Brandon Simpson's right arm has put Locker Room within one victory of a George B. Kelley Federation league championship.
Mixing three pitches quite masterfully, Simpson struck out 10 Dick's Pharmacy batters Monday night, while walking none and spacing seven hits, as Locker Room took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five championship series with a 9-2 victory at Vets Field.
Locker Room has a chance to win the league title by winning Game 3, which is set for 7 p.m. tonight at Vets.
Mirror photos by Patrick Waksmunski
Locker Room’s Zach Fagans slides into third base as Dick’s third baseman Matt Frederick awaits the throw.
Simpson used his fast ball, slider and curve ball to put Dick's Pharmacy on ice after the second inning, and he also chipped in a key two-run single in the fifth inning, when Locker Room scored four times to break open a close 3-2 game.
"My slider was really working, my curve ball was really working, too, and I had good movement on my fast ball,'' Simpson said. "The fact that my teammates didn't make a single error behind me tonight was very important. It was an all-around good fielding effort.''
Locker Room manager Don Ellis praised Simpson's effort.
"He had outstanding location,'' Ellis said. "He never hung a pitch the whole night. In the third inning, he started mixing off-speed pitches in with his fast ball, and he had [Dick's Pharmacy's hitters] guessing from that point. His control was outstanding, and they couldn't sit on his fast ball. He's a good pitcher. He's a gamer.''
Locker Room bolted to a 3-0 lead after two innings. Consecutive singles by Steve Shiffler, Tyler Hennessey and Damian Lascoli, coupled with a Ken Ritchey walk and a wild pitch, produced two first-inning runs. In the second inning, an error, wild pitch and passed ball helped Locker Room score another run without the benefit of a hit.
Dick's Pharmacy rallied gamely with two runs in the second inning on RBI singles by Taylor Yon and Tyler Weyant, but Locker Room salted the game away by sending 10 batters to the plate in the big four-run fifth inning. Simpson's two-run single to left field and Ritchey's RBI double to left highlighted the inning.
"Once Simpson got a five, six-run lead, we were really confident,'' Ellis said. "A lead like that with him pitching is a real asset.''
Dick's Pharmacy manager Pat Yon said that his team is feeling the effects of having played seven playoff games in as many days.
"The kids are tired and worn out,'' he said. "[Simpson] did a great job pitching tonight, and their [Locker Room] whole team hits well. There's not too much you can do about that.''
Lascoli, who knocked in two runs and had three hits. Shiffler also had three hits for Locker Room, which hopes to finish the series tonight.
"Dick's is a tough team, and they've battled us the whole time,'' Ellis said. "Any time you can get a sweep in a series, that would be great.''
LOCKER ROOM (9): Shiffler ss 523, Hennessey lf 422, Lascoli c 413, Snyder cr-rf 100, Ellis cr 000, Simpson p 411, Ritchey 1b 311, Donovan 3b 311, Fagans cf 310, Terchanik cf 100, Dalgarn rf 200, Keller 2b 300. Totals - 33-9-11.
DICK'S PHARMACY (2): Scalice c 300, S. Lytle lf 201, M. Frederick 3b 301, Kyle 2b 301, Eckenrode cf 312, Hughes rf 000, J. Frederick dh 200, A. Lytle ph 100, Clancy ss 301, Yon 1b 311, Weyant p 201, Wilt p 100. Totals -26-2-7.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Locker Room210 041 1-9 11 0
Dick's Pharmacy020 000 0-2 7 2
E-M. Frederick, Yon. 2B-Ritchey, Eckenrode. RBI-Yon, Weyant, Lascoli 2, Simpson 2, Ritchey, Terchanik. SB -Shiffler, S. Lytle, Kyle. LOB -Locker Room 7, Dick's Pharmacy 3.
LOCKER ROOM: Simpson (W), 7IP, 2R, 1ER, 10SO, OBB
DICK'S PHARMACY: Weyant (L), 6+IP, 11H, 9R, 8ER, 3SO, 2BB; Wilt 1IP, OR, OER, OH, 2SO, OBB.
WP -Weyant 2, Simpson. PB -Scalice.
Umpires: Ron Brown (plate); Gene Decker (first base); Jim Cushion (third base). Time of game: 1:50.