Northeast Times

Namnun wins 100th before reigning champ Frankford falls in first round

Even when Juan Namnun ex­pects to lose, he still wins.

The Frank­ford head base­ball coach, win­ner of the last three league cham­pi­on­ships, won his 100th ca­reer game on Monday af­ter­noon as the young, up­start Pi­on­eers turned a 6-1 de­fi­cit in­to a 7-6 road win over favored rival George Wash­ing­ton. 

The vic­tory didn’t mean much as far as play­off seed­ing goes, but it pre­ven­ted the Eagles from win­ning Di­vi­sion A (Frank­lin Towne cap­tured the title with a 3-2 win over Mas­ter­man, coupled with the G.W. loss) while it gave the Pi­on­eers — who re­turned zero starters from last year’s cham­pi­on­ship squad — con­fid­ence head­ing in­to Wed­nes­day’s home play­off open­er against Edis­on, a team that beat Frank­ford 9-8 last week.

“I didn’t an­ti­cip­ate it hap­pen­ing, but it’s a huge win for us,” a sur­prised Namnun said after de­cid­ing to start all of his role play­ers. “I hate to say we didn’t plan to win today, but you nev­er know in this league. I think it shows we’re start­ing to build con­fid­ence and play with it.”

Des­pite its in­cred­ible amount of youth, Frank­ford still went 8-4 in di­vi­sion play and should not be over­looked by Wash­ing­ton or any­one else in the play­offs. After all, Namnun has said throughout the sea­son that he wouldn’t want to play his team in May. 

“The goal by this point was to have mo­mentum and gain some ex­per­i­ence,” he said. “Today, we wanted to send a mes­sage that we can hang with any­one. It has got­ten re­mark­ably more fun in the last three to four weeks.”

The classy Namnun even phoned a Times re­port­er a half-hour after the post­game con­ver­sa­tion to single out and give cred­it to as­sist­ant coach Pete Gab­ri­el’s role in Namnun’s ar­rival at 100 wins. Gab­ri­el has been there for them all, and Namnun called Gab­ri­el more of a co-coach than an as­sist­ant. It was an­oth­er ges­ture that showed Namnun is aware of the fact he hasn’t got­ten here alone. As he is every May, Namnun is grate­ful to be in this po­s­i­tion, hav­ing Frank­ford in prime po­s­i­tion to chase a fourth con­sec­ut­ive league crown.

“I genu­inely be­lieve any­body can beat any­body in the play­offs,” he said. “At this point, I couldn’t tell you who will come out on Fri­day (for the second round). I haven’t been this ex­cited to play a game and go home and find out who else won in a couple years. It’s been awhile since you couldn’t pre­dict it. It’s been real fun to score­board watch lately.” 

In the open­ing round Pub­lic League play­offs, which began on Wed­nes­day:

In Class AAAA, Di­vi­sion A top-seed Wash­ing­ton made short work of South­ern, 15-0, with sopho­more Ed­die Tingle went 3-for-3 with four RBI; on Fri­day, Wash­ing­ton will host Edis­on, which elim­in­ated three-time de­fend­ing champ Frank­ford, 5-3 (it was Edis­on’s second win over the Pi­on­eers in a week after los­ing the pre­vi­ous 25 dat­ing back to 1999). In the oth­er two first-round Class AAAA con­tests, North­east fell to Cent­ral, 9-0, end­ing the Vik­ings’ sea­son, while Di­vi­sion B champ Ol­ney shocked host Lin­coln, 6-5, by scor­ing two runs in the vis­it­ing sev­enth.

In Class AAA, Di­vi­sion A champ and top-seed Frank­lin Towne Charter, play­ing without in­jured stal­warts Steve Cal­la­han and Bri­an Brad­ley, sur­vived a ma­jor scare with a 2-1 win over New Found­a­tions Charter, in large part due to fresh­man Eric Sanc­hez hurl­ing a three-hit­ter; Towne will meet Swen­son on Fri­day, which ad­vanced with a 4-3, eight-in­ning win over Mast­baum; else­where, Boys’ Lat­in de­feated Bod­ine, 4-0, and King upen­ded Frank­lin 16-4.

In Class AA, Di­vi­sion D cham­pi­on Ta­cony Academy Charter scored a 15-3 win over Del-Val Charter, al­low­ing Ta­cony to ad­vance to play Phil­adelphia Academy Charter on Thursday.

In Class A, Rush (6-6 Di­vi­sion C) will vis­it GAMP (3-8 Di­vi­sion A) on Monday, with the win­ner set to square off against the pre­vail­ing team from the Saul (8-4 Di­vi­sion C) vs. Mas­ter­man (2-8 Di­vi­sion A) con­test, also on Monday.

After a win­ner from all four classes emerges, the Class A win­ner will play the vic­tor from Class AAAA, while the same will be done for the Class AA vs. Class AAA win­ners on May 23. The two pre­vail­ing teams will meet for the Pub­lic League title on May 27.

In the Cath­ol­ic League base­ball post­season pre­lim­in­ary round:

Fath­er Judge (6-9 Cath­ol­ic Red Di­vi­sion) lost 7-2 in an elim­in­a­tion game to Arch­bish­op Car­roll in a game held at Neu­mann-Gor­etti on Sat­urday morn­ing, end­ing the Cru­saders’ sea­son.

Arch­bish­op Ry­an (also 6-9 in the Red Di­vi­sion) got it much worse than its rivals over on Solly Av­en­ue, as Con­well-Egan pummeled the Raid­ers, 22-9 in an elim­in­a­tion game played Sat­urday morn­ing at La Salle. Con­well-Egan tied the Cath­ol­ic League re­cord for runs scored (La Salle hung a 22-spot on North Cath­ol­ic in a 2004 first-round game). 

Check north­east­times.com/sports and ted­sil­ary.com/BasePub­for2013-14.htm for up­dates of the Pub­lic League post­season con­tests. •• 

You can reach at emorrone@bsmphilly.com.

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