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BASEBALL: Haverford Holds Off Malvern Prep, Friars Ultimately Secure Inter-Ac Title

By Zach Gephart Photos: Ryan Nix, 05/08/24, 1:00PM EDT


Photos/Videos: Ryan Nix & Zach Gephart

By: Zach Gephart


PHILADELPHIA - With their title hopes on the line, Haverford School’s Kevin Reavey pitched a gem to edge out Malvern Prep 2-1 in a nail-biting win.

Malvern Prep was on a dominant roll leading into Friday afternoon’s matchup. Winning 15 of their last 16 games, the Friars had developed a tendency to score early and often. They scored eight runs in half of these contests, virtually overwhelming the competition. Offensively, they were led by seniors Jonathan Holt and Cole Kirschner, who hold a.448 and .413 batting average, respectively. As for the Fords, they had recently found themselves in a slump. Losing five of their last six games, they struggled to get their bats going. Averaging just three runs across this stretch, Haverford’s big hitters would be crucial to get going in this contest. For them, this rested in the hands of junior Brenner Green and senior Connor Scanlan. With a win in this game, the Fords would drop Malvern Prep one game further from the Inter-Ac title to keep their dreams alive. The Friars, however, would secure the title outright with a win.

The matchup proved to be a defensive duel, with just three total runs being scored across the board.

Reavey was crucial for Haverford’s success, pitching a total of six innings while allowing just four hits. In addition to his one run allowed, the senior struck out a total of 10 batters. Offensively, Green smashed a line-drive home run to put the Fords’ only runs of the game on the board. However, senior Brandon Dunbar contributed with two hits of his own. Malvern Prep struggled to get any momentum going, grabbing just four hits to result in one run brought in.

Their best moment came from junior Andrew Pellicciotta, who crushed a home run of his own to bring in the Friar’s sole run of the game. Ultimately, however, it was not enough to hold off a slim 2-1 Haverford win. With the victory, the Fords stay alive for the Inter-Ac title.

“[Winning the title] would mean everything [to us],” said Reavey. “We knew coming into this season [that] this year could be the year. We’ve got the guys, we’ve got a special team, and this game brought us closer.”

Malvern Prep kicked off the game with a single by sophomore Jackson Melconian, who shortly after stole his way to third base. After a walk brought two runners into scoring position, the Friars were halted on a groundout to end their side of the inning. The Fords, however, came out red-hot with Scanlan quickly grabbing a single to get the team on base in the first inning. Shortly after, Green came up to bat. After a few pitches, he rocketed a hit into deep left field for a two-run homerun. Two more batters were walked before a groundout concluded the inning with a 2-0 Haverford lead.

Haverford School vs. Malvern Prep - PSD Highlights by Zach Gephart

Post game interview with Haverford's Kevin Reavey - PSD Video by Zach Gephart

Post game interview with Haverford's Fred Jordan - PSD Video by Zach Gephart

The second inning began with another groundout before senior Grant Kennedy snuck one through the infield to grab a double for Malvern Prep. Unfortunately for the Friars, this is as far as Kennedy got due to another groundout ending their side of the second. Haverford continued to build on their momentum from the first inning, snagging a Dunbar single to kick off their side of the second. 

Next, sophomore Jaidyn Rivera tacked on an additional single to bring two runners onto the field. Scanlan added on to the single party next, loading up the bases for Green and junior Zac Fuscaldo. However, Friar senior DJ Peterson dug himself out of the hole with a strikeout and groundout to conclude the inning.

The third finally saw a Malvern Prep score after two batters were put out early. Pellicciotta struck a laser out of the park to put the Friars on the board with a single-run homerun. Unfortunately, their batting ended shortly after due to a Reavey strikeout. The Fords struggled to respond, having just one batter walked before a flurry of outs suddenly ended the inning. Heading into the fourth, the Fords held a narrow 2-1 lead.

The next batter to come into play for the Friars was senior Mason Clark, who hit a double to bring the tying run into play. After a steal shortly after, all Malvern Prep needed was a hit to tie the game up at two. Yet again, though, a Reavey strikeout and a pair of groundouts kept them from evening the scoreboard. Although Haverford struggled to get on base this inning themselves, time was beginning to run short for the Friars as the two headed into the fifth.

Malvern Prep continued to stall in the fifth as Reavey grabbed two quick strikeouts to pair with a pop-fly out. Haverford struggled in this inning as well, as a near double play brought their outs remaining to one before a pop fly ended the inning. In a quick turn of events, the sixth was upon the two squads.

Reavey began the conclusion of his stellar day with a strikeout to cut the Friars’ total of outs left to two. After walking sophomore Brady Abate, the pitcher rallied back with two strikeouts to quickly silence a late Malvern Prep rally attempt. The Fords, meanwhile, quickly tacked two outs of their own to harm their chances of extending their lead late. A Dunbar single was quickly extinguished by a third and final out to end the inning.

Then, Reavey was replaced by Haverford senior Fred Jordan who looked to finalize the win.

Jordan first finessed a pop-fly out from Kirschner, bringing the needed-out total to two just a few moments into the final inning. After an additional out in the same manner, Jordan needed just one more out to secure the save. However, sophomore Jackson Melconian grabbed a single on the Friars’ last breath to give them hope. As the final batter loaded up with two strikes on his count, Jordan threw a dime to secure the narrow 2-1 win for Haverford.

“Keeping the game quick [was key],” said Jordan. “...It just keeps everyone alive, it keeps everyone in the game, and it gets the crowd going.”

Friars Ultimately Clinch League Crown

Although the Fords won this game, Haverford dropped a 4-1 ensuing contest to Germantown Academy yesterday afternoon, bringing their current league record to 6-3.

Consequently, Malvern Prep (8-1 Inter-Ac) maintained their composure and secured the Inter-Ac title with a 6-2 victory over Penn Charter. In yesterday’s matchup against the Quakers, junior pitcher William Oschell was credited with the win after pitching 6 innings, striking out four and allowing only three hits. Melconian went 2-3 with 3 RBI and one stolen base. Clark also went 2-3 with an RBI double and Pellicciotta also notched an RBI double.

The Friars will conclude the regular league season on the road against Springside Chestnut Hill on Friday, while the Fords will host Episcopal Academy. Both games are slated to begin at 4 p.m.

Malvern Prep senior Jonathan Holt talks about the team controlling their own destiny and what it meant to play for the Friars - PSD Video by Zach GEphart

More on Malvern Prep’s 2024 Inter-Ac title coming soon!