HORSHAM — North Penn baseball coach Kevin Manero boiled the Knights' loss to Hatboro-Horsham Monday afternoon down to one sentence.
"This high school level is very simple. You give away baserunners, you have a hard time winning," he said.
The Hatters took advantage of North Penn's six errors — jumping out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning with the help of infield miscues — while Dave Brown threw six scoreless inning as Hatboro-Horsham bested NP 7-1 for its third straight Suburban One League Continental Conference victory.
"Everybody's going to make mistakes. The problem is how you respond to them," Manero said. "After you make a mistake and the problem is if you compound mistakes, then they turn into big innings. That's what we did today."
Alex Kleidon was 2-for-3 with two RBI while Joe Simmons went 2-for-4 with an RBI and scored twice for the Hatters, who pulled away with pair of runs in both the fourth and sixth. Eric Thomas drove in a pair of runs as the Hatters have pulled themselves back in the conference race after an 0-2 start.
"I said to our guys when we were talking out there (postgame), there were times in the past were other teams have made errors or given us free passes and we haven't taken advantage of it," Hatboro-Horsham coach Pete Moore said. "But today we were able to put two runs up. Sometimes when teams make errors, you don't take advantage of it and that gives them momentum because they know they got away with something."
Jared Melone went 2-for-3 while Mason Nadeau hit a first-inning double for the Knights (4-3, 3-2) SOL Continental), who were looking for their third straight conference win. North Penn put runners on base in every inning but the third, yet only plate a run in the seventh when an error on Anthony Cameron's fielder's choice brought home Jake Schuster.
Three times — the first, second and sixth — Hatboro-Horsham (5-3, 3-2) ended NP's half of the inning with a double play.
"If there's one thing that we can take away from today that I wasn't disappointed with, I thought our at-bats and our swings were pretty good,' Manero said.
After the Hatters allowed just one runs in 20 innings in extra-innings wins over Pennridge and Central Bucks South last week, Brown kept the strong pitching performances going in picking up the win Monday. He allowed four hits, walked three and struck out two in six shutout innings.
"He's always on point," said Kleidon of Brown. "He's one of our aces and I feel really comfortable went he's pitching. I feel like we're going to win every game with him."
North Penn starter Collin Healey took the loss, giving up five runs — two earned — on five hits in five innings. The right-hander walked two, struck out two and hit two batters.
"I thought he did alright," said Manero of Healey. "Was it his best, not really. But you don't always have to be at your best to win if you just put the ball in play. I'm not disappointed with his effort, he's going to do a nice job for us, he's strong and he's doing some good things for us.'"
Both teams are on the road Wednesday for SOL Continental contests — North Penn visits Central Bucks West, while the Hatters head to Quakertown.
"You don't want to compound mistakes in a game and you don't want to compound losses in a season,' Manero said. "So, The most important thing is what we do next. We can't control what's over, what' only important is what we do next.'
In the top of the first, North Penn had runners on the corners with one out after a Nadeau double and Melone single, but Hatboro-Horsham go out of the jam with a 5-4-3 double play.
Healey got the first two Hatters to fly out in the bottom of the frame before Kevin Barron and Joe Simmons reaches bases on errors. On the next at-bat, Thomas singled to score both runners.
"Errors are key in baseball — you can't make them," Kleidon said. "We just jumped on those, did what we could with those errors that they gave us."
Kleidon gave Hatboro-Horsham a 3-0 lead in the third as his sacrifice fly to right plated Justin Gregorio. Two more North Penn errors in the fifth helped the Hatters push their advantage to 5-0 in the fifth.
"It's a luxury for us these days. We had 20 innings in two games last week and only scored three runs,' Moore said. "Seven today felt real good.'
Leadoff batter Chris Crookham was hit by a pitch, went to third on a stolen base and error, then came in to score as John O'Malley got to first on an error. Eric Lane proceeded to walk and score two batters later on a Simmons single.
Hatboro-Horsham added two more runs in the sixth on Brad Humski's bases-loaded walk and Kleidon's RBI single.
"We've been struggling on offense a little bit, so today we wanted to come out and do our best," Kleidon said. "Tack on a few runs."
North Penn avoided the shutout with a run in the seventh as Schuster was able to score on a Cameron fielder's choice and Hatter error. Lane — however, sealed the win by striking out the next three Knights.
Hatboro-Horsham 7, North Penn 1
North Penn 000 000 1 — 1 5 6
Hatboro-Horsham 201 202 x — 7 6 2
WP: Dave Brown 6 IP 4 H 0 R 0 ER 3 BB 2 SO.
LP:Collin Healey 5 IP 5 H 5 R 2 ER 2 BB 2 SO 2 HB.
2B: NP-Mason Nadeau.
North Penn: Jared Melone 2-3.
Hatboro-Horsham: Joe Simmons 2-4, RBI, 2 R; Alex Kleidon 2-3, 2 RBI; Eric Thomas 2 RBI; Kevin Barron 2 R; Eric Lane 2 R.
Follow Mike Cabrey on Twitter @mpcabrey.