MANCHESTER — The 2018 Tom Kerrigan Memorial Tournament couldn’t have gotten off to a better start for the Susquehanna League champion East Prospect Pistons.
After loading the bases in the top of the first inning of their opening game against Philadelphia on Saturday, Travis Hake smoked a three-run double to put the Pistons ahead for good.
While there were more standout moments for the Pistons during a thrilling but exhausting three-day weekend of contests, the East Prospect crew had no answer for an all-star team from the Perkiomen League.
The Perky All-Stars sent the Pistons in the losers' bracket of the double-elimination event after a convincing 8-0 triumph Sunday morning. After battling back to reach the championship finals, the Perky squad again put the lid on EP en route to winning the 2018 title after a 4-0 triumph on Monday afternoon.
The runner-up finish for the Pistons was not the one they hoped for, but they did take a bit of solace in the knowledge that they became just the second Susquehanna League squad (Red Lion was the other) to make it to the Kerrigan finals.
“We had a great year,” EP manager Mark Toomey said. “There’s no two ways about it. We can’t hang our head right now.”
The Perky All-Stars didn’t just dominate the 2018 York County champions from East Prospect, but also the entire 16-team field. The Kerrigan champs outscored their opponents 21-2 en route to a perfect 5-0 mark.
”These guys beat us twice,” Toomey said. “They’re just a phenomenal baseball team. They have a lot of horses on that team.”
Joe Harris was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Pitcher after earning the victory in the title contest for the Perky All-Stars. Harris pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings over the tournament, which included a victory and a save. Harris allowed two hits while fanning seven.
While the Perky squad won with outstanding pitching, Toomey’s crew got to the finals on the backs of their hitting. The Pistons scored 38 runs while winning five of their seven contests.
Derek Pitzer, a pick-up from York Township, was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Pitzer finished with 10 hits, half of which were doubles, in 26 at-bats for a .385 average. He scored three runs while driving in 10.
Pitzer, who wasn’t around last year to play with his Township squad in the Kerrigan Tournament, gave a lot of the credit for his hot weekend to his teammates.
“It was just really contagious,” he said. “When the top of the lineup like Bren (Taylor), AT (Anthony Torreullas) and Ryky (Smith) are getting on base, that makes it a lot easier for me and Hake when we have two or three guys on base.”
Weekend round-up: While East Prospect became the third local team to make the finals over the past three years, the Pistons were unable to achieve the same feat that Jefferson and Stoverstown accomplished before them by winning the crown.
The Titans, who entered as the defending tournament champs, were stopped by the Perky All-Stars in the winners' bracket quarterfinals. After winning back-to-back games in the losers' bracket, Jefferson was unable to get past Cecil County, the team they defeated en route to winning last year’s crown.
Stoverstown was also bumped out of the winners' bracket in the quarterfinals. The Tigers were dropped by Cecil County. After rallying back to defeat the New York Hawks in the losers' bracket, the Central League regular-season champs were eliminated by Staten Island.
Hallam, the 2018 Susquehanna League playoff champion, had a disappointing weekend. The Express scored just one run while dropping a pair of games against the Susquehanna Assault and the New York Hawks.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.