Pope John Paul’s Billy Hitman steals home after a passed ball before sliding under the tag of Methacton’s pitcher John Weidmayer during a
Pope John Paul's Billy Hitman steals home after a passed ball before sliding under the tag of Methacton's pitcher John Weidmayer during a PAC-10 game at Methacton. (Gene Walsh/21st Century Media) (GW)

FAIRVIEW VILLAGE- Pope John Paul II closer Dan Zurowski kept getting himself into trouble on Monday afternoon. He also got himself out of it in the craziest ways.

The tall left-hander snared a shot up the middle with two away in the bottom of the seventh inning that had game-tying, two-run single written all over it to wrap up a 6-4 Pioneer Athletic Conference win, spoiling Methacton's first game on its renovated field.

The Golden Panthers (7-2, 8-2) led all the way after James Bleming drilled a two-run triple with none out in the first, but the Warriors (7-2, 8-2) kept knocking at the door until Zurowski's grab shut it for good.

Methacton’s catcher Glenn Seymour tags out Pope John Paul’s Joey Pedorenko as he steals home during Pope John Paul’s victory over the
Methacton's catcher Glenn Seymour tags out Pope John Paul's Joey Pedorenko as he steals home during Pope John Paul's victory over the Warriors on Monday. (Gene Walsh/ 21st Century Media) (GW)

"I was just falling off the rubber and I caught it as I was falling,' Zurowski said concerning the smash by pinch hitter Eric Marburger. "I don't know how the ball stayed in my glove.'

"Eric is the best,' said Methacton coach Paul Spiewak. "He's taken more swings than anyone. He came up and did his job and it didn't work out for him.'

The inning before, the Warriors had two men on with two out and the runner on second took off as Zurowski began his windup. But the PJP hurler whirled and ran toward the runner and made a diving tag to end the inning.

"He just stood there,' said Zurowski. "I didn't know whether to run at him or throw it. I'm definitely not the fastest kid.'

"Dan's been real good for us all year,' said PJP coach John Duffy. "I told him when he came in, it was his game.'

Zurowski, who earned the save after allowing no runs over the last three innings, has enjoyed coming in to close out game ... though the role does have its anxious moments.

"At the beginning of the year, coach told me what I was going to do,' said Zurowski. "It's real nerve-wracking sometimes.'

Methacton’s John Weidmayer pitches to Pope John Paul’s Billy Hitman during a PAC-10 contest at Methacton. (Gene Walsh/ 21st Century Media)
Methacton's John Weidmayer pitches to Pope John Paul's Billy Hitman during a PAC-10 contest at Methacton. (Gene Walsh/ 21st Century Media) (GW)

PJP had taken the quick lead in the first when Kyle Miller and Amedeo Citro walked and Bleming drilled one to the fence in left center for a triple and scored on a wild relay throw. Methacton came right back with two in the bottom of the inning on a leadoff walk to Kyle Feaster, a single by Austin Bregman, and a two-run double by Glenn Seymour.

But the visitors increased their advantage to 5-2 when Tyler O'Brien walked with the bases loaded in the third and another run scored on a wild pitch. Then Citro, Bleming, and Joey Pedorenko knocked consecutive singles with two out in the fourth to make it 6-2.

Methacton came back with one in the bottom of the inning on back-to-back doubles by Greg Pellicano and T.J. Tornetta and loaded the bases with two out. But Evan Myers, who had started the game on the mound for PJP and was pulled after the first four batters reached base, returned to the hill and got out of the inning on a grounder to third.

Then Myers gave up a single to Kyle Lowery to open the fifth and Zurowski came to the mound and shut the hosts down after a two-out RBI single by Tornetta made it 6-4.

The Warriors wound up with 10 men left on base.

"We had a lot of runners in scoring position and didn't push them in,' said Spiewak. "Very uncharacteristic of us.'

"It was a good high school baseball game,' said Duffy. "Both teams had some lapses in the first inning. They beat us in the first game of the season (11-7). I told the guys I didn't want to lose to anybody twice. To beat Methacton on their home field is a real feather in the cap.'

The Warriors stayed in the game because of the efforts of starting pitcher John Wiedmayer, who walked eight and struck out seven and allowed just six hits while pitching all seven innings.

"With Friday and Saturday games, we were short on arms,' said Spiewak. "John giving us seven innings was huge for us.'

"The first inning, it was a wake-up call,' said Wiedmayer. "They really got some key hits.'

But the Warriors still could have pulled even if not for a good play by second baseman Billy Hitman — who ranged far to his left and flipped the ball to first with his glove hand to retire the leadoff man in the seventh — and a good scoop at first by Trevor O'Brien for the second out. And, of course, the outlandish catch to end the game with runners on second and third.

"That last catch at the end was crazy,' said Wiedmayer. "He stole two runs from us. It was fun. We'll see them in the playoffs.'"It was a really good team effort,' added Zurowski. "It's great when you can depend on your fielders. Billy had a great play ... and Trevor. And the hitting's been doing it all year.'

The game was the first on the almost brand new facility — which included new turf, new fences all around, new brick dugouts and area behind the plate, and a large scoreboard - for the Warriors after playing nine road games to start the season.

It will be dedicated on Saturday, May 3rd at 12:30 p.m. in honor of Robert Childress, who was drafted for baseball after playing for the Warriors and was killed in action in Vietnam.

"A little more meaning playing on this field after nine games away,' said Spiewak. "It just didn't work out for us.'

"A great stadium ... just getting adjusted to it,' added Wiedmayer. "I like it because of the 20-foot net in left field. It keeps the home runs in here on Windy Hill. Hopefully, we can get some lights on it and some baseball players to play.'