Lenape Wins In Comeback Fashion

With an early morning start lined up, Lenape hosted regional and division rival Cherokee. Little did the spectators know they were in for a high quality pitchers duel between Richmond baseball commit and Lenape ace, Chase Topolski and Fairleigh-Dickinson baseball commit and Cherokee two-way stud, Jeremy Cheeseman. Through the first three innings both pitchers held each team scoreless. That was until Brandon Petrick broke the tie in the top of the 4th with an RBI single and drove in Brandon Prince. 

With a 1 run lead, Cherokee skipper Marc Petragnani sent Cheeseman back on the bump to keep Lenape from threatening to score in the 4th and 5th innings. Topolski held Cherokee to minimal offensive production in his 6 innings he pitched if you look past the one run. It wasn’t until the bottom of the 6th when Lenape found confidence at the plate after Cherokee had brought in Blake Weinstein to pitch. Grant Hunter started off the inning with a walk and Danny Sassaman and Max D’Alessandro followed up with singles of their own where Hunter tried to score but was thrown out at home. Quinten Acchione came up and drew a walk which reloaded the bases with Andrew Shank coming up. Shank shot a hard ground ball at the second baseman who could not come up with a play allowing Danny Sassaman to score. 

The score now tied up at 1 a piece, Xavier Aguilar came up to the plate with the bases loaded and one out. Aguilar shot the ball into the right-center field gap which cleared the bases leaving only himself at third. Lenape took a 4-1 lead after the bases clearing triple but it didn’t last long as two batters later, Zach Barbash drove in Aguilar with a double. Cherokee ended up getting out of the inning after all 5 of those runs came in. With Topolski’s pitch count at exactly 100, Lenape head coach Mike Wasienko made the call to the pen to bring in Jon Adelman to shut the door. Adelman did just that despite walking two batters. 

Lenape had completed the comeback and the celebration was on! After the game Aguilar stated that his approach at the plate was to just “drive the ball and hit it hard somewhere to give my guys a chance to score.” Commonly in a game between two elite pitchers, the common thought is that whoever draws first blood will win the game. That was certainly not the case today with Lenape ace Chase Topolski. Topolski went on record to say that the game was won by a team effort on defense and on offense. “After that first run scored, the thing that kept me driving throughout the game was the trust in my fielders knowing they will back me up out there.” Lenape head coach Mike Wasienko had said his message to the team despite being down 1-0 was to “stay aggressive and don’t stop fighting.” Clearly that message got through as the offense came alive in the bottom half of the 6th inning. Lenape continues their homestand on Tuesday (4/19) against Paul VI. 

Chris Baker from NJ Athletics. You can reach Chris on Twitter (@cbake_51) or you can reach him by email (cbake2025@gmail.com). Be sure to check out NJ Athletics on Instagram (@NJAthletics) and on Twitter (@nj_athletics)