Northeast Times

Washington, Towne, PACS all advance to Pub baseball Final 4

Steve Cal­la­han and Frank­lin Towne Charter have won the Class AAA title and reached the Pub­lic League base­ball post­season semi­finals.

The George Wash­ing­ton, Frank­lin Towne Charter and Phil­adelphia Academy Charter base­ball teams ad­vanced to the Pub­lic League base­ball post­season semi­finals this week. Here’s how they got there:

Wed­nes­day: 

Class AAAA cham­pi­on­ship: Wash­ing­ton 9, Cent­ral 8

En­ter­ing the sev­enth and fi­nal in­ning of Wed­nes­day’s Class AAAA title game, Wash­ing­ton held a seem­ingly-com­fort­able 9-5 lead.

Then the Eagles had to hold on for dear life.

Sopho­more start­ing Ed­die Tingle, well over 100 pitches for the game, al­lowed three Lan­cer runs to score in the vis­it­ing sev­enth be­fore in­du­cing a game-end­ing pop-out to short with the ty­ing run on second base. The bats were thun­der­ous for both sides in this one, but in the end it was Wash­ing­ton, who fin­ished 10-2 in Di­vi­sion A this sea­son, that came out on top. The Eagles scored three times in the third, fourth and fifth in­nings. Key head­liners in­cluded Ro­ger Han­son’s mon­strous 2-run homer to left-cen­ter in the third (Han­son, Wash­ing­ton’s ace pitch­er who star­ted in left field, was also robbed of a bases-clear­ing double later in the game) and ju­ni­or first base­man Ish­mael Bracy, who was 3-for-3 with two doubles and two RBI. Tingle and third base­man Scott Si­ley each ad­ded a pair of RBI. Right­field­er Melvin Var­gas, a bench­warm­er all year for Wash­ing­ton who was called upon to start when starter Pat Far­rell was sus­pen­ded for one game after be­ing ejec­ted in the Eagles’ win on Monday, notched two hits and a key catch in the field in the sev­enth. Shortstop K.J. Mc­Far­lane had three RBI doubles for Cent­ral.

“We can hit the ball,” said Eagles head coach Ken Geiser, a Wash­ing­ton base­ball alum who won a Pub­lic League title in 1978. “This is a big deal. Any­thing and everything can hap­pen.”

Wash­ing­ton moved on to Fri­day’s semi­final con­test (1 p.m., Ash­burn Field in South Phil­adelphia’s FDR Park) against Class A cham­pi­on Mas­ter­man, which up­set GAMP on Wed­nes­day. Wash­ing­ton is in pur­suit of its first base­ball cham­pi­on­ship since 1995.

“There might be one out there, but I haven’t seen a team hit­ting the ball bet­ter than us,” Geiser said. “If we don’t hit the ball, sea­son over. I think we can score more runs than any­one … we just have to prove it.”

Class AAA cham­pi­on­ship: Frank­lin Towne Charter 11, Boys’ Lat­in 1 (5 in­nings)

Frank­lin Towne needed just five in­nings for the second con­sec­ut­ive con­test to move one step closer to re­turn­ing to the Pub­lic League cham­pi­on­ship game.

Rob Henry was on base all four times he bat­ted (two hits, two walks), knock­ing in two and scor­ing three runs. Steve Cal­la­han’s double ended the game two in­nings early, and pitch­er Chris­ti­an Diaz al­lowed just one hit in five in­nings while strik­ing out six.

Towne, which fell to Frank­ford in last year’s title game, has been a team on a mis­sion all sea­son. The Coyotes lost just one Pub­lic League con­test all sea­son, to Wash­ing­ton. 

Head coach Chris Lauber’s squad will meet Class AA champ Phil­adelphia Academy Charter in Fri­day’s semi­final con­test (3:30 p.m., Ash­burn Field). Towne knocked off PACS 8-7 in the teams’ reg­u­lar sea­son meet­ing back on April 21.

Class AA cham­pi­on­ship: Phil­adelphia Academy Charter 9, Prep Charter 5

Phil­adelphia Academy Charter’s im­press­ive run con­tin­ued on Wed­nes­day, claim­ing the Class AA title with a vic­tory over di­vi­sion rival Prep Charter, who the Char­gers had beaten 11-1 all the way back in the sea­son’s first game on March 24.

Sopho­more Shane Mc­Grody went 3-for-4 with two runs scored, while sopho­more Shawn Hayes ad­ded a pair of hits and RBI. Seni­or Trav­is Zink notched the win on the mound.

“PACS 9 Prep 5. AA pub champs!!!!!” an elated head coach Jack Smith texted a North­east Times re­port­er after the win. 

Smith is the only base­ball coach in the school’s brief his­tory. He and his play­ers will battle with Frank­lin Towne Charter in a Fri­day semi­final con­test.

Monday:

Class AAAA Semi­final: Wash­ing­ton 7, Edis­on 4

Ken Geiser re­mem­bers what it was like to win a Pub­lic League title at Wash­ing­ton as a play­er back in 1978. Back as the school’s head base­ball coach, Geiser is hop­ing he can help de­liv­er the Eagles’ first cham­pi­on­ship since 1995.

They got one step closer Monday, eras­ing a 4-1 sixth-in­ning de­fi­cit by scor­ing sev­en times in the bot­tom half of the frame en route to an 8-4 win over vis­it­ing Edis­on. 

Wash­ing­ton took ad­vant­age of sloppy Edis­on field­ing in the sixth, and ace pitch­er Ro­ger Han­son fanned 11 while al­low­ing just three hits on the mound. Geiser’s Eagles ad­vanced to Wed­nes­day’s Class AAAA cham­pi­on­ship match­up with Cent­ral. The win­ner of that con­test ad­vances to the league’s fi­nal four, con­sist­ing of the top re­main­ing team from each PI­AA class. The Eagles beat Cent­ral (which ad­vanced to this game by knock­ing off Ol­ney) 9-7 on April 11.

“It’s a good sign we didn’t fold the tent when we were down 4-1 in the sixth,” Geiser said. “Ro­ger kept us in there. It’s just fun, and we look for­ward to keep play­ing.”

Class AAA Semi­final: Frank­lin Towne Charter 10, Swen­son 0 (5 in­nings)

After beat­ing New Found­a­tions Charter in a ma­jor 2-1 scare last week, head coach Chris Lauber was just glad to see his team whole again. 

Key seni­ors Bri­an Brad­ley (broken thumb) and Steve Cal­la­han (groin) re­turned to the lineup on Monday against Swen­son, blow­ing open the doors in a 10-0, five-in­ning win. Towne will meet Boys’ Lat­in, which in the Class AAA title game (Wed­nes­day, 3:30 p.m., Ash­burn Field in South Philly’s FDR Park). 

Towne banged out 11 hits, all singles, against Swen­son. Cal­la­han had two, along with four RBI, and he threw the fi­nal two in­nings in re­lief of Chris­ti­an Diaz, who struck out sev­en in three in­nings of work. 

“It’s the first time we’ve been at full strength in a while,” Lauber said. “There was a re­newed con­fid­ence with­in our lineup. It does so much for us, hav­ing lead­ers like Brad­ley and Cal­la­han back. I don’t think either knew what to do when they were sit­ting.”

Towne, which won Di­vi­sion A after an 11-1 sea­son, has un­fin­ished busi­ness after los­ing to Frank­ford in last sea­son’s title game.

“These guys know what it takes to get to the cham­pi­on­ship,” Lauber said. “They’ve already seen it all, and there’s a sense of calm about them.” 

Class AA semi­final: Phil­adelphia Academy Charter 9, Mari­ana Bracetti 5

With every win that comes their way, Jack Smith and his PACS team know they are that much closer to ac­com­plish­ing something the school nev­er has.

Dylan Pren­der­gast went 4-for-4 with three runs scored and Eric Heisler, a four-year play­er, picked up the win on the mound in Monday’s 9-5 vic­tory over Bracetti. The win al­lowed Smith, the only base­ball coach in the school’s his­tory, and his team to ad­vance to Wed­nes­day’s Class AA title game against Di­vi­sion A rival Prep Charter. A win over Prep Charter, which PACS de­feated 11-1 on March 24, would put the pro­gram two wins away from a Pub­lic League title. 

“It’s def­in­itely an ex­cit­ing peri­od for us, play­ing each game with the op­por­tun­ity for a cham­pi­on­ship,” Smith said. “Wheth­er that’s a Class AA title or the over­all Pub­lic cham­pi­on­ship, we’re still a young pro­gram, and it’s something the play­ers have strived for each sea­son, to have this op­por­tun­ity. The chance to win a cham­pi­on­ship is right there for us.”

Smith, a Fath­er Judge gradu­ate, is en­joy­ing his pro­gram, which he called “my baby,” mak­ing a name for it­self in the ex­pans­ive Pub­lic League.

“For us, it’s ex­cit­ing and ex­hil­ar­at­ing,” he said. “All of us want to win a title.” •• 

You can reach at emorrone@bsmphilly.com.

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