AAABA 2022 Delgado, Philadelphia hold off Columbus 12-10 in Pool A contest

·4 min read

Aug. 1—ST. MICHAEL, Pa. — It looked as though the Philadelphia Bandits were cruising to an easy victory over Columbus Knights in a Pool A matchup on the first day of the 77th AAABA Tournament.

However, Columbus made the Bandits sweat it out by scoring six runs in the bottom of the ninth inning. With the potential tying run on second base, Philadelphia right-hander Matt Goldenbaum ended the game with a swinging strikeout as the Bandits hung on for a 12-10 triumph at Forest Hills Junior-Senior High School.

"Obviously, that's the most important thing is to get a win," Philadelphia manager Greg Olenski said. "It wasn't the prettiest win, but at the end of the day, we'll take it. I thought our offense swung the bats really well.

"I thought Ethan Weiss threw a very great game, for the most part, pounding the zone and shut them down pretty much after that first inning. He had one hiccup where he balked in that run. Outside of that, I thought he threw the ball really well today."

Philadelphia, a 2021 semifinalist that went 4-1, scored in each of the first six innings to put pressure on Columbus. Three Bandits provided three hits apiece, led by Xavier Delgado's 3-for-5 effort with two home runs, three runs scored and two RBIs.

"It definitely feels great," Delgado said of starting 1-0. "It was very crucial to keep adding on every chance we got. Looking back at the final score, everything was worth it. We're glad to get the win."

Both teams collected 14 hits in the game that lasted three hours and 31 minutes.

Philadelphia's Anthony Bruno and Robert Buckley each supplied three hits. Bruno homered and drove in three runs. Buckley doubled and scored three runs. Wyatt Baker added two knocks.

Noah Sprowls led the Knights attack with three hits, including a double, two runs and two RBIs. Columbus' Eric Colaco, Brayden Quincel, Logan Ullom and Hunter Wilson each contributed two hits.

Philadelphia went ahead 2-0 in the top of the first on Bruno's RBI single and Phil Stahl's fielder's choice.

Columbus answered with a trio of runs in the bottom half off Weiss. Braden Reed launched a solo homer to left field. Quincel and Ullom provided an RBI double and single, respectively.

Delgado homered on a 1-0 pitch from Levi Hammond to tie the game at 3-all.

"Second time around, I was able to see a slider in the dirt," said Delgado, whose older brother Greg posted the tournament's highest batting average in 2019. "I spit on it. I think he wanted me to try to chase it (second pitch), but he left it up, and I was able to hit that then."

Philadelphia retook the lead in the third on a throwing error and Dean Bergmann's RBI groundout. The Bandits led 5-3.

In the fourth, Delgado homered to left-center field on a 2-2 count.

"It was a two-strike approach where I was able to get my hands around on an inside fastball," Delgado said.

Gaetan Grandelli's sacrifice fly and Austin Stalker's RBI single lifted Philadelphia's lead to 8-3.

Columbus scored on a balk in the bottom of the fourth to pull within 8-4.

Buckley's fielder's choice and Bruno's two-run shot to left lifted the Bandits' lead to 11-4. Buckley drew a bases-loaded walk in the sixth.

Columbus began the ninth with Eric Colaco's triple, a walk and two singles. Sprowls drove in two with a single to center. Colaco scored on a wild pitch. After two flyouts, two walks extended the inning. A throwing error and Colaco's RBI single brought Columbus within 12-9. Reed was hit by a pitch to bring in the 10th run. A strikeout left the bases loaded.

Weiss earned the victory, permitting four runs over five innings.

Philadelphia left 14 runners on base, including three in the first, sixth and ninth innings, and Columbus stranded 11.

Columbus manager Daniel Crabtree LePara could not be reached for comment.