Chris Manco follows through on sacrifice fly for 9ers Baseball Club on Friday.
By Sean Reilly
Hudson Narke could have been anxious on the mound, just as Trey Tiffan could have been overly-aggressive at the plate.
The players from Bell Ringers 2023 were facing their first game action in over a month on Friday night against 9ers Baseball Club at the Diamond Nation 17/18U Wood Bat Championship.
Instead, the duo approached their jobs with patience, and it helped their team gain a 3-2 triumph in Flemington.
Narke struck out the first two batters as part of a three-inning, one-hit scoreless start. The right-hander fanned seven overall and walked one.
Tiffan ripped an RBI double to open the scoring in a two-run bottom of the first, as the Pennsylvania-based Bell Ringers commenced their fall campaign with a hard-earned win.
“I felt pretty good tonight,” Narke, a senior at Phoenixville High School said. “I was locating pretty well, I felt like I was hitting the outside corner. I struck out the first two batters and the off-speed was working. And then Trey had a big hit and it was good to be able to pitch with a lead and focus on throwing strikes.
“This was our first game in about a month in a half,” Narke said. “Everyone’s getting back into it. I just wanted to come out and throw strikes. Walks really kill you, so I didn’t want to put too many guys on.”
After Narke pitched a 1-2-3 top of the first, Tiffan had a big hit in the bottom of the inning. Tim Dickinson led off for the Bell Ringers and reached on a walk. Jack Stead was hit by a pitch. Tiffan followed with his RBI double, and a wild pitch with Matthew Tsiaras at the plate scored Stead for a 2-0 lead.
“That was my first time I saw a live pitcher in a while,” Tiffan, a senior at Malvern Prep, said. “I just tried to not think and just let my actions take over. That was the main thing. I took the first fastball down the middle because our person stole third. The next pitch, I looked for a fastball and then hit it.”
The Bell Ringers added another run in the second. Ryan Davis led off with a walk, Sean Flynn also walked, and after the next two batters struck out, a base on balls to Stead loaded the bases. The 9ers then changed pitchers, but a wild pitch scored Davis.
Narke was replaced by the first of two Bell Ringers relievers in the fourth. The 9ers started the inning with walks to Gavin Degnan and Shaun McMillan. A double steal put runners on second and third before Chris Manco hit a one-out sacrifice fly to center field.
The 9ers closed to 3-2 in the fifth when Owen Kenney hit an RBI double to left field with one out. There were runners on second and third when the inning ended with a strikeout. The 9ers also had a runner on second with two out in the sixth, but that threat was also denied with a strike out.
The game ended in the bottom of the sixth after Davis singled with one out and the play clock expired with Flynn at the plate and the Bell Ringers holding the lead.
Both teams played second games on Friday night. The Bell Ringers were beaten by the Diamond Jacks Super 16U, 6-1. The 9ers rebounded with a 10-9 victory over the Powerballers.
The Bell Ringers finish up the event against the Powerballers (0-2) on Saturday night. The .9ers conclude against the Diamond Jacks Super 16U (2-0) on Saturday.
There are nearly 60 teams competing, with the top eight earning berths in the Columbus Day Showdown to be played next month at Diamond Nation.