Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Moticha, Francioso lead Nottingham 14s past WW-P

By Tony Piscotta
For the Trentonian

HAMILTON - Nottingham's Steve Moticha drove a one-out, two-run single  to right in the top of the seventh and pitcher Anthony Francioso went the distance as Nottingham came from behind to defeat West Windsor-Plainsboro 4-3 in the loser's bracket final of the South Jersey Babe Ruth District One 14-year-old tournament.

"Steven Moticha came up big," said Nottingham manager Anthony Francioso, after Moticha came up with a game-winning line drive over the right side of the infield; scoring  Adam Kaczorowski and Shane Keledy.

In a well-pitched game, both Nottingham's Francioso and West Windsor-Plainsboro's Michael Radey did a nice job of navigating through the heart of the opposition lineups.

Fittingly, West Windsor-Plainsboro did not go down quietly as Matt Kooker opened the inning with a single. George Revock, whose fifth-inning double set up the go-ahead third run, hit a grounder to short that forced Kooker at second but on an errant throw Revock took second. Francioso then induced a fly ball and recorded a strike out to end the game.

"It was a great game," said West Windsor-Plainsboro manager John Radey. "We kept fighting the whole way. It would have been nice to get a few more runs. We had the guys to do it with our three-four-five hitters coming up..."

Francioso allow just four hits and struck out six in going the distance for Nottingham.  Radey, who was pitching for the first time since getting a cast on his arm removed yesterday, scuffled a bit early but left the game with West Windsor-Plainsboro leading 3-2 in the top of the sixth.

Nottingham threatened to tie the game or possibly take a lead in the sixth but some nice defense by West Windsor-Plainsboro - and a botched squeeze bunt - prevented Nottingham from scoring.

With one out,  Nottingham's Riley Schmitt hit one of the few hard balls against Radey, driving a double to right. Michael Suosso then singled - putting runners at first and third. Patrick Tso came on in relief and on the first pitch Nottingham attempted a bunt. Schmitt was hung up attempting to score but Suozzo alertly raced all the way around to third. Patrick Tso worked his way out of the jam - getting an inning-ending ground ball to third.

"We came into the game wanting to be aggressive and we weren't going to shout and holler about a couple of guys making outs. We wanted to force them to make plays."

Nottingham took the first lead of the game - scoring a run in the second inning.

Frank Lucchesi led off with a line drive single over second baseman Patrick Tso. One out later he advanced on a wild pitch and then went to third on Suosso's ground ball to second. Sean McGeehan drove a single to right - scoring Lucchesi.

Francioso cruised through the first two innings, striking out two, before West Windsor-Plainsboro put two runs on the board in the third.

Jake Nieschmidt opened the inning with a single past third base and then stole second and third. Radey, after attempting to sacrifice, walked on a 3-2 pitch putting runners on first and third. Radey stole second and Brian Tso singled to tie the game at one. One out later Nottingham walked George Revock intentionally. Drew Panson's fielder's choice ground ball to short score Radey but Francioso got a fly ball to left field to end the inning.

"My mechanics were a little off that inning but we straightened it out after that," said the younger Francioso. "My fielders started making plays in the field and they got a couple of big outs."

With the win, Nottingham clinches a berth in the South Jersey tournament in Somers Point along with Hightstown-East Windsor. Nottingham faces Hightstown-East Windsor, the winner's bracket champion tonight at 5:30. If Nottingham wins, the two teams would play a second game 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game.

Suosso, who scored two of Nottingham's four runs, was already focused on tonight's championship matchup.

"They're a good team but we're going in expecting to win," said Suosso. "Our goal is to go the states and be one game better than we were last year (in the 13-year-old tournament Nottingham was 2-2)."

Nottingham                              010-100-2---4-9-1
West Windsor-Plainsboro                 002-010-0---3-4-2

WP - Anthony Francioso
LP -  Patrick Tso

2B - W - George Revock   N - Riley Schmitt       -

RBI -W -  Brian Tso, Drew Panson, Patrick Tso   N - Steven Moticha 2, Sean McGeehan, Keledy.


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