Colonia Baseball Association rallied for a 14-5 win over Exeter on Tuesday night in its final game of the Baseballtown Charities Showcase. (Photos provided courtesy of Colonial Baseball Association)
COLONIAL BASEBALL ASSOCIATION 14, EXETER 5
Ben Mascio made a name for himself as the standout mound ace for the defending SOL American Conference champion Plymouth Whitemarsh Colonials. The recent PW grad – who had not hit in the previous two games of the Baseballtown Charities Showcase at FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading - found himself batting leadoff in Tuesday night’s third contest of the three-game series.
Mascio electrified fans when he opened the game with a solo blast to right field.
“In the first at-bat of the game, he hit a 350-foot home run to right field – it was a shot, no-doubt-about-it off the bat,” Colonial Baseball Association coach Chris Manero said. “That was a great way to start the game.”
“That gave us the energy that we needed to get on a roll,” said recent PW grad Emerson Abromavage.
The Colonials – minus Joe Jaconski and Mike Miller from the heart of their lineup – led for the better part of the game, but Exeter used a three-run sixth to go on top 5-4 with time about to expire.
“We were two minutes away from the two-hour time limit,” Manero said. “A couple of misplays here and there, a hit batsman, and all of a sudden we were down 5-4.
“Alex Wilkie-Viscio, who was pitching, got in a little trouble but he got the last two outs really quick with two minutes to spare.”
Capitalizing on that opportunity, Colonial Baseball Association erupted for 10 runs in the top of the seventh to win it going away. As endings go, this was a good one.
“It was just a really good group,” Manero said. “After the game, there were a couple of guys that really didn’t want to leave the field. They just wanted to stay out there on the field.
“We’re so grateful to have the opportunity to go up there and play those games. For the Reading Phillies to put that on, I think for our guys – especially our seniors who didn’t get to have their spring season, I have no doubt in my mind that they feel very fulfilled by these games.
“For all of them to be out on the field together tonight and to come off the field together. To then sit back and watch a 10-run inning take us into next year. It was nice – they kind of passed the torch tonight. The underclassmen used it and took advantage of it.”
Rising senior Joe Rauscher earned the starting nod and threw three innings, allowing three hits and two runs (both unearned) while striking out one and walking none.
Manero’s starting lineup featured nine of the 10 seniors on the roster. The tenth – Daulton Carlisle – is sidelined with a torn ACL. With one out in the sixth inning, Manero gave the seniors a final curtain call when he removed them all from the game.
“I had Daulton (Carlisle) go out to the mound to make the pitching change,” Manero said. “All the seniors came out and the underclassmen took their places.
“We have a nice tradition where the underclassmen take a baseball and write a note on the baseball. Each one is assigned a senior, and when they went out on the field, they handed that baseball to the senior they were replacing. That was a really nice moment. You could see the emotion in some of their eyes.”
For the seniors, the moment marked the end of a special era.
“When we came in and sat down, we were hit with the reality that this was the last time we were going to play on a field together,” Abromavage said. “For some guys, that was the last game they’ll play. It was basically a good experience. It was a good thing Manero did for us – it just meant a lot.”
Unfortunately for CBA, when the seniors left, Exeter staged a comeback, putting three runs on the board to go on top 5-4. Colonial Baseball Association had an answer, benefitting from three walks, two hit batsmen and a costly miscue.
Highlights of the inning were back-to-back-to-back doubles by Abromavage (2 RBIs), Jesse Jaconski (RBI) and Anthony Viola (RBI). One out later, Jack Hildenbrand drove in a pair with CBA’s fourth double of the inning. Joe Capriotti singled and scored a run in the inning.
Abromavage, who will continue his baseball career at Clarion University, finished the game 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles, two RBIs and three runs.
“He really hit the ball well in this series,” Manero said. “He was a guy who played jayvee last year as a junior, so this would have been his first year as a varsity player. He probably would have been our first baseman.
“He never really got the full year of varsity experience, but in the three games he played up here, I thought he played a really good first base, and he had some really big hits for us. Of the three games, the guy who I thought opened up our eyes and took advantage of the opportunities the most was him.”
Kevin Reilly was 2-for-4 with three runs scored while Quin Dye was 2-for-2 with three RBIs. His two-run triple to right center keyed CBA’s three-run first. Capriotti was 2-for-2 with an RBI and run scored.
Mascio threw 2.1 innings, allowing two hits and two runs while striking out six and walking two, but it was his leadoff home run that stole the spotlight on this night.
“Last year, he started to become a bigger piece of the lineup,” Manero said. “He had a couple of big home runs for us. The best one ever – he was pitching against Wissahickon on our field, and he had a no-hitter. We were about to 10-run them, and with two outs in the fourth inning, he let up a home run. Ben was our leadoff hitter in the bottom of the inning, and the very first pitch – he just crushed the ball over the right field fence. It’s so symbolic of his competitive nature.
“He’s a good hitter – he puts a charge in the ball. In an era where so many guys are pitcher only, he’s probably the pitcher who’s gotten more at-bats than any in a long time. When he’s on, he’s a big-hit kind of guy.”
With the win, the Colonials won two of three games in series at FirstEnergy Stadium, home of the Reading Fightin Phillies.
“It was definitely a good experience – it was really a nice field to play on and a great group of guys to play with,” Abromavage said. “It was a good way to wrap up baseball with everything that’s going on right now. Obviously, coronavirus was not in our favor, but we made the most of it.
“I wasn’t sure how things were going to turn out in the spring, and to do one last thing with my teammates definitely meant a lot. It was a great group of guys. I’ve been friends with most of them my whole life and been playing with them since I was seven years old. It was a very good way to wrap it up.”
Colonial Baseball 301 000 10 14-13-3
Exeter 200 003 0 5-6-2
Bat boys Brandon Wooldridge and Joseph Thomas both are fifth graders. Brandon plays baseball in Plymouth Little League and Joe plays in Whitemarsh Little League.