STOVERSTOWN — There’s an old saying that the third time is the charm.
While that may not always be true, it certainly was Tuesday evening for Stoverstown right-hander Trevor Farrell.
After earning no-decisions in the two prior meetings between the Tigers and Glen Rock, Farrell was finally able to get the better of his rival.
Farrell allowed just six hits over seven innings while fanning nine to pick up the victory when his Stoverstown club earned a pivotal 2-1 Central League triumph over Glen Rock.
The victory provides an extra layer of cushion for the two-time defending champions. The Tigers improved to 17-5-2 (53 points), six points better than second-place Glen Rock, which fell to 15-6-2 (47 points).
In their two previous meetings this season, Glen Rock and Stoverstown battled to 2-2 and 0-0 ties. Farrell started both of those games, too. In his three outings this season vs. Glen Rock, he's given up just three runs in 20 2/3 innings, but until Tuesday evening, he hadn't gotten a win.
Not easy: It wasn’t easy, by any means, for Farrell or his team. After scratching across the first run of the contest in the bottom of the first on an RBI double by Xavier Bonilla, Farrell appeared to be well on his way to claiming his first win of the season vs. Glen Rock.
Just like the contest a few weeks ago that ended in a 2-2 deadlock, however, the visitors were able to even the score when Zach Nadolny launched an opposite-field flyball just over the fence in right field in the sixth inning to tie the scored at 1-1.
“Zach, that’s what he did in the last game,” Farrell said. “He was sitting off-speed and that’s how they tied it up with a longball back then. I thought I buried (a curveball), but for him to do it again just shows that he’s a good hitter.”
Tiebreaking run scores on error: With the score tied heading into the bottom of the sixth, it seemed likely that the two rivals would play to a third tie this season.
A leadoff single by Stoverstown’s Joe Capobianco, however, was followed by a wild pitch and a passed ball, moving the go-ahead run to third with no outs.
A popup to second and a strikeout, however, left the home team with just one last chance to gain the upper hand against Glen Rock starter Steve Cooke, who allowed just one earned run and five hits while striking out seven over six innings. Cooke appeared to get just what he needed when he induced a slow roller to second off the bat of Jon Sager.
To the surprise of both squads, the ball was bobbled before a hurried throw to first sailed over the outstretched glove of Glen Rock first baseman Dan Rhodes. Capobianco was able to score for the eventual game-winning run.
“I’m glad that it didn’t end in another tie,” said Farrell, who pitched collegiately for NCAA Division I Bowling Green University. “This game could have kept going on.”
Defense key for Tigers: It didn’t because of Farrell's work, as well as Stoverstown’s trusty defense. Second baseman Nick Spangler was able to turn two double plays late — one to end the fifth inning and one to end the game in the seventh.
“We have a lot of good guys on this team and they all make good plays,” Farrell said. “I know we played good baseball, but so did Glen Rock. Glen Rock is a really good team.”
Friends on Glen Rock: Farrell knows that first-hand. He played on a team with a number of the Glen Rock players in the past.
“It was a tournament called the Battle of Baltimore,” he said. “And we ended up winning it. Rhodes, (Dan) Rogers, (Scott) Merkle, Andy (Rosenzweig) and Justin (Anderson)…we all played together. And it was really good to play with them.”
So did that make Tuesday’s victory any sweeter for Farrell?
“It’s really good whenever we play against them,” he said. “But it’s even better to beat them.”
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.