Leon Finney (3-5, 2B, 3B, 2RBI, 3R) Photo by Rough Cut Photographer Crystal Taylor
"They're overrated. Last year was a fluke. Look at them, they are soooooo beatable. They're nothing. We got this. Come on guys, this game is ours!"
These and other statements not fit to print were overheard prior to a major showdown between undefeated teams on Wednesday out in Mt. Airy. Marianna Bracetti, a mainstay program always in contention for the Division Title, had every reason to come into the game with confidence. Yet, The Rocket made them eat their words by working over their two best pitchers and forcing them to surrender 12 runs on 14 hits.
After Rocket Starter Ben Simon took efficient care of their top 4 hitters in the 1st, Leon Finney got the hit parade started with a laser beam into the gap in right center and easily came into third standing up. He would score moments later when Kevin Courtney hit a towering shot to the warning track in left. Had it not been for 20mph gusting winds, his blast would have been a sure-fire home run onto Sedgwick St. SLA continued to win each inning with at least one run while Simon was spitting fire at the best Bracetti had to offer. Later in the 2nd, Jason Greene plated a patient Avi Cantor who led off the inning with a walk to make it 2-0 and win the inning.
Benny Buckets took fast care of the top of their order the 2nd time around to keep it 2-0. Courtney walked to lead off the 3rd and eventually would score when Aaron Watson-Sharer drew a bases-loaded walk to make it 3-0. Simon shut them down again on 11 pitches and a bizarre heads up P1, 1-3 Double Play to end the inning in the 4th. In their half of the frame The Rocket added two more to make it 5-0 when Leon Finney beat out an infield single, stole 2nd and 3rd, and raced home behind a snoozing defense when Courtney drew another walk.
Some mental and physical errors by SLA in the 5th opened the door for Bracetti as they plated 3 unearned runs, giving them enough confidence to start chirping about an inevitable comeback. For an inning it seemed this was the case when SLA was finally held with out a run in the 5th. However, momentum shifted back to SLA for good when they responded with a 7-run 6th inning. 12 batters would tee off on arguably Bracetti's hardest throwing lefty ace- Cintron. Back-to-Back doubles by Tony Brown and Leon Finney followed by another Courtney walk led to Justice Avery's second Double, erasing those 3 unearned runs. That would have been enough the way Simon and Supovitz-Aznar were dealing, but then the bottom half of the order kept churning butter, adding another 4 runs to make it 12-3 after 6. Ben Simon struck out 10, walked 2 and only yielded 2 hits to set up Lukas Supovitz-Aznar for the "save". Over his three innings of relief Lukas didn't surrender a hit, and shut them down to seal a huge 12-3 victory.
More words were exchanged by Bracetti in those final frames, but just as before the game words simply don't sting very much after you put up 12 runs on 14 hits. Next Up: The Rocket hits the road for 3 straight vs Edison (Fri, 4/8), Franklin (4/12), Kensington (4/18).