The Moorestown Friends Foxes defeated the Friends Central by a score of 7-3 on Wednesday afternoon in Moorestown, knocking their opponents out of the Friends School League playoffs and advancing the championship game.
The Foxes came out strong, putting up 4 runs in the first inning. Matt Mullock singled, Peter Bader reached on an error, AJ Dunham walked, and Adam Quaranta grounded out for an RBI. This put runners on second and third with one out, setting up the biggest offensive play of the game. Steven Mannion ripped a fastball over the center fielder’s head, knocking in two and racing around the bases for a triple. (Mannion would then score on a suicide squeeze with Mitchell Mullock bunting, scoring the fourth and final MFS run of the inning.)
The Phoenix made some noise in the third, getting its first hit of the game and then knocking in two runs on a single to center field. The Foxes, however, would come right back by manufacturing a run. AJ Dunham walked with one out, stole second two batters later, went to third on a wild pitch, and came home on a balk, making it 5-2 MFS.
Each team got a hit in the fourth, but the offense stayed relatively dormant until the ensuing inning. With runners on first and third, MFS took Mullock off the mound in favor of second baseman Adam Quaranta. Quaranta would throw two pitches in the inning. The first was driven to center for an RBI single, decreasing the Foxes’ lead to 5-3. The second was caught against the wall in center field by Matt Mullock.
The Foxes countered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the inning. Dunham singled to right, and Quaranta was hit in the helmet to move him to second. Dunham stole third and then came home on Steven Mannion’s sacrifice fly to right field. Quaranta advanced on Mitchell Mullock’s single to right field and went to third on the Phoenix’s second balk of the game; he scored on a wild pitch to Chris Grahn. This made the game 7-3, which would go on to be the final score.
Aside from his first two pitches, Quaranta was virtually perfect. He surrendered a walk in the sixth (on an extremely close 3-2 pitch), but he gave up no hits and struck out three batters–including back-to-back strikeouts to end the game in the top of the seventh inning.
Foxes’ head coach Ron Obermeier spoke before the game about the necessity to play clean defensively. The Foxes did just that, committing just one error and displaying strong defensive skills all throughout. Mitchell Mullock picked off a runner in third; Steven Mannion threw out a base stealer in the fourth; Peter Bader made a fantastic running grab in the sixth; and everybody made play after defensive play to lead the team to a well-deserved victory.
The championship game will be at 1 PM this Saturday at George School.