**Note: This article originally published in The Reporter and on GameTimePA.com**
WORCESTER — Sometimes the best things are worth waiting for. That was exactly the case for the Christopher Dock baseball team Wednesday.
Despite a one-hour, 47-minute rain delay the Pioneers were able to combine quality pitching with timely hitting to become the District 1-A champions with a 5-2 win over Delco Christian.
The game started innocently enough, with two scoreless innings before Delco Christian struck first on an RBI single by Dylan Campbell. Dock (15-4) answered back as they’ve done all year, picking up three runs in the bottom half of the third behind RBIs from Jimmy Kustra, Tim DiLoreto and Andrew Walters.
“Tim DiLoreto and Andrew Walters always come in great,’ Dock head coach Ed Melendez said.'”This is a combination that hit well in the clutch the entire season…we try to play a little bit aggressive to put those guys in position to be clutch and they want to be there.’
Then, as the Pioneers were warming up in the top of the fourth the rains came. And came. And came. Dock was ready to win its district championship behind starter Danny Sabath, but Mother Nature had other ideas.
“We went on the bus, we’re sitting there for probably an hour and there’s no way I want to bring Danny Sabath back,’ Melendez said. “I played this game a lot and I have a lot of respect for this game — but I especially care about my players.’
Sabath struck out three and walked one in his three innings of work. He surrendered just two hits.
“We wanted to finish this game,’ said Walters about the rain delay. “We felt pretty good coming here today and we didn’t want to have to come back tomorrow because we felt it today.’
Evan Trauger came out of the rain delay throwing hard for Dock, but he also struggled with his command. In his three innings of work Trauger walked four and struck out four while surrendering Delco’s second run in the sixth.
Luckily in the fifth, the Christopher Dock offense was able to get him some insurance runs, and it was the Pioneers two clutch hitters who came through again. After a walk and a single to start the inning, DiLoreto came through with an RBI single and Walters followed that with a sacrifice fly to left. That made the score 5-1 and the district champs had all the runs they would need.
“The key (for us) was the pitching,’ Melendez said. ‘ I know I had a really good pitching staff throughout the season… I tried to get the guys a little bit more relaxed today.’
Fittingly, in the end, the men who got it done at the plate were the battery mates to finish out the game. With DiLoreto behind the plate, Walters came in and got the save with a 1-2-3 seventh that saw him strike out two of the three hitters he faced.
“I just wanted to go in there and throw strikes,’ Walters said. ‘ At that point that was most important. We had given up a lot of walks so I tried to pound the zone.’
The Pioneers know the PIAA playoffs are on the horizon. But that doesn’t mean they won’t savor being the 2015 district champions.
“We’re gonna enjoy it now. I already emailed and texted my athletic director.’ Melendez said. “This is great for the school. I’m really proud of every single one of my players. I’m proud to be a coach at Christopher Dock.’
District 1-A Final
Christopher Dock 5, Delco Christian 2
Delco Christian 001 001 0 — 2 2 1
Christopher Dock 003 020 x — 5 6 0
WP: Danny Sabath 3 IP 2 H 1 R 1 ER 1 BB 3 SO.
LP: Danny Browne – 5 IP 5 H 5 R 5 ER 3 BB 1 SO 2 HB.
S: Andrew Walters – 1 IP 0 H 0 R 0 ER 0 BB 2 SO.
SB: CD-Kustra (2).
Delco Christian: Campbell 1-2, RBI; Moorhatch 0-2, R, BB; Butler 0-2, R, BB; Grim 0-3, RBI; Van Meerbeke 1-2, BB.
Christopher Dock: DiLoreto 0-1, 2 RBI, BB, HBP; Walters 0-2, 2 RBI, HBP, SF; Kustra 2-3, 2 R, RBI; Alderfer 0-1, R, BB, HBP; Brunk/Glancey 1-3, R.