Delaware South eliminated at Carpenter Cup as Burlington, N.J. rallies for 4-3 victory

PHILADELPHIA — The Delaware South Carpenter Cup team was six outs way from Citizens Bank Park.

Then it was 90 feet away from extra innings.

In both cases, though, Delaware South came up just short.

Burlington County (N.J.) scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to knock Delaware South out of the Carpenter Cup 4-3 in a quarterfinal matchup on Monday afternoon at FDR Park in Philadelphia.

Burlington County advanced to play Jersey Shore Friday in the semifinals of the high school baseball showcase featuring teams from Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The semifinals and finals are hosted by the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

Delaware South reached Citizens Bank Park last season for the first time since the tournament moved the semifinals and finals there. Despite the loss it was another strong Carpenter Cup showing for Delaware South, which has made three straight quarterfinals.

“We talked at the end, even though we’re on the losing end of this game it’s still a great representation of baseball in Southern Delaware,” said Delaware South head coach G.L. Jefferson of Sussex Tech. “The guys we had on the field, it was a great showing.”

Delaware South entered the bottom of the eighth ahead 3-1 but a leadoff walk started the pivotal rally by Burlington County.

After a popout, Burlington County reeled off three singles in a row. Connor Coolahan and Chris Baker each had RBI singles to tie the game 3-3.

Julian Lopez then hit a sacrifice fly to center to score the eventual game-winning run.

Evan Harris (Polytech High) gave Delaware South some life in the top of the ninth with a leadoff triple. But he was stranded at third as the tying run after three strikeouts ended the game.

Connor Ellingsworth of Laurel High paced Delaware South with a pair of singles. His two-RBI single in the fourth gave Delaware South its first lead.

“This is the best ball I’ve played competition-wise,” Ellingsworth said. “I thought we all performed pretty well. We were up pretty much the whole game but they were able to get those runs at the end there and beat us.”

Ellingsworth is one of just two freshmen on the Delaware South roster. He finished the tournament with three hits in four at-bats with a double and three RBI.

“It’s a blessing of mine,” he said.“I appreciate the opportunity to be able to play in front of all the scouts that are here.”

“I always tell the guys if you’re good enough a college will find you,” Jefferson said. “Connor is taking advantage of every opportunity by coming to a great showcase like this and putting his best foot forward. It’s going to be exciting watching him play baseball the next three years.”

Delaware South scored its only other run in the fifth when Newark Charter’s Kevin Buglio doubled with two outs. Brent Buckson of Polytech pinch-ran for him and came around to score on a base-hit by Aiden Riley (St. Georges).

Dover High’s Dom Velazquez started on the mound for Delaware South and gave up one run in his three innings. He struck out two and managed to escape from a jam in the second with runners on the corners and one out.

Chad Reichold of Milford pitched three scoreless innings of middle relief. He recorded four strikeouts.

Delaware South out-hit Burlington County 8-6 but was hurt by two errors and three walks.

“We pitched very well,” Jefferson said. “We got a great start by Dom and Chad came in and really did a job for us. They came up with some lucky hits there at the end by putting the bat on the ball. I thought they did a great job of battling and making it really difficult for our pitchers.”

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