WILMINGTON — Archmere and Concord took their baseball game on April 18 to Frawley Stadium, and the game delivered an ending worthy of the venue. A three-run triple by Chris Albero in the bottom of the seventh capped an Auks comeback as Archmere overcame the Raiders, 6-5.
The Auks entered their last at bat having managed just two hits and one run off Concord starting pitcher Jackson LaPerle. He kept the Auks from making good contact, and when they did, his defense was there to support him. Finally, however, Archmere put it together in the seventh.
They trailed, 5-1, with three outs to go. Kyle Zahnow walked to open the seventh, and Aiden Bellew came in as a courtesy runner. Jason Lotkowski then singled, and Ryan Campbell doubled, scoring Bellew. P.J. Blessington walked to load the bases, and LaPerle was lifted. Andrew Firko entered in relief for Concord.
The first batter he faced, Alex MacWilliams, also walked, driving in a run to get Archmere to within two runs. That brought Albero to the plate; he had singled in the fourth for the Auks’ first hit. This time, he drove a pitch over the head of the Raiders’ centerfielder, and the runners were off. Campbell, Blessington and MacWilliams all scored, and the Auks raced toward third to mob Albero.
Concord had been in the lead since its first at bat. The Raiders scored three times in the top of the first off Auks starter Carsten Kaiser. Firko singled to lead off, and the next two batters reached on errors, allowing Firko to score. A sacrifice fly scored the second run, and Ryan Brooks singled home the third run. Concord loaded the bases with two outs, but the Auks escaped further damage.
They added two more in the fourth. Bakir Avent singled with one out, and Firko scored him with a triple down the right field line. The Raiders added a fifth run when Firko scored on an error.
LaPerle, meanwhile, faced just one batter above the minimum through the first four innings. A batter reached on a strikeout and wild pitch in the first and was promptly caught stealing. Avent made a nice running catch in the second to prevent a hit. And after Albero singled in the fourth and went to second on a groundout, Firko made a running catch along the left field line to prevent a run from scoring.
The Auks broke through in the fifth with two outs. Two walks put a runner in scoring position, and MacWilliams singled to left to score Campbell. But Concord first baseman caught a popup a step from the wall down the right field line to end the inning. Two Auks reached base in the sixth, but the Raiders turned a 5-4-3 double play to get out of trouble.
Albero had two hits to go along with his three runs batted in. MacWilliams was on base twice, drove in a pair and scored, and Campbell and Blessington each were on base twice and scored. Jonathan O’Boyle struck out six in 3.2 innings of relief. The Auks (5-2) visit Wilmington Friends on Friday at 4 p.m.
For Concord, Firko was on base four times with two hits and two walks. He stole two bases, scored twice and drove in a run. Brooks had two hits and an RBI. LaPerle struck out three. The Raiders fell to 5-4 and play Odyssey Charter on Wednesday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. at Rockford Park.
All photos by Mike Lang.