A little extra practice always seems to help in the long run.
With a chance to play for the District 4 15-year old Tournament Championship on the line, Franklin Township pitcher Dane Ciavarella took some extra warm-up pitches before taking the mound against Blue Valley South yesterday.
"It helped me a lot," said Ciavarella, who worked with pitching coach Ryan Kuehn before the opening game of a double header last night. "We were working on my off-speed pitches and everything else. It definitely helped me though during the game. It made me throw with a little bit more control towards the plate.
"With doing so, I was just able to do my thing out there today."
It more than paid off for Ciavarella as the right-hander struck out five, allowed only four hits and pitched a complete game shutout.
Franklin Township's offense provided enough run support in securing an 8-0 victory over the American Division champion Blue Valley South.
Franklin Township manager Ricky Strohl liked the way the extra work paid off.
"He looked pretty good out there today," said Strohl, who watched Ciavarella throw more warm-up pitches than he did actual pitches in the game. "He threw 75 pitches. And, with that little extra workout there, it helped him be where I wanted him to be during the game. He was definitely on today."
So was Blue Valley South starting pitcher Ryan Pysher over his six innings of work.
But, in the second and sixth innings, the National Division runners-up were able to take advantage of scoring opportunities to give Ciavarella a lead to work with.
In the second, AJ Wenrich led off with a double and then moved to third on a PJ Salerno single. After Wenrich got caught in a rundown trying to score on a Dan Dailey single, Dan Berger followed with a bloop single which landed right behind the pitcher. That gave Salerno enough time to score from third with the game's first run.
In the sixth, Franklin Township took advantage of two Blue Valley South miscues. Ciavarella and Damian Richards reached base on throwing errors. Ciavarella however was able to score on a Wenrich fielder's choice RBI.
With 100 pitches pushing Blue Valley South manager Harry Dickey to take Pysher out of the game, Franklin Township gave Ciavarella more than enough insurance runs.
Against three different pitchers in the final inning, Franklin Township benefitted from four walks, a pair of two-run singles by Anthony Rossino and Wenrich and then a two-run Dailey double to score a prolific six-run seventh inning .
"We saw Pysher, who pitched a couple of games throughout the pool play," said Strohl. "He had six innings coming into the game and we knew once we got past him we would be okay.
"But, I can't say enough about Dane keeping us in the position the whole game to win. And, being up two runs in the seventh, and getting a couple of more runs really helped us out there."
The win earns Franklin Township a spot in tonight's championship game at 6 p.m. against Blue Valley North at Christman Field.
Wenrich led Franklin Township with a single, double, a run scored and two RBIs. Dan Dailey added a single, double and two RBIs.
Franklin Twp. 010 001 6 - 8 8 0
Blue Valley So. 000 000 0 - 0 4 2
Ciaverlla and Berger; Pysher, Hydock (7), Nigito (7), Oyer (7) and DePaolo. W - Ciaverella. L - Pysher.