High School Baseball:
Saturday, May 8, 1999
By Art Redd
This weekend was the beginning of the first round of the South Jersey Coaches Association 26th Diamond Classic baseball tournament. The Diamond Classic puts together the top 16 teams in South Jersey to battle for the most prestigious event. On Saturday morning at Deptford High School, three games were on tap with Cherry Hill West going up against Cherry Hill East the most interesting game of the day. After Lenape shut out Holy Spirit 13-0, and Shawnee erupted for an 11-5 victory over Cherokee, it took eight innings before the Cherry Hill battle was decided.
The beginning of this game started out as expected, two teams who have gone up against each other on countless times now battling it out in the Diamond Classic. Through the 1st five innings it was a pitchers' duel with East just holding a 1-0 lead. East's senior third baseman Arnold Zappasodi got frustrated with the performance of his team and wanted to do something about it. He did when he came through with a dead center three run home run to put the Cougars up 4-0 in the top of the sixth inning.
In the bottom half of the sixth inning, West looked as if they wouldn't produce any runs off of pitcher Chad Tennant. With two outs, West's Dan Wiest got things started with a single and Chris Estilow reached on an error. That's when Nate Cretarolo blasted a three run homer to bring West within one run. The top of the next inning, Derek Liu knocked in Dan Goldstein on a sacrifice fly to go up 5-3 in the middle of the seventh inning. West wouldn't just go away in this game.
The bottom of the inning, Estilow's single scored Wiest and Dom DelGozzo's bases loaded walk tied the game. All this happened with one out and West had a chance to win the game. But relief pitcher Andrew Townsend got out of the inning when he jammed Greg Gaul and popped the ball back to himself and grounder to second.
The Cougars' bench could sense the victory and they would not be disappointed. Goldstein's two run double proved to be game winning when he scored Andrew Townsend and Brett Canosa. Both had drawn walks to set up the table for Goldstein. Liu came through with his second RBI of the game when his single scored Goldstein. West scored one run in the bottom of the eight to make the final score 8-6 in the Cougars' favor. Cherry Hill East will face Lenape in the next round.
Photos by Dan Cleary
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