Blazers' first baseman Connor Donovan makes a dive for a ball hit down the first base line in the second game of Sunday's doubleheader against the North Jersey Eagles at Quakertown.
Pat Donnelly and Ryan Filipowicz did their best Sunday afternoon to extend Quakertown's winning streak. Donnelly drove in the go-ahead runs in the second game of a doubleheader against the North Jersey Eagles, and Filipowicz recorded the final six outs for his league-leading eighth save in a 5-3 victory in the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League.
The Blazers (17-19), who posted a 10-5 victory in the first game at Memorial Park Stadium, have won nine straight. Coming to the ball park every day has become fun, according to Donnelly. "This team is fun to watch right now," Quakertown Manager Mark Angelo said after the sweep. "Earlier in the year we saw flashes of offense, defense and pitching. Lately, we've been able to put all three facets together every night."
With four games remaining, the Blazers remain a longshot to reach the league playoffs, according to Angelo. "I'd rather not talk about it right now," he said. "I don't want the players thinking about anything other than winning."
Donnelly's two-out, two-run single bottom of the fifth off Eagles pitcher Matt Hennie staked Quakertown to a 3-2 lead. "Pat wasn't trying to do too much," the manager said. "He's a very confident player. He has improved defensively this season, and it has affected his entire game."
The shortstop from Lehigh University fouled off several quality pitches before lining a 3-2 fastball a few inches off the outside corner to right field. "Considering the circumstances, it was a really good at-bat," Donnelly said.
Hennie started the at-bat with a series of off-speed pitches, then tried to record a strikeout with his hard stuff, according to Donnelly.
The pitcher threw more breaking balls and changeups in the fifth than in previous innings, according to Angelo. "You could tell he was getting tired," the manager said of Hennie.
Filipowicz came on for a two-inning save. He finished the top of the sixth with a flourish, striking out leadoff hitter John Brucker with the potential tying run on third base.
After Quakertown scored twice in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI double by Kevin Jewitt and a run-scoring hit by Ed Posavec, Filipowicz secured the win in the seventh.
However, he allowed three hits and one earned run, the first this season in 18 2/3 innings with Quakertown. "Ryan can crank his execution up to another level," Angelo said. "He's done it all year. That's why he is the closer."
In the early game, Corey Baiada, a Harleysville resident, paced the Blazers' offense with two hits and three RBI. Cody Stoneback, a 2012 graduate of Quakertown High School, retired the side in the seventh inning to end the game.
The 6-foot-7 right hander, who plays at Millersville University, has a 4.98 ERA this season for the Blazers. In 21 2/3 innings and 12 appearances, Stoneback has walked 17, struck out 11 and recorded two saves.