Butler holds on, nips Vincentian
Fleeger, Negley, Hays help top state champs, 6-5
By John Enrietto
Eagle Sports Editor
Running deep into foul territory from his second base position, Cade Negley dove for a baseball that would have ended the game had he caught it.
The ball hit his glove and bounced out as a result of Negley’s collision with the ground.
It was OK. Negley did his damage earlier — collecting three RBI singles — and Butler escaped with a 6-5 non-section baseball victory over defending PIAA Class A champion Vincentian Wednesday night at Kelly Automotive Park.
“I really wanted to make that catch. I had it ... If I hold onto it, that might have wound up on TV on ‘SportsCenter,’” he said, laughing.
Negley delivered run-scoring singles in the first, fourth and fifth innings. The last one drove home Jacob Keene with two outs with what proved to be the deciding run.
“Cade made solid contact with each trip to the plate tonight,” Butler coach Todd Erdos said. “They were clutch hits. They were needed hits.”
The Golden Tornado won the game despite stranding 12 runners — including the bases loaded twice — while receiving nine walks and getting two batters hit by pitches.
“Unfortunately, that’s been an issue with us, leaving guys on base,” Negley said. “That’s part of baseball, though. Sometimes you’re going to hit ‘em in, sometimes not.
“When I’m up in those situations, I try to envision myself working the walk or lining a hit somewhere. It’s that positive mind-set that helped me tonight.”
Vincentian was missing its starting catcher and third baseman due to illness. Royals starting pitcher Jimmy Seskey threw 102 pitches, walking eight, and worked only three innings.
“When he’s got his control, Jimmy is very effective,” Vincentian coach Paul Quarantillo said. “Tonight, he couldn’t find it.
“We got out of trouble a few times, but you can’t hand a team the quality of Butler that many runners and win. We were fortunate to stay in the game.”
Brandon Fleeger was the Tornado’s starting and winning pitcher, working five innings and striking out seven.
“He settled down after a rough start and gave us some good innings,” Erdos said.
Ryan Linn allowed a run in the sixth before Dallas Gays pitched the seventh — and slammed the door.
Butler had threatened to break the game open in the bottom of the sixth. Walter Ziegler’s bunt single, an infield single by Justin Stewart and Keene getting hit by a pitch loaded the bases with no one out.
But Steven Turziani struck out Adam Hohn and Ziegler was cut down at the plate trying to score on Jake Slomers’ shallow fly out to center.
“We hung in this game,” Quarantillo said.
But Hays took them out of it.
The Tornado’s right-handed closer struck out the side in the seventh for the save. He began the inning by fanning No. 4 hitter Kyler Fedko, who joins brother Christian Fedko as a University of Connecticut baseball recruit. The duo combined for three hits, two RBI and two runs scored Wednesday.
“Dallas struggled with control in a pre-season exhibition game,” Erdos said. “But he definitely found it tonight. He threw strikes and went right at some very good hitters.
“We went tooth-and-nail for seven innings against a strong opponent. It’s good preparation for Pine-Richland (Friday afternoon at Kelly Automotive Park).”
Quarantillo said Wednesday’s game “was a good experience for us. I’m grateful to Butler for playing us. We got a lot from this game.”
Vincentian 103 001 0 — 5 9 1
Butler 202 110 x — 6 8 0
W: Brandon Fleeger 5IP (7K, 3BB). L: Steve Turziani 3IP (4K, 1BB).
Vincentian (1-2): Ryan Bickert 1B, Jimmy Seskey 3B 1B RBI, Christian Fedko 1B RBI, Kyler Fedko 2B 1B RBI, Sean McGrail 1B RBI, Steve Turziani 1B, Dan Morgano 1B
Butler (3-1): Dallas Hays 1B, Connor Ollio 1B 2-R, Cade Negley 3-1B 3-RBI, Walter Ziegler 1B, Justin Stewart 1B, Jacob Keene 1B,