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BASEBALL: Carroll Falls to Sun Valley, Uses Non-League Slate to Prep for Catholic League Play

By Mike Livingston, Archbishop Carroll Jr. Reporter, 03/27/24, 11:00AM EDT




RADNOR, PA--The goal for Archbishop Carroll baseball was made clear this offseason, returning to contention. With a few big-time additions, some names coming up through the ranks and heaps of returning talent; a reach for Philadelphia Catholic League (PCL) glory does not seem too far from reality for the Patriots.

Despite a disappointing 4-2 extra innings loss to Sun Valley Tuesday afternoon, the Patriots are looking ahead at the PCL campaign with excitedly wide eyes. 

“We are going to go 1-0 tomorrow,” said Patriot head coach Jonathan Grosse. “It's what I just said to them, while yea these count - ultimately today was our last dress rehearsal and we’re just going to have win it when it really counts.”

The Catholic League proved to be a gauntlet for the Patriots last season. Going just 4-8 through their 12-game season, Grosse’s club barely squeaked into the 10th and final playoff spot only to be quickly dispatched by Cardinal O’Hara in the play-in round. 

Now with the addition of former Penncrest High School standout Gavin Wray along with a plethora of new names Carroll has their heads held high going into league play.

Wray, a multi-sport athlete who was a first team All-Catholic selection for the Patriot’s football club in the fall, is committed to the ACC’s Eastern Carolina for baseball. The righty has made waves throughout the area for his rocket arm, routinely sitting 90-93 on his wicked fastball while topping out at around 94-95. Wray has also worked in a few breaking pitches which are just the cherry on top of what he’s brought to Carroll. If he can keep control of his pitches, Wray looks to be one of the scariest arms in the PCL this season. 

A few more big names coming up through the ranks this year include sophomore Nick Gilroy, junior Andrew Mulligan, and sophomore Liam Wray who are all progressing at tremendous paces and looking to make huge contributions to the club already. 

As far as returning talent goes, junior Jaylen Tidwell along with the senior trio of James Wright, Dylan Gallagher, and Stephen Thomson. The latter of whom secured Carroll their only three runs of the afternoon. 

Thomson, broke Carroll’s scoreless stretch and gave his Patriots the 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning as a chopping single scored both (Gavin) Wray and Gilroy. 

“Coming off last Thursday against Haverford High School, this is definitely a better feel,” said Thomson. “We’ve been putting the ball in play much more around the field, and we’re definitely having a lot more fun in the dugout - guys are a lot happier on the field you can see it on their faces running on and off. So, we’re looking forward to tomorrow, looking forward to the rest of the week and the rest of the season.”

That nonetheless would prove to be all the Patriots’ offense had in the tank as they struggled to get much else going off a strong Sun Valley pitching staff. 

Though while the Vanguards pitching held strong through the later parts of the game, it was the Patriots horses who got them through the majority of the contest in particular the efforts of senior starter Marco Petroccia and reliever Anthony Auteri.

Archbishop Carroll head coach Jonathan Grosse. (PSD photo by Colleen Claggett)

The pair combined for seven innings of two-run ball, as Petroccia let up an RBI single in the third followed by an error in the 7th which allowed the tying run to score. 

“It was exciting man,” said Petroccia. “It was exciting getting out there on the bump, especially starting. We wanted to bring this one home, but it just didn’t go in our favor today. “

Petroccia and Auteri did get Carroll through the thick of the contest allowing a whopping 9 runners to be left on base and letting just two runs in. 

It wasn’t until extra innings that the Patriots finally gave way as senior pitcher Michael Edwards allowed two runs to cross the plate, giving Sun Valley a 4-2 lead that Carroll would never win back. 

“On the back of this team’s chemistry I can see this club going as far as we want it to,” said Thomson. “As long as we’re playing with our heads up and playing together and of course having fun I think it’s no question we can go as far as we want to.”

With the loss, Carroll falls to 0-3 on the young season - taking losses to both The Haverford School and Haverford High School last week. Carroll will head into their Catholic League schedule with a home contest this afternoon against Cardinal O’Hara. First pitch is at 4 p.m.