Baseball Cup team loses
Lehigh Valley’s run in the Carpenter Cup Classic ended on day one of the tournament following a 4-2 loss to Jersey Shore in last Thursday’s opener.
T.J Scuderi broke a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the sixth inning with a two-run homer to put Jersey Shore ahead for good and to eliminate the LV squad at FDR Park in Philadelphia.
Jersey Shore built a 2-0 lead after the first two innings of play, but Lehigh Valley battled back in the third and fourth innings respectively to nod the game.
Tamaqua’s Casey Rother helped bring home Pen Argyl’s Alejandro Santiago in the third inning on a fielders choice, while Northwestern’s Jacob Haas scored on an error in the fourth inning.
The LV bats were stifled by Jersey Shore’s pitching, as they struck out 15 times with Justin Fall and Dustin Chiusano each leading the way with six strikeouts apiece.
LV was only able to muster three hits in the contest.
LV manager J.F. Pirro was disappointed to see his team go down in the first round again, but also understood that this tournament and the competition involved are unforgiving.
“These games are not the high school games they play all spring,” said Pirro. “They’re facing players who are heading to Division I and, in some cases, future professional careers—like Jersey Shore’s starting left-handed pitcher who is heading to St. John’s. He was dominating and set an all-important, dominating tone.”
Parkland pitcher Michael Jenkins had the best performance for the squad in his 2 2/3 innings pitched, striking out three batters and not giving up any hits in relief.
Bethlehem Catholic starter Matt Morrow couldn’t get out of the first inning against Jersey Shore, as he gave up four walks and an RBI before being relieved by Notre Dame’s Steven Luke with two outs and the bases loaded.
Last week’s defeat marked the second time in three years that the franchise has been eliminated in the opening round of the competition, but Pirro acknowledges how difficult the opening stages of the tournament are for the LV franchise.
“The front end of recent tournament brackets have intentionally pitted the historically best teams against the best teams, and the weaker teams against the weaker,” Pirro said. “We’re essentially playing the championship game in the opening round, then the semifinals in the next round and so on.
“Playing the tournament in reverse order makes it tough and perhaps inequitable, but good competition ought to breed good competition and we didn’t perform anywhere near our capabilities. Offensively, you can’t compete if you don’t swing the bat. It’s a credit to our tough-minded pitchers that we were even in the game.”