Del. South falls to Del. North 12-5 in Carpenter Cup semifinals

PHILADELPHIA — Delaware South’s first-ever trip to Citizens Bank Park was a memorable experience for the players, but it left the basepaths too crowded to play in one more game there.

Delaware South was eliminated from the Carpenter Cup by Delaware North, 12-5, on Friday afternoon. Delaware North took the lead with an eight-run top of the sixth and held on to make today’s final against Jersey Shore (10 a.m.).

Delaware South pitchers allowed a combined 13 walks and hit six batters. It was also hampered by three errors, including a potential double-play ball on the second batter of the pivotal sixth inning.

“They had a bunch of free runners that we didn’t make them work for,” said Delaware South coach Corey Wyatt (Lake Forest). “Then we had a double play ball that we mishandled and it could have changed the inning. It really jammed us up.”

Delaware South loaded the bases for Delaware North in the sixth with a hit batsman to lead off the inning, an infield error and a walk. The first two runs scored on a sacrifice fly and a single, which was only Delaware North’s second hit of the contest up to that point.

Luke Oliphant of Sussex Tech bats for Delaware South during Friday’s Carpenter Cup semifinal game at Citizens Bank Park. (Delaware State News/Ben Heck)

Another walk loaded the bases again before Tatnall’s Oliver Campbell cleared them with a double to give Delaware North a 7-4 advantage and put the game out of reach.

Still, the players came away with great memories from the high school baseball showcase hosted by the Philadelphia Phillies which features teams from Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. This was the furthest Delaware South has made it since 2000, when it won the tournament.

Sussex Central catcher Ethan Watkinson nearly hit a ball out of Citizens Bank Park. Watkinson, who just finished his sophomore year at Sussex Central, hit a ball off the wall in left field and had to settle for a double.

Abraham Mow of Milford bats for Delaware South. (Delaware State News/Ben Heck)

“I’m still telling everybody about that,” Watkinson said. “I thought it was gone, but I’ll take it.”

Watkinson eventually scored on a balk to give Delaware South a 4-2 lead through four innings.

Then there was Gabe Wescott of Woodbridge. Wescott made a highlight-reel catch in the second in left field when he slammed into the wall under the 334-foot sign, fell to the ground yet hung onto the ball for the out.

Wyatt said he hopes experiences like that on such a big stage and an improved showing this year in the Carpenter Cup will encourage more players to try out for the team in the future.

“We have some guys still out there from the South who aren’t playing with us that we would like to have who could’ve helped us,” Wyatt said. “People have different priorities going on, but hopefully people see that Delaware baseball in the South is pretty quality and they can come out and join us next year.”

Ryan Steckline of Appoquinimink pitches for Delaware South. (Delaware State News/Ben Heck)

Watkinson agreed playing in the Carpenter Cup is a special honor.

“This is definitely a dream for every kid to be able to play at a Major League stadium,” Watkinson said. “It was a great time with this team. It would be better with a win here, but the experience was great. It’s a great opportunity to play in front of college scouts and with other kids. Everybody needs to try to do it.”

Abraham Mow of Milford continued his hot tournament with a base-hit and scored on Will Kimmel’s RBI groundout. Mow finished the Carpenter Cup with five hits in three games.

Aidan Riley of St. Georges drove in a pair of runs for Delaware South with a single in the third.

“This tournament is really cool because you put a bunch of guys together and you don’t practice,” Wyatt said. “You pick the team the second week of June then we come out and play so it’s not like you have a lot of time to get to know each other. It worked out for us this year. It was a really cool experience and I hope they valued being able to come here and play.”

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