Futty, St. Leo quiets the Sox in semi-finals
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor email@example.com, Staff Writer
St. Leo’s pitcher Nick Futty lived up to the scouting report that the Warwick White Sox had about him last Friday night.
While bringing solid heat for five innings, the right-handed hurler struck out 10, yielded only four hits and kept the White Sox’s scoring opportunities to a minimum.
So when St. Leo took a 5-1 lead in the third inning, the White Sox were faced with an uphill battle and they ended up suffering an 11-1 six-inning loss in the Lancaster County Youth Baseball Section Two 14U playoff semi-finals in Lancaster.
"(Futty) did an outstanding job," White Sox’s skipper Jamie Weachter said. "He was hands down the best pitcher we’ve seen all year and the best pitcher in the League. He threw strikes and he threw hard. He had real good velocity."
While North Division runner-up Warwick ended the season with a 14-6 overall record, South Division champion St. Leo (18-1-1) advanced to Monday’s finals, where they faced Manheim Township.
Although Warwick won the 14U tourney it hosted in late April, playing mostly against South Division teams, the Sox didn’t face St. Leo at that time. As a result, they went into Friday’s game not knowing what to expect.
"We weren’t sure because our division is much better than (St. Leo’s). Our division was stacked," Weachter said. "We had some really good teams. We had to battle night in and night out. So I wasn’t sure what they had. But they’re legit. They have a very good team."
St. Leo, in fact, showed that early on, taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first off of White Sox’s starting pitcher Tyler Trimarchi. Five-hole hitter Andrew Debord (3-for-3, HBP) singled with two outs to drive in Mitch Eck, who reached on a base hit.
But the White Sox manufactured the tying run in the top of the second, thanks to the legs of clean-up hitter Cole Cassel (2-for-2). After slapping a leadoff base hit to right field, Cassel stole second, then swiped third and scored when catcher Alex Aparozec’s throw went into left field.
"We had heard the scouting report about (Futty) and we knew that he was pretty good," Weachter said. "I knew he threw hard. So our game plan about him was to play small ball and that’s how we scored our run … We didn’t have as many opportunities tonight to lay down bunts. We just didn’t have a lot of base runners and you’ve got to give him credit for that. He did a great job."
The bottom of St. Leo’s lineup did a great job in the bottom of the second, as Mark Cannon stroked a leadoff double and scored on Joey Corbett’s groundout to third base. But Trimarchi pitched out of trouble following a two-out walk to Dylan Atkinson, striking out Eck to retire the side. Overall, Trimarchi finished with three K’s, while yielding two walks and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings.
"Tyler did a great job," Weachter remarked. "He did a nice job of spotting his fastball. When his curve ball is on and he can keep people off speed, he does a nice job. Sometimes he’ll come out and he’ll lose his curve ball for an inning or two and he got a little tired and elevated a couple of balls. But he’s 14 and he did a real nice job."
It was still a 2-1 game when a bit of controversy came into play in the bottom of the third inning. Futty (2-for-4, 2 RBI’s) laced a leadoff double to right-center and one-out later, DeBord smashed a long fly ball toward the left field corner. Although the home plate umpire ruled it a two-run homer, Weachter argued that the ball rolled out of play and should have been a double, but to no avail.
"We thought it was foul, but (the home plate ump) had a better angle. But the bigger question is, it rolled out of play," Weachter said. "It should have been a double. My kid picked it up out of play, their coach said that, and he didn’t over rule himself. But that’s certainly not what lost this. Those guys beat us, they’re a better team and I think they’ll do real well in the championship game."
Leading 4-1, St. Leo scored their final run of the inning on Kenny Huhn’s RBI single over third base.
The White Sox, though, didn’t go quietly and they put together a threat in the top of the fourth inning off of Futty. Ethan Norman ripped a double to left-center, then Cassel followed with a single to center and stole his third bag of the game, putting two runners in scoring position. But Futty got out of it with back-to-back strikeouts.
Brandon Hoover had the White Sox’s other hit, a two-out double to right in the fifth, but he was stranded there to end the inning.
St. Leo, meanwhile, broke it open with a five-run fifth inning, highlighted by Futty’s two-run base hit, and they invoked the 10-run rule on Corbett’s RBI single in the sixth inning off of reliever Jared Evans.
At game’s end, Weachter talked about how proud he was of this year’s team.
"We don’t have one returning kid that played 14U last year and it’s a big adjustment," Weachter said. "That kid (Futty) is one of the best in his age group in the county. But for us to come out and finish in second place in our division and third overall — its a real big accomplishment. These guys have worked hard all season. They’ve just come so far. We started making baseball plays … So it’s night and day from where we were at the beginning of the season and that as a coach is all I can ask for, to see these kids improve and go out and they battled. They didn’t quit tonight, so that was good." More WHITE SOX, page B-3