KENNETT SQUARE — If it’s possible to grab momentum from before the National Anthem, it appears that Kennett managed to do it to against arch rival Unionville, in high school baseball, Wednesday night.
Kennett used a mix of great pitching to edge its neighbor, 4-2, in a Ches-Mont American Division game — featuring players many of whom grew up playing ball together on Kennett And Unionville Little League teams, as well with local Legion ball — and even before the first pitch it was clear this was no ordinary contest.
Right from the very start, the Blue Demons took control of the atmosphere for the evening varsity baseball game versus the neighboring Indians. The color guard brought out the flag, the National anthem was played, both teams were announced and the tone was set. The Kennett spirit was loud and clear with filled stands and clapping and yelling teammates and nine Unionville batters up and down in the first three innings pitched by Jay Singer.
In the first four innings Kennett scored a run each by different Blue Demon players. Luke Alikanivitch started the inning off with a single and ended up scoring on a single by Matt Catania. In the second inning Ryan Cooper hit a single off the Indians’ pitcher Tyler Fries and ended up scoring on a single by Brandon Liddick (2 for 2). And in the third and fourth inning Stephen Valentine and Tyler Hall scored on an error and a balk.
Tyler Fries pitched the whole game for Unionville and struck out eight Kennett hitters. Fries’ younger brother Kyle, a sophomore, who played right field and started a two-out rally in the bottom of the seventh with a double that was smoked out to center field. Eric Arruffo and Drew Diehl scored on Kyle’s double. The Indians had several missed opportunities earlier in the game to even things with the Blue Demons.
The Kennett and Unionville teams are both filled with boys who play on the same teams for KAU during the summer. Many of them were on the 16 year old KAU all star team last summer that went all the way to the state finals in Emporium, Pa coached by Kennett’s very own Chris Cooper whose son Ryan starred last night as second baseman. This only enhanced the rivalry that already exists between the two teams.
In the end, Kennett’s Singer was the star of the game. He pitched one out short of a complete game, giving way to Nick Massetti got the final out of the game. Singer allowed only four hits in his 6 2/3 innings of work in picking up the victory.
Next up for the Demons is Rustin today at 3:45. The Indians play Oxford at home on Friday afternoon at 3:45.