship game when Cinnaminson edged Vincentown, went 18 innings, allowed 7 hits, 4 runs, walked 2 (one intentional) and struck out 24. All in a day's work.
"What a great kid," Babula said. "This weekend was the first time I got to meet him and talk with him. He's impressive. A good dude. And he fit in really well with all our knuckleheads. "It was like watching the old-school pitchers. You start, you finish."
The Mets took a 1-0 lead on Sean Gusrang's fourth-inning home run -- his third of the tournament. Gibson took a two-hit shutout into the bottom of the ninth, but the Assault showed why they've won this tourney four straight times. They combined a hit batter, two singles and both of Gibson's walks to pull it out.
Earlier in the day, the Mets scored three times in the sixth to edge the Mount Wolf Wolves 3-2. Shaun Babula led off with a single and with two outs scored when Jason Kelmer reached on an error. Rich Stronski singled, then Marshall Harden and Adrian Gonzalez had RBI singles. Babula and Pedro Perez had two hits each.
And in the 8 a.m. opener, the Mets rallied for a 7-6 win over Glen Rock in eight innings. Stronski had three hits, Gonzalez drove in three runs and Casey Donahue had two hits and two RBIs, including the game-winner in the bottom of the eighth.
Burlington, composed of RVL players plus some solid guys from the Cherry Hill team in the Tri-County League, was led offensively by Marshall Harden, Shaun Babula, Gusrang, Kelmer, Stronski and Gonzalez, who all hit around .400. Perez and Gusrang turned three double plays in one game.
York County teams fail in bid to win Kerrigan championship
By RYAN VANDERSLOOT
POSTED: 09/07/2015 07:47:44 PM EDT
MOUNT WOLF – Every team that entered this year's Tom Kerrigan Memorial Tournament had dreams of playing on the event's final day. Doing so would mean that those teams outlasted at least 12 other squads that competed in the 16-team field.
But there's a difference between simply playing on Labor Day and walking away as the tournament champions. Just ask Central League and York County champion Glen Rock and Central League runner-up Mount Wolf. Both clubs were in contention heading into the holiday. Neither side, however, could muster a way to get pest a pesky Burlington outfit, which ended both teams' seasons on Monday.
The New Jersey squad eliminated "The Rock," a club looking to finish the local baseball grand slam by winning league regular-season and playoff titles, along with the York County and Kerrigan crowns, by a 7-6 margin on an RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning. Hours later, Burlington did it again, knocking off the Wolves 3-2 to advance to the tournament's final against the Susquehanna Assault.
The Mets, who also knocked off Susquehanna League playoff champion Conrads in the first round on Saturday, were unable to keep up their hot play against the three-time defending champions. Holding a 1-0 lead into the eighth, the Assault came up with two runs in its final at-bat to claim its fourth consecutive Kerrigan crown, 2-1.
Conrads: The boys from New Bridgeville spent much of the Susquehanna League season lagging behind eventual champion Jacobus, East Prospect and Hallam. But Chad Kennell's gang hit its stride in July and rode that all the way to the playoff championship finals, where it downed East Prospect.
"We ran up against Burlington and boy do they hit," Kennell said. "They're still here (in the final) so that tells you what they're made of. That's the way it goes."Their streak of hot play, however, didn't immediately translate in the Kerrigan Tournament. Burlington pounded Kennell's club, 10-3, sending it into the losers' bracket.
A 10-0 victory over an over-matched Centre County squad extended Conrads' season another game, but the run came to an end Sunday after an 8-2 setback vs. Lehigh Valley.
"Centre County was pretty tired, they were done," Kennell said. "But then we ran into a team — Lehigh Valley — that hit the ball."
One issue that plagued teams from the Susquehanna League was participation from players on the league's non-qualifying clubs. Players from East Prospect apparently did not make themselves eligible, while Hallam opted to take its own team into the tournament. Thus, two of the best teams that Kennell's club could have selected players from were off the table.
"We didn't (pick up) too many guys," Kennell said. "A lot of other guys didn't want to play, so we weren't that strong. Our league basically sent three teams that were half-decent, which (I feel) is wrong. But you can't blame Hallam for putting a team in it because they wanted to play ball, but at the same time we're sending three mediocre teams. We're not going to compete and that's just the way it is."
Mount Wolf: The Wolves got to the winners' bracket final with three victories to begin the tournament, downing Centre County, 8-1, before knocking off Staten Island, 5-3. That set up a showdown with Glen Rock, which had dominated Mount Wolf. But playing on their home field in front of a nice crowd helped the Wolves claim a 5-0 triumph behind the pitching of Dan Dierdorff, who was celebrating his 25th birthday.
"We came up on Sunday morning having to face Dan Dierdorff right off the bat," Glen Rock's Matt Gonzalez said. "So that was tough. (Dierdorff) kind of quieted down our bats quite a bit."
But a 6-1 loss to the Assault dropped the home team into the losers' bracket, where it was subsequently eliminated by Burlington. "It would have been nice to play Glen Rock (again) since it would have meant having two York County teams in it," Dierdorff said.
While Dierdorff's club was the last local team to play in the event, it did little to take the sting away from his team's third-place finish. "It's like we're a guy that's sitting there watching the guy dance with the girl that we wanted to take to the dance," Dierdorff said. "That's what (watching the final) feels like. So I'm probably going to leave here as soon as we're done because I don't want to watch either of these two teams win."
Glen Rock: The York County champions defeated Cly, 9-1, and the New York Hawks, 6-3, Saturday. But then they ran up against Dierdorff, who struck out eight in a complete-game effort. They rallied back to claim a 6-5 triumph to eliminate Staten Island Sunday before facing Burlington late Sunday night, a game that was eventually suspended and completed Monday.
"The Rock" trailed 4-3 after four innings but was able to forge a 6-6 tie heading into the seventh. But the Mets scored the winning run with a walk-off single to officially end Glen Rock's impressive campaign.
While it didn't result in the fourth-and-final piece of hardware that they sought, Gonzalez and company were nevertheless satisfied. "Every single guy on the roster contributed," Gonzalez said. "But we just came up a little short."
While the Glen Rock roster is filled with quality players, Gonzalez and his teammates felt — much like Conrads and Kennell — that they weren't given a chance to bolster their roster with as many quality pick-ups as they wanted. "I'm not going to name names and call anybody out there, but it's extremely disappointing," Gonzalez said. "It's a chance to represent your league. It's hard enough getting two teams in and getting enough guys. We definitely lost some quality pitching or we could have picked up more outfielders or whatever we needed. I mean, you play in the Central League all year long and if you don't get to make it with your own team, you should be there as a pick-up to represent your league."
Gonzalez is probably one of the most qualified guys to speak of the pick-up system, in which both the regular-season winner (Glen Rock) and the playoff winner or runner-up (Mount Wolf) could take turns selecting eligible players to add to their rosters. Arguably one of the most successful pitchers during his Kerrigan runs (at least two Most Outstanding Pitcher awards), Gonzalez also pointed out another benefit of suiting up to battle along one-time rivals.
"I've built a lot of close friendships from playing with other teams in the Colonial," he said. "A lot of the Glen Rock guys, Jefferson guys and Mount Wolf guys are all very good friends. We're all pretty much the same age and we all hang out in the offseason."
— Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Burlington Mets stay alive in York tourney
Posted: Sunday, September 6, 2015 8:18 pm
Pitching, pitching and more pitching. That was the formula for the Burlington Mets on Sunday as they stayed alive in the Tom Kerrigan Memorial York Tournament.
After going 1-1 on Saturday, the Mets had to play out of the losers' bracket, but they won three straight games and were leading in the fourth when it was suspended due to darkness.
The Mets will have a 4-3 lead over Glen Rock in the top of the fifth inning when the game is resumed Monday morning at 8. The survivor plays Mount Wolf at 9 a.m. in the losers' bracket final. That winner will face the three-time defending champion Susquehanna Assault and must win twice, at noon and, in the if-necessary game, at 3 p.m.
In Sunday's first game, at 9 a.m., Shaun Babula pitched a five-hitter and struck out nine in a 5-1 win over the Jacobus Jackals. Babula and Jason Kelmer each had two hits, and Sean Gusrang knocked in two runs.
Babula came right back with a complete game 8-1 win over Lehigh Valley in the second game, allowing six hits and striking out six. He had three hits and knocked in four runs. Marshall Harden added three hits and Casey Donahue had a pair.
Gusrang again had two RBIs.
Game three against Norrisotwn was a one-hit masterpiece by Max Newill. Babula had two more hits and Kelmer and Adrian Gonzalez each knocked in a run. Newill started game four and was relieved by Dan Hill in the third. Gonzalez's three-run homer put the Mets up 3-2, and Gusrang's solo shot put them up 4-3.
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