Monday’s Catholic League matchup between the Archbishop Carroll Patriots and the Neumann-Goretti Saints was one that featured two sophomores starting on the bump. The Patriots sent their leadoff hitter and lefty Tyler Kehoe to the mound, while the Saints called the number of young righty, Joe Messina. Archbishop Carroll entered South Philadelphia on a six-game winning streak, five in the Catholic League. In the other dugout, the Saints had won two in a row after dropping their first three games.
Tyler Kehoe led the game off with a single against the man he would share the mound with, Messina. Carroll’s catcher, JR Cole Chesnet, would knock in the first run of the game with a hard double over the left fielder’s head.
Neumann-Goretti would answer right back in the bottom of the first. JR first baseman RJ McGettigan’s sac fly would plate two runs, as an errant overthrow at third allowed the second run to score. McGettigan also flashed the leather, making two nice picks at first base. After a quick Carroll top half of the 2nd, the Saints would tack on two more runs in the bottom half. JR third baseman Aidan Baur knocked in a run when he crushed a ball to right center field, that a few spectators stated had cleared the mesh fence by at least 15 feet, but was only rewarded a controversial ground rule double. Two batters later, SR second baseman Steve Pizza knocked in Baur on a groundball double right over the third base bag. “Stevie has been having great at-bats so far for us,” 4th year Assistant Coach Nicky Nardini said.
Carroll would answer with a run in the top of the 3rd on Chesnet’s second hit and RBI of the afternoon. Chesnet took pretty good hacks all day, but this would be the end of the scoring for the Patriots on the day. Messina settled in nicely after the 3rd, only allowing three more hits the rest of the way.
Kehoe’s day was finished after three innings (three innings, six hits, four ER, four BB and one K) as the Patriots went to SR right-hander Jack Houser. Neumann would add to their lead as bases loaded HBP to Pizza, and a RBI groundout for SR right fielder Brian Reynolds gave the Saints a 7-2 lead. JR lefty Ian Myers threw a scoreless 5th inning for Carroll while SOPH Dominic Proietto tossed a scoreless 6th, including two punch outs.
Messina would go the distance for the Saints, getting his last out on a strikeout, his 7th of the day. His line for the day looked like this: seven innings, seven hits, two ER, two BB and seven K (91 pitches and 57 strikes).
A big difference in the game was free base runners. Only one of Messina’s walks turned into a run for Patriots, while a few walks and miscues led to some runs for Neumann-Goretti. But that is baseball, and clearly we can see both teams are capable of pitching well and taking care of the ball as their previous low scoring affairs have shown. Carroll seems to be very poised with a youthful nucleus. Three freshmen, two sophomores, one junior and three seniors rounded out the starting lineup for first year skipper, Mike Costanzo. Kehoe, Max Hitman and Chesnet were a solid 1-2-3 punch in the batting lineup. Carroll’s first five hitters accounted for six of their seven hits. Another underclassman, FR leftfielder Drew Butera, had the other hit. Houser seems to be a reliable guy for Carroll, capturing a save against LaSalle and a win against O’Hara.
Neumann-Goretti’s first five hitters had all of the hits for the Saints, going 8-15, six RBIs and six runs. NG’s leadoff man and centerfielder JR Colin Eiser was 2-4, with a double and single (one RBI and one R) on the day. Baur finished 2-3 with an over the fence double, two runs and a RBI. SR shortstop Jared Healy played very well and added two knocks of his own. Healy is heating up with five hits in his last eight at bats in Catholic league play. “The bottom of the lineup carried us the past few games. It was nice to see those top guys hit. Jared is playing great,” Nardini said.
It is fair to say pitching is usually ahead of the hitting to start the season. Both teams have been struggling to put runs across thus far (NG 4.6 runs per game, Carroll 3.1 runs per game). Yet, Carroll’s pitching has kept them in all of their games, including four wins by one run, and one win by two runs. Neumann-Goretti has fallen short a few times due to their lack of offense early, scoring three total runs in their first three games. They have now scored 25 runs in their past three games though, perhaps turning the page. I think this was an early matchup with two teams that will benefit as the season progresses. As the weather starts to get better and with more games being played, both teams will only improve. Both teams are very young and raw, but with some games under their belt and experience, good things will continue to come out of these programs. First year coaches Mike Costanzo (Carroll) and Mike “Zoom” Zolk (Neumann) are great baseball minds to help direct these young men on the field.
Carroll is now 6-2 on the year (5-1 in the Catholic League) and will host Archbishop Wood on Wednesday at 4 p.m. Neumann-Goretti is now 3-3 (2-2 in the Catholic League) and will head to Bonner-Prendie on Wednesday at 4 p.m.