Warwick, Mountville set stage for showdown

Warwick Phillies pitcher Nate Hess throws a pitch in his complete-game 7-4 win over Donegal.

By Dave Byrne
Sports Staff

Memo to the Philadelphia Phillies: You can outhit your fielding mistakes. You can overcome baserunning blunders.

The Warwick Phillies proved that Monday night in a 7-4 victory over top-seeed Donegal in the opening night of the 68th New Era Tournament’s Midget-Midget championship series.

They will play the Mountville Indians tonight in the winner’s bracket semifinal. Donegal (31-3) will face Manheim VFW — an 8-7 loser to Mountville in Monday’s second game — in an elimination game at 6 p.m., with Warwick and Mountville to follow.

The Phillies overcame seven errors in the field with a 10-hit attack and pitcher Nate Hess settled in after a rocky start, allowing four hits and four runs — one earned — while walking one and striking out nine.

In many ways, the game was a microcosm of the way the Phillies (17-14) started the season, losing four of five before righting the ship.

“In the beginning of the season we started off slow, and ever since that we’ve played good,” said second baseman Brandon Perezous, who erased the memory of an early error with two sterling fielding plays in the fifth.

He also contributed to the offense with an RBI double in the second inning and an RBI single that capped the Phils’ three-run fifth inning.

“I was angry with myself earlier,” Perezous said. “But I got over it; just got ready to make the next play.”

That approach is the hallmark of this squad, according to coach Dana Clark. “We’ve worked on composure after the error,” he said. “Collect yourself and make the next play.

“Tonight was as composed as I’ve seen them after an error. They saved themselves the big inning.”

After a two-run first, Donegal scored single runs in the second and third — neither earned.

But Warwick kept after it on an RBI double from Gabe Cicala (3 for 4, 3 doubles), and Bryan Rottkamp’s single. Rottkamp came around on an error to knot the game, setting the stage for the Phils’ fateful fifth.

Justin Minnich put the Phils ahead on an RBI hit and Justin Byler made it back-to-back on a single to left.

Perezous wrapped up the scoring and Hess wrapped up Donegal, retiring the last seven batters. In the nightcap, Ryan Moffatt earned the victory in relief for Manheim. Moffatt also went 3 for 3 at the plate with four RBIs, including the game-winner.

Moffatt walked and scored in the first inning, doubled in a run in the second and doubled in two in the third as VFW and the Indians chased the moon across the skyline.

With the score tied at 7-7 going into the fifth inning, VFW reliever Drew Mummau hit Mountville’s Josiah Snyder with one out.

Snyder advanced to third on a pair of wild pitches, but Mummau got Ty Vaughn for the second out on a great catch by Keith Hollinger in left.

Then Moffatt rolled the first pitch to third for an infield single, scoring Snyder. Logan Givler closed the door on Manheim in the sixth for the save.

VFW broke on top as Jake Novak stole home on the front end of a double steal and Evan Hosler drilled a three-run homer off the scoreboard in the second inning to give VFW a brief 4-3 lead.

RBIs from Garrett Bruckhart and Dawson Good put Manheim ahead once more in the third, and B.J. Fisher’s fourth-inning single tied the game one final time.

Warwick’s Carter Forney slides safely home during a big fifth inning for his team.

Manheim’s Jake Novak slides safely home in front of the tag of Mountville catcher C.J. Saylor.

Mountville’s Ty Vaughn slides into second as Manheim’s Drew Mummau avoids the collision.