Felton-Harrington bounces back to take Junior title

 

MILFORD — Matt Berardicelli’s message to his Felton-Harrington Junior League baseball all-stars was pretty simple.

“Yesterday never happened,” the manager told his  players heading into Friday night’s winner-take-all District I championship game.

It worked.

Felton-Harrington defeated Camden-Wyoming, 13-9, to capture the District I Junior League title.

The victory came 24 hours after Felton-Harrington blew a 9-0 lead to Camden-Wyoming. An 11-run sixth inning allowed Camden-Wyoming to come back and grab a 15-11 win to stay alive in the double-elimination tournament.

“I think losing that game last night humbled us a little bit,” said Berardicelli. “It made us realize that you have to play the entire seven innings.

Camden-Wyoming’s Josh Harvey got into an intentional rundown between to enable a teammate to score from third and give Camden-Wyoming a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Felton-Harrington’s Christian Aldrich makes the tag Special To The Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

“Last night, they really gave it to us. They turned it around and they gave it to us. It kind of made our guys wake up and realize the game isn’t over until that last out is made.”

With the win, Felton-Harrington earns District I’s berth in the state tournament, which slated to start on Wednesday with District II hosting.

In Friday night’s re-match, Felton-Harrington turned the tables, coming back from an early deficit to earn the win.

Camden-Wyoming used a five-run third inning to jump out to an early 6-1 lead.

Zach McClements led off the inning by reaching first base on an error. David Dill, Austin Bauer and Wes Keeler each drove in a run on consecutive at-bats for C-W.

A bases-loaded walk and a passed ball brought in two additional third-inning runs to give Camden-Wyoming the five-run lead.

Starting pitcher Josh Harvey got off to a good start, allowing just one Felton-Harrington run through the first three innings.

In the fourth inning, though, Felton-Harrington capitalized on a few crucial C-W mistakes.

Christian Aldrich reached first base on a misplayed groundball to shortstop, and catcher Gabe Martin drove him in on a RBI single through the legs of the second baseman. Martin would later come around to score the team’s third and final run of the inning on a passed ball.

Heading into the bottom of the fifth inning, Berardicelli could be heard telling his players in the dugout “it’s our turn to play the late game.”

His players scored seven runs in the inning, earning five of them on bases-loaded walks and another on a hit batter.

“When they (Camden-Wyoming) got up on us, the conversation we had with them is ‘one run at a time, let’s get back in it.’ We got a couple, and then we got a couple more and took the lead. We just built on it,” Berardicelli said.

Dave Dill was called out on the play but was ruled safe after umpire with a clear view said the ball was knocked loose. Special To The Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

Felton-Harrington came out of the fifth inning with an 11-7 lead.

“We knew it wasn’t over until it’s over. They (Camden-Wyoming) could’ve changed this game at any time,” catcher Gabe Martin said.

On the mound, starting pitcher Byron Freeland turned in a strong outing in the winning effort for Felton-Harrington.

He retired the first three batters of the game in order, and turned in 5.1 innings of work until the pitch count finally caught up to him. Christian Aldrich and Collin Jaksch combined to finish the game in relief.

“Byron did a fantastic job. He threw the ball well, had good velocity. He threw a lot of strikes, which is what the key was. That was one of our focal points, throw strikes and let the defense work. And he did that,” Berardicelli said.

“My approach heading in was to just keep throwing strikes and stay up, don’t get down. No matter how it goes, just keep fighting,” Freeland said.

 

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