Baseball: Evans fires shutout as Pope John Paul II sweeps Pottsgrove

By DAVE KURTZ                                                                                                                  

LOWER POTTSGROVE – Jeff Evans was on a search and destroy mission Thursday afternoon.

It took the Pope John Paul II senior right-hander several innings to find what he was looking for, but once he located his command, Pottsgrove had no chance of survival.

Evans went the distance, firing a four-hit shutout that helped produce a 5-0 victory and a sweep of a Pioneer Athletic Conference twinbill. The Golden Panthers took the opener 6-5, with A.J. Koscelansky hurling 2 1/3 shutout innings in the completion of a rain-suspended contest.

“My curveball was a little loopy at the start,” said Evans after PJP improved to 7-6 and kept its faint hopes of a PAC-10 Final Four berth alive.  “But I started getting it over, hitting my spots with the fastball and change. That gave me more confidence.”

PJP was getting some confident hacks at the plate, especially from Sal DiPrinzio and Anthony Carr. DiPrinzio led off the game with a home run, and later added an RBI-single in the fourth for a 3-0 lead. Carr swatted a two-run homer to left-center in the fifth to complete the scoring.

The Golden Panthers also got two hits, including a double, and two runs from Koscelansky. Rob Barth drove in the other PJP run with a sacrifice fly in the second inning. Pottsgrove (1-13 league, 1-14 overall) got doubles from Max Trythall and Nish Chatarjee in the loss.

In the opener for PJP, Alex DiGenova drove in two runs with a single and double and Cary Ciccone stroked a two-run single. The other Golden Panthers runs came via Dave Cotellese’s RBI-double and Evans’ RBI-grounder.

For Pottsgrove in the rain-suspended affair, Brandon Stone(double), Don Woodruff  (2 doubles) and Ryan Christman all collected two hits and George Gantert came through with a two-run single. But the Falcons were unable to dent the plate in 9 1/3 innings Thursday, and Evans had a lot to do with that.

“We gotta win out,” said Evans. “Take it one game at a time. Winning is the most important thing.”

PJP has two games left with Pottstown, two with Phoenixville and one with Perkiomen Valley as the season winds down. The Golden Panthers would need some help and a major meltdown from either Spring-Ford (12-2), Boyertown (11-4), Owen J. Roberts (11-4) or Methacton (11-4) to qualify for the Final Four.