Holmes helps LV advance at Carpenter Cup
Derek Holmes came through with plenty of big hits for Northwestern.
While his career with the Tigers is now over, that doesn’t mean he has stopped producing.
On Wednesday at the Carpenter Cup Classic in Philadelphia, the senior delivered a key two-run double to help the Lehigh Valley squad gain an 8-4 victory over Suburban One American/Continental.
The win sends LV into the quarterfinal round, where it will face Berks County on Friday. The contest will be played at 2 p.m. at UYA Ashburn Field in FDR Park.
“Let me tell you, (Derek) did a hell of a job,” said manager and former Palmerton coach Ted Plessl.
“He came into the game in the fifth inning and had a big hit for us.”
Lehigh Valley built a 6-0 advantage in the contest, using a four-run fourth inning to gain its lead. But Suburban One responded with four runs in the home sixth to cut the gap and gain some momentum.
Soon after, Holmes made his presence felt.
An infield hit and a walk put two runners on base with one out in the eighth. Northwestern’s Rafe Perich grounded a ball to the right side, moving both runners up a base.
With two outs and a pair in scoring position, Holmes came through with his double to plate two more runs and give his team some more breathing room.
“The pitcher on the mound from Suburban One, he’s about 6-4, 220 pounds,” said Plessl. “I knew all about him. He throws 95 miles-per-hour and his changeup is 88. I got that verified by a scout today, who had a radar gun on him.
“Rafe did his job moving the runners and that was key, but we had two outs. Derek comes up and he takes one of those fastballs, and I mean he hit a rocket. It was a low line drive and it was sinking. The center fielder tried to make a diving catch and he didn’t get it and it went for a double. That gave us two runs and made it 8-4, and now we’re in the driver’s seat.”
Lehigh Valley pitching closed out the contest with two shutout innings to advance.
“Our defense played really well today,” Plessl said. “We did make two errors ...but overall I thought we did a good job on defense.
“We only struck out six batters. So out of 27 outs, that means the other 21 were made by the defense. Our pitchers induced a lot of pop-ups and ground balls, and our defense was there to get the job done.”
One of the pitchers who helped get the job done for LV was Daniel McEvoy of Pleasant Valley. McEvoy entered the game in the fourth.
After retiring the side in order in the fourth, he also threw a scoreless frame in the fifth. He got into a little trouble in the sixth before being relieved.
“McEvoy threw two good innings for us,” said Plessl. “He came in in the fourth and had a shutdown inning. I’m a big believer in the importance of shutdown innings. We scored four runs and then he had a 1-2-3 inning.
“He gave up a baserunner in the fifth but got out of that. He came out in the sixth and got the first out, and then gave up a couple hits and a walk. Overall, he pitched well.”
Speaking of hits, the winners received three of them from Central Catholic’s Brian Horoshko, who also knocked in three runs. Horoshko, who was an alternate and ended up on the roster after another player had a medical issue, was part of an offense that finished the day with 13 hits.
“We hit the ball well with both of our lineups,” said Plessl, who made full changes in the fifth inning to give all 20 players a chance to play. “Our guys were swinging the bats and they were making contact. We were moving runners. And, getting timely hits.
“We handled them, so we are going to need to do that again come Friday. If we can play our game, we should be fine. I think we have a team that can go far. They’re all good teams. There’s not one bad team in the bunch. So, you’ve got to play up to your potential each and every game.”
LOCAL FLAVOR ... Besides Holmes, Northwestern’s Perich played short and had a walk to go along with his ground out. PV’s Dallas Greenzweig and Brandon Ratti both saw action. Each of them played four innings and went 0-for-2 with a walk. The Bears’ Matt Burnett was also announced as part of the team, but he cannot play due to an injury he sustained during the high school postseason.
CUP HISTORY ... The Carpenter Cup has been in existence since 1986. Lehigh Valley has won the title three times — 1998, 2001 and 2011.
FRIDAY STARTER? ... Northwestern’s Carter Welch, who went 10-1 with the Tigers this season, could get the start on Friday against Bucks County, who posted a 3-0 victory against Delaware County in its first-round matchup.
Lehigh Valley 110 400 020 - 8 13 2
SOL Am./Cont. 000 004 000 - 4 7 4
Zwolenik, McEvoy (4), Mahady (6), Waller (6), Staivecki (9) and Greenzweig, Transue (5); Valenti, Hamilton (3), Lowe (5), Curran (6), Bitski (8) and Hicks, Reilly (5). W - Zwolenik. L - Valenti.