UPPER DUBLIN — Just an out shy of two innings into the matchup between Upper Dublin and Wissahickon and it seemed as though the Suburban One rivals were in for a pitchers' duel, but that outlook changed in an instant.
With two outs under his belt, Wissahickon pitcher Brett Downey was one pitch away from two clean innings. He had struck out Upper Dublin's Christian Huckfeldt and opposing pitcher Dan Jacobson to start the inning, but a throwing error gave Dane Nealis a free bag and it all went downhill for Wissahickon from there.
In all, eight runs would score in the inning — all unearned. Downey was yanked after plunking a batter to force home the fourth run and entered Ryan Toltzis who allowed four more with just two swings of the bat. It was an ugly turn for one squad while the other — the eventual 8-0 victors of Upper Dublin — found an onslaught of offensive production through both patience at the plate and timely swinging of the bat.
"Early on I was really happy with that inning,' said Upper Dublin (2-1) coach Ed Wall. "We capitalized with a couple mistakes they had made and their pitcher had a difficult time getting out.'
After the error, Downey gave up a single to Harrison Gruber and then walked both Thomas Juelke and Conor McFadden for the game's first run. John Lee stepped to the plate and drove Gruber home with a single. Ray Sitarski walked and then Downey plunked Cole Swiger before exiting the game with 1.2 innings under his belt, two hits and four runs scored.
"Brett [Downey] came in and threw two quality innings, the error didn't help and then he wasn't able to get out of that,' said Wissahickon coach Shannon Gunby.
After Toltzis entered the game for Wissahickon (0-2), he allowed a 2-RBI single to Huckfeldt and a 2-RBI double to Jacobson who both had struck out to start the inning. Wissahickon's Nick Falso got his redemption for allowing Nealis a bag on the throwing error that started it all when he fielded Nealis' second try much more cleanly to end the inning.
"We've got a lot of guys who can go out and throw for us, it's going to come down to finding some guys that can give us four or five innings a game,' Gunby said.
For Upper Dublin, they found a player that gave them six strong shutout innings. Jacobson's impressive line of three hits, nine Ks was a factor mainly of his extremely comfortable run support, but also the right-hander's confidence in the players behind him.
"It helped getting eight runs ahead early, but I felt pretty strong out there,' Jacobson said. "I knew if I put a ball on the ground the play would be made.'
Wall said after the game that Cardinals had turned only one double play all of last season, but just in this game they were able to turn two — a 1-4-3 in the fifth inning and 5-3 double play to close out the seventh.
"To have two in a game for us is quite an accomplishment, which a lot of that to do with Coach [Rob] Albert and all the work he does with our infield,' Wall said.
Time on the field has been difficult for both teams in the preseason. The Cardinals' varsity team have swapped fields with the junior varsity squad this season and moving forward, but the redone field with a new backstop sits awash while the Cardinals occupy their old stomping grounds.
Wissahickon is even worse for the wear — they've only been on the field twice in their two games and haven't even set foot on their own field yet this season. In their two games, their only taste of live situational baseball, the Trojans have allowed 17 runs and tallied just six hits and five runs total.
"Not that anyone is in a better situation than us, but we haven't been on the field yet, our two games have been it,' Gunby said. "We haven't been on our own field at all, which is frustrating.'
Both squads will be praying for a couple dry days this week when Upper Dublin travels to Norristown for a 3:30 p.m. game on Thursday and Wissahickon aims to invite Springfield Township for a 3:45 p.m. matchup at home.
Follow Rick Kauffman on Twitter @Kauffee_TH
Upper Dublin 0 8 0 0 0 0 0 — 8
Wissahickon 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 0
Winning pitcher: Dan Jacobson
Losing pitcher: Brett Downey
Wissahickon ab r h rbi
Rappaport 3b 3 0 0 0
Osterneck lf 3 0 0 0
Oruch cf 3 0 0 0
Falso ss 3 0 0 0
Tapper dh 3 0 1 0
Brownlowe c 3 0 0 0
Becker 2b 3 0 2 0
Segal 1b 2 0 0 0
Downey p 0 0 0 0
Toltzis p 2 0 1 0
Upper Dublin ab r h rbi
Lee rf 4 1 1 1
Sitarski 2b 4 1 0 1
Swiger cf 4 1 0 1
Huckfeldt ss 4 1 2 2
Jacobson p 3 0 1 2
Nealis 3b 3 1 0 0
Gruber 1b 3 1 2 0
Juelke c 3 1 0 0
McFadden lf 2 1 0 1
Weiss lf 1 0 0 0
DP—Upper Dublin (2)
HBP—Swiger (1, by Downey)