SLA Baseball Holds onto 2nd Place w/ 8-5 Win Over King

Jeff Schwartz pitched strong to start the game, holding King to just one run and striking out five in three innings. The "Schwartzenegger's" efficiency on the mound normally would have meant he could have gone deeper into the game, but with three to play this week he was pulled to ensure his availability for critical match ups on Wednesday and Friday.

The transition to Ethan "Beiber" Reese was seamless as he also went three strong innings striking out three and yielding just one run. In the meantime, SLA's offense consistently put runners on base with sharp singles and a slew of doubles by T.J. Nicolella, Ian McClendon and Marshall Johnston. Five different pitchers were used, as well as two catchers who came in for Brandon Williams and John Desalis, both of which were on the DL for the game. Ethan Reese and Marshall Johnston played solid behind the plate and kept King's runners honest on the bases. Considering neither had regularly played the position prior, their performance displayed the depth of SLA, which has attributed their success to an all around team effort game-in, game-out. For the second game in a row, Ian McClendon made gorgeous diving stops at short stop to rob the opponent of sure fire extra bases, and T.J Nicolella was as solid as ever at first base.

SLA broke it open in the 5th with 5 runs when Blase Biello chopped a bases loaded single up the middle and drove in 2 runs. most notably marked by Andre Serrano's much anticipated return to the team. Serrano went 3-4, stole 3 bases, and scored 2 runs. Heading into the seventh and final inning SLA needed to switch pitchers again even though Reese had only thrown 34 pitches due to PIAA rules that determine a pitcher's eligibility based off number of innings they appear in. King scrapped together a few runs to make it a game, but with runners on second and third and one out Ian McClendon took the mound with the task of throwing gas to save the game. After smoking two pitches past their #5 hitter his third offering was ripped back to the mound and he quickly tossed to Jhonas Dunakin at third for the force out and Jhonas chased down a confused runner who was already out on the force and tossed to Isaac Adlowitz for the final out at second.

Standout Stars of the Game honors go to Blase Biello for his bases-loaded 2RBI single to break it open, and to pitchers Jeff Schwartz and Ethan Reese for 6 strong innings in which they held King to 2 runs on 5 hits and struck out a combined 8 batters. Of further mention is the much anticipated return of Andre Serrano, who received All-Public Honors in SLA's inaugural season in 2010. In his first start back, Serrano went 3-4 with 3 singles, 3 stolen bases, 2 runs scored, and 1 RBI.

With the win, SLA remains goes to 5-2 on the season, and remains in a tie for 2nd place with Strawberry Mansion. Their next game in a battle for one of three playoff spots in a division of 12 teams is on Wednesday vs Del-Val Charter (4-1).

By Innings: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7   R   H  E 
SLA (5-2)      0  1  1  1  5  0  0    8   12  3
King (1-5)     1  0  0  0  1  0  3    5    9  0

Click HERE for a full look at the PIAA Divisional Standings for 2011 Season