PHILADELPHIA – In the 26-year history of the tournament, the Carpenter Cup has not seen a repeat champ.
The Lehigh Valley is just two wins away from becoming the first franchise to win do just that. They beat Inter-Ac Independents, 5-3 this morning at FDR Park to advance to Sunday's semifinal game at Citizen's Bank Park. They will face either Burlington County (NJ) or Delaware County.
The Lehigh Valley came back from a 3-0 deficit as pitchers Dan Horvath (Nazareth) and Matt Yanek (Northampton) held Inter-Ac scoreless over the final five innings.
"We have 11 returning guys back this year," said Yanek. "The new guys know we're trying to win it all. We got a sense the first day of practice that our main goal is to win this thing."
Inter-Ac scored a run in each of the first three innings to take a 3-0 lead. Lehigh Valley got on the board in the fifth when Chris Rabasco (Parkland) reached on an error and scored on an Evan Fardella (Pocono Mountain East) single. Fardella scored on Jay Young's (Pen Argyl) sacrifice fly to make it 3-2.
The Lehigh Valley tied it in the seventh when Whitehall's Matt Bonshak hit a ground rule double and eventually scored on a Fardella sacrifice fly.
The Lehigh Valley went ahead in the eighth when Jay Maletz (Pius X) led off with a double and later scored on an error for a 4-3 lead.
A ninth inning insurance run sealed the win. Fardella drew a one-out walk and came around to score on a Patrick Donnely (Liberty) double for a 5-3 advantage.
Horvath didn't get the win, but he threw three solid innings. After holding Inter-Ac hitless in the fifth and sixth, he allowed a pair of hits before striking out two batters and inducing a ground out. He fanned four batters in his three innings of work.
Yanek got the win. He threw two hitless innings to finish off the game.
Tamaqua pitcher Brett Kosciolek is the only area player on this year's Carpenter Cup team. After throwing to one batter in the team's opening win, Kosciolek wasn't called on to pitch in this morning's game. He's happy to be one of just two freshman that made the team.
"It is an honor," he said, adding that it was a thrill to get to pitch in the team's first game. "It was a little nerve-wracking," Kosciolek said. "I just focused like it was a regular game."