LEGION BASEBALL: FORT WASHINGTON’S PATIENCE PAYS OFF IN WIN OVER HORSHAM

By Andrew Robinson, arobinson@21st-centurymedia.com, @ADRobinson3 on Twitter
Posted: 06/30/17, 10:16 PM EDT | Updated: 3 hrs ago .

kellerHORSHAM >> During the high school baseball season, not a lot went right for Max Weinberg and Upper Dublin.
So far this summer, it’s been a much different story for Weinberg and Fort Washington’s Legion team. Friday night, Fort Washington brought early aggression, late patience and the same quality pitching its had all year to Horsham. The Generals only netted six hits, but they took advantage a lot of other places to generate a lot of runs.
Fort drew nine walks in the final two innings as it defeated the Macs 13-0 in five innings in a Lower Montco Legion contest.
“It’s mainly the same core group and we didn’t really say anything but we came together and knew it was time to go,” Weinberg, who reached base four times, said. “We said we’re done losing. Coach (Gary Bonitatibus) knows how to manage games and score runs so we felt like we had a good core group coming back and could be competitive in the league.”
Attrition finally caught up to Upper Dublin this spring, where the Cardinals fell from the perch atop the SOL American and didn’t qualify for districts. But with talented players like Weinberg, JT Breslin and Justin Horn, all just recently graduated, back for a last Legion season together, the Fort Washington players knew they had a second chance.
Horsham on the other hand finds itself in a tough spot as the Legion regular season comes to a close. The Macs have doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday and another game on Monday. With Hatboro-Horsham’s team making a run to the state tournament, Horsham’s Legion team fell behind making up games, leading to the backed-up schedule.
“Everybody kind of scatters and we fall even more behind trying to make up games,” Horsham manager Bill DeBoer said.
Horsham did manage something in the first inning the last two teams that faced Fort starter David Keller hadn’t. Keller, who attends Dock Mennonite, had thrown back-to-back no-hitters but had that broken up when Eric Jester singled with two out in the first inning.
The Generals got their first run on some of their trademark aggression in the second inning. On Albert John’s single, Bonitatibus sent Weinberg home from third, but a smart relay by the Horsham infield led to catcher Patrick Murphy tagging out Weinberg. Undeterred, when Joey Monaghan laid down a great bunt in the next at-bat, Bonitatibus sent John, who had advanced on the relay, home.
John made an athletic slide, slipping under Murphy’s tag and reaching back to touch home for the first run.
“We’re going to be aggressive, it’s one thing we’re known for,” Bonitatibus said. “We try to make things happen. I’ve found out over the years when you sit back, things don’t happen so we try to go make them happen. Fortunately we were able to do that, get on the board early and things just kind of rolled from there.”
Things certainly did roll. Fort Washington plated five runs on just two hits in the third inning with the big play being a two-run error after Jack Jamison had a bat break in his hands putting a ball in play. On top of the nine walks, Horsham hit four batters and committed four errors.
The Generals plated three runs in the fourth inning without a hit, with two runs walked in and the third coming around on a hit batter.
“We saw they weren’t getting strikes so you kind of make a box in your mind,” Weinberg said. “If it’s there and it’s your pitch, you swing but if not, you just let it go.”
Bonitatibus noted his team has been fortunate to have played all of its games without too many make-ups and was able to get Horn and Breslin, his other top arms, in for some work on Friday. The Generals wrap up the regular season on Tuesday when they take on Roslyn in their annual 4th of July game.
Josh Heebner had the only other hits for Horsham, a second inning single and fifth inning double. Murphy, who took a lot of punishment behind the plate, drew a walk in his first plate appearance and had the defensive play of the game.
In the fourth, Fort’s Riley Brink skied a pop-up straight up into the air, with Murphy unable to locate it at first. Once he did, the catcher was able to run after it and made a sliding catch right at the backstop fence for the out, which drew a round of applause from fans watching on both sides of the field.
“He played JV for me but I don’t think he caught an inning for us,” DeBoer said of Murphy, who played first base in the spring. “i told him, bring your gear because you will be catching in Legion. He knows what to do and he had a pretty good game. He hung tough in there.”
The Generals added four more runs in the fifth inning, again taking advantage of walks to load the bases with John and Weinberg drawing bases-loaded walks and Monaghan delivering an RBI single.
Weinberg, who is attending Virginia Tech in the fall to major in engineering, said he’s hoping to take this season as far as it can go. Fort Washington hasn’t qualified for the regional tournament in the past two seasons, so that’s a streak he and his fellow graduates want to snap this year.
The LML tournament begins after the holiday next week.
“The goal is to win the league and then it’s regionals,” Weinberg said. “I haven’t been there but Justin (Horn) has and the experiences I’ve heard, all the stories, it sounds awesome and I would love to get there.”

FORT WASHINGTON 015 34 — 13 6 1
HORSHAM 000 00 — 0 3 4
2B: Josh Heebner (H). Multiple hits: Heebner 2-2

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