MIDDLETOWN — Up until the visitors' seventh, Bristol hadn't done much of anything at the plate. Surprisingly, the Warriors' three hits to that point had produced a pair of runs so they still had a chance to beat Neshaminy Friday night, April 25 at the third annual Sports Block Party, a yearly sporting and entertainment event that featured eight games in four sports at Middletown Community Park.
Leading Bristol 3-2, Neshaminy recorded the first two outs rather quickly and was on its way to a third and final out when the Redskins opened the door for the Warriors.
Coilean Malone's grounder to third base was swallowed up by the Neshaminy infielder and was on its way to first base for the final putout. Somehow, the relay flipped in and out of the glove of Bill Ritchey.
An ensuing single slapped by pinch-hitter Pete Muccie preceded a walk drawn by senior Dylan Evert, who battled about 10 pitches in getting aboard. With the sacks jammed, sophomore Danny Padilla hit a 2-run single that put Bristol on top to stay.
According to Warriors infielder Ryan Weinkopff, once Malone got on board, the guys in the Bristol dugout knew they were on their way
"We never thought we were going to lose this game but that really solidified our comeback,' said Weinkopff. "Everybody was cheering; we had our great fans on the sidelines
"These kids, they don't want to give up,' added head coach Tony Mangiaracina. "They don't want to surrender to anybody; they just want to keep battling and battling. And that's what they did here today.'
And the Warriors weren't done yet. Weinkopff — who didn't even play baseball last season — came through with an RBI single, his second of the night to put Bristol up 5-3.
Padilla came home on a ball slapped to left field by Mike Cain and Weinkopff scored on a wild pitch. A sophomore playing his first year on varsity, Padilla has come through for the Warriors several times this season. Coach says Padilla's spot in the batting order — behind Evert, a Division I recruit headed to UMBC — puts the 10th-grader in a precarious position at the plate.
While Padilla grounded out in his two previous at-bats vs. Neshaminy, he came through with the big hit when Bristol needed it most.
"I just had to stay calm and just hit the ball,' said Padilla.
"Danny has been coming through for us quite often,' added Mangiaracina.
"The first couple of bats, he struggled. Then he came through for us when he had to — it was great.'
Defensively, junior Stephen Boggi pitched a gem, keeping the dangerous Redskin hitters at bay scattering seven hits and striking out eight batters through 6-and-2/3 innings on the mound.
"In the beginning of the game, I was struggling trying to find the strike zone. I couldn't find my release point,' said Boggi.
"By the middle of the game, I found my release point. That forced them to put the ball in play. And my teammates were right there backing me up.'
Just his second start of the season, Boggi also made the most of his first on Easter Sunday, pitching seven innings of shutout baseball, while scattering four hits, striking out five batters and walking only four in a 4-0 win over Highland (N.J.)
"He's been doing a fantastic job for us; he's just been throwing great and we're rallying behind him,' said Weinkopff. "We really think of him as our up and coming ace.'
The win gives the Warriors the edge on Sports Night at Middletown — Bristol took the inaugural event 7-6 when Evert came on in relief of Gino Cefalone and shut Neshaminy down in the last two innings while the Redskins won a mercy-ruled game at last year's Block Party.
"You come here and it's Bristol playing Neshaminy and you want to win as much as possible,' explained Mangiaracina. "You're playing a bigger school, a bigger program — a great team.'
"That's an incentive in itself for us.'
While the Warrior bats came alive at the end, Bristol owed much of the night's success to Boggi. Ironically, Mangiaracina thought about taking Boggi out of the game midway through. A conversation with Evert — who was playing the backstop in this game — changed his mind, however.
"I was watching and he just got stronger as the game went on,' said the coach. "He did the same thing when we were down in Myrtle Beach; he seems to get stronger as the game goes on.'
"He battled; he never gave up — a great job.'
The win pushes the Warriors to 10-3 while the Redskins fall to 5-6.
The ending spoiled a near-perfect start by Neshaminy righthander Jake Franzen on Senior Night. The 12th-grader faced just 14 batters in four innings, giving up one run on one hit while striking out four and walking just one.
When he came out of the game, the ' Skins held a 3-2 edge on an RBI single by Todd McDonald in the first inning and a 2-run single by pinchhitter Evan Mulholland in the home fourth.
Unfortunately for Neshaminy, the ' Skins could not hold onto the lead through the final out in the seventh.
NOTES: Neshaminy leadoff hitter Cole Creighton (Stonybrook) greeted Bristol pitcher Steve Boggi with a triple to start the game and tagged the 11th-grader with a double to lead off the third inning. Redskins senior shortstop Ryan Sheplock and Ritchey (RBI) hit singles to score a run in the seventh though Ritchey was thrown out at second when he went for an extra base on the throw home. Phil Krause came on in relief of Boggi and induced a ground ball back to the mound for the final out.
Bristol 7, Neshaminy 4
(April 25 at Middletown Community Park)
Bristol 100 010 5 — 7 6 2
Neshaminy 100 200 1 — 4 8 3
WP: Steve Boggi; LP: Reid Cook
Doubles: N-Cole Creighton, Mike Burns
RBI: B-Danny Padilla 2, Ryan Weinkopff 2; N-Evan Mulholland 2, Todd McDonald, Bill Ritchey
Multiple hits: B- Weinkopff 3-for-3; N- Creighton 2-for-2
Records: Bristol (10-3); Neshaminy (5-6).