Delaware South eliminated at Carpenter Cup

PHILADELPHIA — When Delaware South loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh, its goal of making it to Citizens Bank Park seemed to be getting closer and closer.

But what followed were nine straight outs with no more hits or base-runners.

The Delaware South squad fell to the Philadelphia Catholic League 5-2 on Friday at FDR Park in Philadelphia as it was eliminated from the 31st annual Carpenter Cup Classic.

The downstaters could not put the ball in play during the seventh inning rally with less than two outs when they trailed 3-2.

Seaford’s Justin Gary led off with a single, Polytech’s Miguel Rivera was hit by a pitch and Smyrna’s Nolan Henderson also singled to load the bases. Then Philadelphia Catholic struck out the next two batters before Smyrna’s Ryan Seymour gave one a ride to deep center, but it was tracked down by the center fielder.

“That seventh inning was difficult, especially with bases loaded no outs and you can’t convert a run,” said Delaware South manager G.L. Jefferson of Sussex Tech. “But at the end of the day you can’t be upset with the kids. They battled, they played well throughout and all in all it was a good game for us.”

Delaware South was coming off its first win in the tournament since 2006. The team, made up of baseball players from Kent and Sussex counties, as well as St. Georges and Appoquinimink High, knocked off Berks County (Pa.) on Tuesday, 10-3.

While there was a taste of disappointment in their mouths, the players were glad to represent the lower half of the state after the 10-year drought.

“Everybody believes that Northern baseball is better in Delaware and I hope we proved everyone wrong,” said Garrett Lawson of Dover. “We were real good this year in the South with a lot of good players and a lot of good talent, we showed that and showcased our skills to everybody who doubted us.”

Jefferson, who has been involved with coaching Delaware South for eight years, said he hopes the strong showing in this year’s event will encourage more high school ballplayers to try out for the team in the future.

“You see how the other coaches here treat the Carpenter Cup and it’s impressive,” Jefferson said. “To be honest, some of that has fallen off in Delaware. But, hopefully the win that we had will help enrollment as far as the Carpenter Cup goes in years to come.”

Philadelphia Catholic never trailed in the contest, scoring three runs in the top of the third after three singles, a walk and an error.

Delaware South got one back in the bottom half of the inning when Appoquinimink’s Brett Willett doubled to score Polytech’s Carter Chasanov. It added another in the fourth when Smyrna’s Jared Gillis singled and eventually scored on a fielder’s choice.

There were plenty of opportunities to tie the game aside from the bases loaded rally in the seventh. Delaware South had runners on second and third with two outs in the fourth, but had the runner at third picked off by the Philadelphia Catholic catcher.

It was the second time Delaware South made the final out of the inning at third base.

“There were some things that just didn’t go our way and that sometimes happens in the game of baseball,”  Lawson said.

Lawson threw a pair of scoreless innings for Delaware South with four strikeouts, while Polytech’s Joey Haas also kept Philadelphia Catholic off the board for two innings.

Philadelphia Catholic scored twice in the top of the eighth, capitalizing on an error and a wild pitch for a pair of insurance runs, and Delaware South went down in order during the eighth and ninth innings.

“It was a close game,” Jefferson said. “We were in the game the whole game. Us winning and staying competitive with these teams shows we’re right along the same lines. I think it did a lot for the kids that played in the games and a lot for Delaware.”

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