By MIKE MURPHY
EAST WHITELAND — Ted Williams, baseball's greatest hitter, once said "Baseball is the only field of endeavor where a man can succeed three times out of ten and be considered a good performer.'
That quote did not matter to Avon Grove's top two hitters on Saturday in their 13-0, ten-run rule Chester County Legion win over Paoli in five innings at Great Valley High School.
Leadoff batter Johnny D'Aquanno did everything for the Stallions (9-8), reaching base all four times at bat (two singles, a double and a walk) and pitched three shutout innings as the starter.
D'Aquanno worked a full count to coax a walk to lead off the game. Following a stolen base and a wild pitch to land D'Aquanno on third, second-place hitter Joe Thompson drove him in on an infield single as Avon Grove went on to plate four in the inning and was never headed.
"It's great when your leadoff hitter and the two hitter are both on base a lot,' said Avon Grove manager Dave Kelly. "And when you have the heart of the order coming up, it makes it easy to score runs with guys on base and your power hitters coming up'.
That was a continuing trend throughout the game, the first three times D'Aquanno reached base, Thompson drove him in. Combined the pair went seven-for-seven with seven runs scored and three RBIs. They reached base all eight times they came to the plate.
D'Aquanno talked about his simplistic approach at the plate.
"Just trying to see the ball and get ahead in the count early,' he said. "I tried to hit fastballs and lay off the off-speed pitches, it's the easiest way of putting it'.
The second half of the duo talked about how just making contact was his key in driving in runs.
"I was just trying to put the ball in play', said Thompson, who was 4-for-4 and drove in three runs. "I knew we had to pick up the runs, so I just wanted to get something on the ground and the first one went through to score Johnny'.
The Stallions' scored four runs in the first, giving them plenty of momentum. It also gave D'Aquanno more confidence on the mound going out for the bottom of the first.
"It's huge to play from ahead,' said Kelly. "We got a nice lead in the first with those four runs and just really built on that. We let that momentum take us through as we tacked on three in the second and two more in the third'.
"Its leaps and bounds easier to pitch going in with a four-run lead compared to a nothing-nothing game,' added D'Aquanno. "It's just a confidence thing and easier mentally'.
Paoli (2-13) manager David Iacobucci explained how mental errors and a lack of urgency were downfalls in his team's performance.
"We didn't come to play today,' he stated. "There wasn't a lot of intensity, our heads were not in the game which resulted in mental errors that they capitalized on. We strung some hits together a few times but left those runners in scoring position'.
D'Aquanno was right at home on the mound, retiring the next three batters after walking the leadoff man.
He was in trouble in the second after allowing a leadoff single to Tommy Allen, followed by a double by Tim Gillan to put runners on second and third with no outs. D'Aquanno reestablished himself by striking out the next two batters and inducing a ground ball to third baseman Chris Long to end the inning.
With two outs in the third, D'Aquanno loaded the bases on two hits and an error as the Cardinals tried to get on the scoreboard. But he escaped trouble by getting Gilliam out on a grounder to shortstop Jim Farrow.
"Johnny did an outstanding job,' Kelly said. "He got into trouble a few times, but he was able to pitch out of those situations with a couple of key strikeouts. He really bounced back in those innings and allowed us to play a short game today. I took him out to make sure he is available in a day or two, so he can come back and pitch in another game and to allow Eric (Ligda) to get some innings.'
Ligda struck out three in his two scoreless innings, giving up just one hit.
D'Aquanno trusted that his defense would pick him up when he ran into trouble.
"Defense helped me out a lot, I tried to get the ball in play and make sure I was pitching effectively,' he said. "In those jams I got into I just tried to get the ball on the ground and let my defense do the work for me and they really helped me out'.
The performances from D'Aquanno and Thompson would have made Williams smile.
Avon Grove 13, Paoli 0
Avon Grove ab r h bi HOME ab r h biD'Aquanno p 3 4 3 0 Girone cf 2 0 1 0
Thompson cf 4 3 4 3 Nagy ss 3 0 0 0
Capertta 1b 3 2 2 1 Lenker 2b 3 0 1 0
Arrell rf 4 1 0 1 Tashjian lf 3 0 1 0
Farrow ss 3 1 0 0 Allen 3b 2 0 1 0
Boyer 2b 1 1 0 1 Gillan p 2 0 1 0
Ligda p 1 0 1 1 Malloy c 2 0 0 0
Long 3b 4 0 2 4 Moskowitz 1b 2 0 0 0
Bonner lf 4 0 0 0 Pettine rf 2 0 0 0
Macneill c 2 1 0 0
Totals 29 13 12 11 Totals 21 0 5 0
Away 432 04 -- 13
Home 000 0x -- 02B -D'Aquanno, Thompson, Capretta, Long, Gillan
IP H R BB SO
Avon GroveD'Aquanno, W 3 4 0 1 3
Ligda 2 1 0 0 3
PaoliGillan, L 2 8 7 5 2
Allen 1 3 2 0 1
Lenker 2 4 4 1 0