Hurricanes survive marathon
TJ Prontnicki waited patiently for his chance to take part in Thursday's night's Keystone Senior Babe Ruth tournament game against Phillipsburg.
With his Franklin Township Hurricanes' season on the line in the loser's bracket of the double elimination tournament, Prontnicki entered the game in the top of the 11th inning. He got his first chance at the plate in the bottom of the inning.
Prontnicki waited on the right pitch then put an end to a long game with the an RBI-single in a 7-6 victory over the Indians at Christman Field.
"I was waiting for my pitch," said Prontnicki. "I was looking for a fastball and I got it on the first pitch. I came back and hit it down the (third base) line and we won the game off of it."
"He had good at bats all tournament," said Franklin Township manager Ricky Strohl. "It stinks that there's not enough spots in the lineup for everybody. He's one of our guys that can hit the ball. What he did doesn't surprise me. He was the right guy for the right time."
His big hit would not have been necessary had the Hurricanes been able to cling to a 5-0 seventh-inning lead.
The Indians scored six runs on four hits in the seventh as the Hurricanes made all five of their errors in that inning.
Starting pitcher Zach Rex threw a four-hit shutout over the first six innings before giving way to Mike Hickey in the seventh. Dave Ciavarella relieved Hickey later in the inning. He not only got his team out of the long seventh, but he also finished off the game for Franklin Township.
"To win like that is awesome," Strohl said. "But to let it get to that point is not something I really expected or wanted to get into. We came together and played defense in the extra innings. We got good relief pitching from Dane. I really can't say much more. I'm proud of the kids, but I'm a little disappointed to where it got to."
Ciavarella threw five shut-out innings and had solid defense played behind him. He also had a pair of singles, a double and an RBI in the game. He was glad to see Prontnicki finish it off in the 11th.
"TJ really helped us out there in the end," Ciavarella said. "We all hit the ball. He just hit the ball in the gap and we scored and that was it.
"All I did was throw strikes out there. That was it. We got a great defense and in a game like this you have to have great defense. One mistake and you could mess up and that could be the game. They came back from being down 5-0. That was a headache, but we kept our heads in it and we came back like we can and we won the game."
Franklin Township moves on to face Lower Nazareth in the National Division loser's bracket final. Lower Nazareth beat the top-seeded Hurricanes in the first round of the tournament.
"They beat us in the first found," Strohl said. "Revenge is always sweet, right?"
Franklin Township's Billy Angst had two doubles, a triple, two runs scored and an RBI. Hickey had two singles and a run scored. Rex scored the game-winning run after being hit by a pitch, moved to second on a fielder's choice and trotted across on Prontnicki's RBI-single.
Phillipsburg 000 000 600 00 - 6 10 4
FT Hurricanes 100 013 100 01 - 7 15 5
Lioloia, Woscek (6), Duffy (7), Vegh (11) and Marinelli; Z. Rex, Hickey (7), Ciavarella (7) and Duvigneaud, Shanton (11). W - Ciavarella. L - Vegh.