WHITEMARSH — At one point it seemed that the Plymouth Whitemarsh scorekeeper had gotten so used to putting up zeroes on the scoreboard that even after the Colonials had put up their one and only run, he returned with yet another zero in his hand.
His walk of shame back to the scorers table for a one card was worsened by the heckling of the Upper Dublin dads chiding him to embarrassment in his blunder, an embarrassment probably magnified by this article (sorry, dude). Yet, the only zero the Colonials have seen all season long is the digit in the loss column.
That one run, a hard slap by cleanup hitter Brett Highland, was all the Colonials needed to continue their campaign with a 1-0 victory over the Cardinals.
"We've been finding different ways to win games and we've played a lot of close games,' said PW coach Chris Manero. "I think we've been fortunate with our veterans and guys with experience from last year. They're using what they've learned.'
With players returning like Connor Purdy, who was on base for the timely hard-hit ball by Highland, and pitcher Michael Whalon, who finished the complete-game shutout, the Colonials (7-0) have fought with grease, grit and grime to climb atop the Suburban One American standings.
"It was just a team effort all around,' Whalon said. "You're only as good as the guy sitting next to you on the bench.'
Through four innings the opposing pitchers had not allowed a runner to cross the plate. Upper Dublin came the closest, with Harrison Guber breaking for the bag, but finding only a tag by Colonials' catcher Highland instead.
"We didn't hit very well today (in certain situations),' said Upper Dublin coach Ed Wall. "I told the boys that I take responsibility for nothing having them prepared that way.'
Coaching third base, Wall sent Guber running for home on a sac fly, but underestimated the arm of Zach Metz, an ace pitcher for the Colonials, who threw a strike from right field.
"The last two games we've had some big defensive plays — both games we've had outfield double plays — and those things help,' Manero said. "I don't think (our) pitchers have to go out there and worry about plays not being made behind them, so they're not afraid to throw strikes.'
While each of the opposing pitchers had similar results, both got outs very different ways. Dan Jacobson of Upper Dublin had much success turning groundball outs while Whalon was zeroed in on the strike zone — he struck out six in the contest.
In the top of the fifth, Purdy got a leadoff walk, moved to second with two outs when Matt Nardo earned a base on balls and then got over to third on a passed ball. When Highland stepped to the plate, his smash to left was the first hard hit ball of the day for either team, but it was all the Colonials needed.
"That kid was a great pitcher. He was throwing very hard fastballs,' Highland said. "It was a great feeling to put my team ahead with that hit to get the runner in.'
"One thing he did today, and he does a lot, is he makes adjustments in the at-bat,' Manero said. "There have been at-bats that haven't started so great for him and he's come up with a lot of two-strike hits and two-out hits.'
After a short break, the Colonials will travel to Cheltenham on Monday where they will play the fellow league-undefeated Panthers for the top spot in the SOL American Conference.
"We're a team where nobody is overshadowing anybody else, everybody knows there's going to be a time for them to contribute,' Manero said.