WHITEMARSH — On a cool April Fools' Day, the Plymouth Whitemarsh and Upper Moreland baseball teams clashed in a Suburban One League American Conference contest. And while both hurlers put on impressive performances, it was PW's Jon Fisher whose pitching was no joke.
Fisher threw for five innings of work, striking out nine batters and allowing a goose egg in the hit department.
The Colonials lost their lead in the top of the seventh frame when the visiting Golden Bears finally got on the scoreboard, but the home team got the last laugh in walk-off fashion for a 2-1 win in nine innings.
"He's a strikeout pitcher, so he's going to throw a lot of pitches,' Plymouth Whitemarsh coach Chris Manero said of Fisher, "but he was dominant. He looked real strong, he looked comfortable — he's the reason we had a chance to win it late in the game because he kept us right there the whole time.'
The outing began a little shaky for the junior. After walking leadoff hitter Pat Driscoll, who then stole second base, the Bears had a runner in scoring position from the jump. But Fisher didn't lose focus, getting the next two batters down on strikes before a fly ball to center would end the inning.
In the second, Fisher walked the second batter at the plate and proceeded by some fielding errors, Upper Moreland got a runner all the way to third with only one out, but Fisher again worked his magic and got out of the inning unscathed.
The most impressive inning came in the fourth when the Bears again threatened to score after an error and wild pitch followed by another walk and a sacrifice bunt, UM had runners on second and third with one out, but again Fisher would pull a rabbit out of a hat with a backwards "K' and a groundout to stop the bleeding.
"Originally I wanted to keep the pitch count down, but I just wanted to keep it close to give my team a W,' Fisher said.
"We didn't have a very good season last year, so I think (beating Upper Moreland) is a huge confidence booster for the team.'
Upper Moreland's pitcher Charlie Hooker was equally impressive on the mound. Going seven innings strong and allowing just the single run on seven hits and two strikeouts, Hooker kept the Colonials in check and kept his team's chances alive to tie the ball game up late.
But Hooker couldn't stop the Plymouth Whitemarsh batters from making their impact on the game. In the second inning Brett Highland connected on a pitch for an over-the-head double. Next up to bat was compatriot Evan Bischoff who tattooed a single into left field that plated the runner before getting tagged out at second for the early 1-0 lead.
For PW, getting runners on the pads hadn't been a problem on Tuesday afternoon. But to Hooker's credit, the pitcher stranded eight base runners in damage control baseball.
The excitement, however, finally picked up for Upper Moreland in the seventh inning as it rallied back from a score down to tie the game.
Ben Raeder had entered the game for the Colonials in the sixth to relieve Fisher, but when he went for the save in the seventh, the Bears had other plans.
Upper Moreland's Tommy Robinson got on base with a single and after stealing for second, put himself and his team in prime position to knot the game up. Connor Casey would do the honors after he slapped an RBI single down the middle and the game was headed to extras.
In the eighth, PW's Zach Metz traded right field for the mound and replaced Raeder and again the Bears made the Colonials sweat out another inning. This time UM got a runner on first and second, but Metz was able to whiff the last two batters and punched the air in celebration.
"When the game got tough, the bullpen got tough,' Manero said. "Pitchers came out and they kept battling.
"I give a lot of credit to our bullpen. They could have gotten frustrated, but they got the outs when they needed to.'
Finally Plymouth Whitemarsh had its best chance to come out of the game on top in the bottom half of the ninth. Three straight walks loaded the bases for the Colonials, but the Golden Bears were able to make a force out at the plate for one out. But PW wouldn't be denied, as sophomore Matt Cooper hit a single to plate Metz in walk-off fashion and his team harassed him at first base.
"Every conference win is so important — there's just no room for error,' Manero said. "Obviously Upper Moreland is a very good baseball team and I think it helps out guys to know we're at a better level than we were last year if we can compete with a team like that.'
Upper Moreland 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 — 1 3 1
Plymouth Whitemarsh 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 — 2 8 3
Winning pitcher: Zach Metz
Losing pitcher: Dennis Long
Upper Moreland ab r h rbi
Pat Driscoll C 5 0 0 0
Kyle Irwin SS 5 0 0 0
Charlie Hooker P 5 0 1 0
Mike Cavanaugh 3B 4 0 0 0
Colton Hooker 1B 4 0 0 0
Eddie Decker LF 4 0 0 0 0
Tommy Robinson RF 4 1 1 0
Nick Parker 2B 4 0 0 0
Connor Casey DH 4 0 1 1
Connor Purdy CF 5 0 2 0
Matt Cooper 2B 5 0 2 1
Matt Nardo SS 4 0 0 0
Dutch Deardon 3B 4 0 0 0
Brett Highland C 4 1 2 0
Evan Bischoff DH 4 0 1 1
Will Kane LF 4 0 0 0
Zach Metz RF 4 1 1 0
Gavin Brody 1B 3 0 0 0
Tim McTamney 1 0 0 0