The Philadelphia Bandits put runners on base in all seven innings they played on the way to sweeping to a Pool C victory with a 14-3 victory over the Columbus Jets on Wednesday in a AAABA contest at Roxbury Park.
“It was a good game where we came out and swung it pretty well and got on the board early and we know it’s easier on us if we can get out of here in seven innings,” said Bandits’ catcher Jake Wyandt, whose 3-0 team will face Maryland State on Thursday in the first-round of the elimination portion of the tournament. “Our pitchers today were mostly throwing fast balls and getting up in the zone and getting ahead early in the count to stay in the game.”
Philadelphia also pounded out 13 hits with Wyandt getting on base five times, going 4-for-4 with a double and scoring four runs. Jack Cucinotta was 2-for-3 with a run scored and one batted in while Dutch Reardon went 2-for-4 with three RBIs and Greg Delgado added two doubles with two runs scored. Phil Stahl and Matt Smith each scored twice.
“I think that’s been a theme for us all week, where we’ve been playing for each other,” Philadelphia manager Greg Olenski said. “It’s selfless baseball. They know we need runs and our guys are doing everything they can to score. I think we are peaking at the right time.”
The Bandits jumped on Columbus starter Ethan Kellner for three runs in the second inning on a pair of hits along. A number of stolen bases, wild pitches and a passed ball helped tally the Philadelphia runs.
In the next inning, Philadephia sent 11 men to the plate and tacked on six more runs for a 9-0 advantage. The Bandits lifted their starting pitcher Ryan Staropoli for Ben Spadea in the third inning.
Columbus responded with two runs of its own in the bottom of the third as Cole Hofman was hit by a pitch from Spadea in the lead-off spot. A walk to Jason Schutte put the runners on first and second. After a strikeout, Chase Clouser singled home Hofman and Schutte was plated on a Jake Latkofsky sacrifice fly to pull the Jets to within 9-2.
But the Bandits kept pouring it on adding two runs in the fourth and three more in the fifth for a commanding 14-2 advantage.
Columbus got another run in the sixth inning as Jones was hit by a pitch from reliever Greg Sylvester and went to second on a Hofman walk. Schutte’s single plated Logan Jones, but that was all that the Jets could muster.
Andrew Barnhardt finished 2-for-3 for Columbus (0-3).
“They kept trying,” Columbus manager Tony Perz said. “It’s tough when you only have so many bullets in your holster. We are a little light on pitching, but we knew that coming in and it catches up to you at the end. You have to give Philly a lot of credit. They were loose, they were relaxed. They had fun and they enjoyed themselves and really showed their talents.
“Our kids kept talking and supporting each other even when we were down by double digits. You could easily just be quiet and be done with it and walk away, but that was good to see them keep coming for the entire game.”
Olenski says his team came into the tournament with a mindset.
“I think the main goal coming into this tournament is to survive pool play and advance to the single-elimination,” the Philadephia manager said. “Then it’s all hands on deck and win or go home.”