Blogs > The Best of Don Seeley's Columns

Former Mercury sports editor Don Seeley passed away in June 2013 from a heart attack. For more than a decade Seeley wrote about local sports. Featured here are his columns that were previously printed in The Mercury.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

What happens when everyone contributes

Do not even try to put a finger on what has gotten Spring-Ford’s baseball team through the postseason and into Friday afternoon’s PIAA-Class AAAA state final.
You’ll need both hands … and still run out of fingers.
"Everyone is contributing to this," Rams coach Bruce Brobst said following Monday’s 9-3 semifinal shellacking of Hempfield here at Ephrata High School’s War Memorial Stadium.
"We're getting contributions up and down the lineup, from No. 1 through No. 9," added senior pitcher Jason Ferrie.
Winning baseball, of course, begins with pitching and defense, and the Rams have sure gotten plenty of that since closing the book on a ho-hum regular-season run through the Pioneer Athletic Conference and opening a new one for the District 1 and PIAA postseason.
Ferrie, of course, has been the centerpiece of the staff. The southpaw was nothing shy of brilliant last Thursday in the come-from-behind win over Red Land, and he repeated the performance Monday with big pitch after big pitch after big pitch in the come-from-behind win over Hempfield.
"With Jason on the mound we feel we’re in every game," said senior right fielder Jon Hayes. "He keeps his cool … keeps us in every game. We’re a very confident team with him pitching."
Sophomore Elliot Criss, who became a household name of sorts in the Spring-Ford area when he defeated Boyertown and unbeaten ace Shayne Houck in the second round of the District 1 playoffs, has been almost as effective as the seasoned Ferrie in the No. 2 spot of the rotation.
And though he gets little if any credit, Anthony Quintangeli has handled both – as well as Mike Haslam and Rich Guthridge – very well behind the plate.
Defensively, there’s been a bobble or two, even an error here and there. But, for the most part, the infield alignment – Guthridge at first, Jason Sampat at second, Haslam at third and Zac Tupper at short – has been quite proficient in handling its responsibilities. They’ve made the routine plays, even come up with their share of biggies, like double plays to thwart potential rallies.
And Ken Pierson, Denny Custer and Hayes – from left around to right, respectively, in the outfield – have provided full coverage from foul line to foul line.
"We’re executing," Custer said after Monday’s win. "I think a lot of that comes from confidence. If someone makes a mistake, or we get down, we have the confidence that someone will pick us up, someone will get it done."
The mystery, or just who’s doing the pick-me-up from game to game, usually unfolds offensively. Everyone’s been doing their part, from Custer in the leadoff slot all the way down to Sampat in the No. 9 spot.
That was so evident Monday. Custer had two hits, Tupper had three, and Quintangeli had one (that tied the game at 2-2 in the fifth). Guthridge, who had the game-winning home run last Thursday, drew a key walk in the sixth that kept the rally going. Pierson worked a bases-loaded walk in the sixth. Hayes had a pair of hits and two RBI. Designated-hitter James Hoff got the Rams on the board with an RBI single in the fourth, and started the decisive sixth by hustling out an infield grounder that was bobbled. Haslam beat out a bunt that was bobbled and eventually came around to score, then dropped a two-run single into left – both in the sixth. And the unheralded Sampat set up Custer’s tie-breaking, two-run single with a perfect sacrifice.
"Everyone is making the most of our opportunities," Ferrie said.
"You never know who’s going to come up big on this team," Brobst added. "You never know who it’s going to be, but you know someone is going to strike it big for us."

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