CRESSPa. – In a way befitting a veteran of three AAABA National tournaments, Phil Stahl got through when his Philadelphia bandits relied on him the most, then played him like he wasn’t the hero, but the lucky son.
“I had the easiest part,” Stahl said. “The infield is in. There was plenty of space to hit the ball.
“The guys in front of me who came through were really the reason it happened.
“I’m lucky to be the last to go.”
Stahl’s ground player on the left side with one out late in the ninth brought home Robert Buckley with the winning run as Philadelphia came back from two runs to hand two-time defending champion New Orleans its first loss since 2018 in the last game of Pool A plays in a three-hour 17-16 barnburner appropriate for the high temperatures at Mount Aloysius College’s Calandra-Smith ground on Wednesday afternoon.
Both teams entered the game already knowing they were heading to the quarter-finals.
Philadelphia took a 14-6 lead in just six innings for New Orleans to erase the deficit in three at bats to take a 16-14 advantage in the final half.
“It shows resilience,” Stahl said. “This game didn’t mean much as we had to win. Just the fact that we are still able to compete shows tenacity, shows a lot of good characteristics that I think will help us for the rest of the tournament.
Pinch hitter Gaetan Grandelli started the rally by lining up a single with one out to the middle. Leading off batter Justin Massielo followed suit with one in the middle before Buckley walked, setting the table for Stahl.
“For me, it was just another at bat for him. I have all the confidence in the world,” Philadelphia manager Greg Olenski said of Stahl, who was 2-for-4 with three RBIs. “Any of our guys, one through nine, they all swing bats. I trust them all.
Philadelphia has scored 43 points in its three pool wins.
Pinch runner Jorden Sesar and Massielo scored to tie the game when Anthony Bruno’s helicopter ate New Orleans second baseman Jake Kauffman.
New Orleans had come off the canvas to take the lead by scoring eight runs in the eighth inning, Tyler Cook providing the exclamation point with a two-run triple in his lone plate appearance.
“It was just one of those games with a lot of ebbs and flows. They just kept fighting and we kept fighting,” New Orleans manager Joey Latino said. “Unfortunately, we had a chance to make the play there in the last set, and we didn’t. There are eight teams left. Now it’s whoever can lead the table between today and Saturday.
“Both teams were doing very well. Unfortunately, they got the big hit in the end.
Norris McClure led New Orleans with three hits — including a pair of doubles — and five RBIs. Stephen Klein, Jacob Singletary and Logan O’Neill also had three hits for the Boosters, while Remy March came in relief to allow just two base runners in three of his four innings on the mound and give the New Orleans a chance to get back in the game before Philadelphia gets to it in ninth.
“This young man (Marsh) has grown up today. He’s only 17,” Latino said.
A three-point third, six-point fourth and four-point sixth had Philadelphia celebrating, and Ethan Martini was the straw stirring the Bandits’ drink, along with Austin Stalker. Philadelphia’s No. 5 and 6 batters combined to go 6-for-7 with five runs and six RBIs through six innings. Martini hit a double to hit for the cycle and drove in five runs. Stalker doubled down twice.
“It’s a very solid formation,” Martini said. “We saw the ball well and put a lot of points on the board, and that showed today. I think it was an important match. I think it was like a statement, like “We are here”. ”
Martini wasn’t on the Bandits in 2021 when New Orleans ousted Philadelphia in the semifinals, 20-5.
“You can tell they know what they’re doing,” Stahl said.
“They play baseball. That’s what we really love, playing baseball and doing all the little things right. Hopefully we won’t play a nine hour game again, but maybe we’ll see them again.