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BASEBALL: Fender's arm leads Lincoln Park past Cabrini

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Before Friday’s game against Cabrini, Lincoln Park Coach Brian Ambrose only expected his starting pitcher Joe Fender to throw a few innings in what was a non-league tune up for the district playoffs.

Instead, the senior nearly went the distance in a 3-0 win for the Railsplitters (6-13, 4-11) against the visiting Monarchs (4-15, 4-11).

Fender struck out four batters and scattered five hits in 6.2 innings of work. To get the final out, Alex Osborn came on in relief and bailed him out of a bases-loaded jam to earn the save.

“When we came in today, we thought if we got Joe to give us three or four good (innings), we’d be pretty pleased,” Ambrose said. “He threw six and two-thirds, so we got a lot more out of him than we thought we were going to get, so we were very happy.”

The Lincoln Park offense gave Fender all of the run support he would need in the first inning.

Josh Clark reached with a single for the Rails and Steve Glenn got on with a walk. Prior to the walk, Clark had advanced to third after two wild pitches.

An errant pickoff throw to first allowed Clark to score and Glenn to move up to second. Alexis Santos stepped to the plate next and knocked in Glenn with an RBI single to give his team a 2-0 lead.

After the first inning, Cabrini starting pitcher Bradley Chavis settled down and in his next four innings didn’t give up a hit and allowed only two walks.

In the top of the sixth inning, Cabrini mounted a minor threat as Erik Hicks got on base with a one-out walk. Cleanup hitter Mike Kuschel followed with a single, but Hicks was thrown out trying to take third base on the hit.

The next batter, Nick Shirey reached with a walk, but Fender then struck out Devin MacGregor looking to end the inning.

Fender said the otherwise free-swinging Monarchs had him aiming for the edges of the plate throughout the game.

“I was feeling pretty good,” Fender said. “All of my stuff was working all right. They were swinging, so I was trying to hit the corners.”

Lincoln Park added an insurance run its half of the sixth inning against Cabrini reliever Matt Barnecki Glenn started the inning with a double and Josh Crabtree hit an RBI single to knock him in.

Another tough situation for Fender arose in the top of the seventh, however.

With one out in the inning, Brandon Chidester singled for the Monarchs. Paul Girard then popped out, but a two-out walk to Domenic Fusco and single by Nathan Fryz loaded the bases.

The jam prompted Ambrose to go to the bullpen and he brought in Osborn to try and seal the win.

Hicks came up for Cabrini and drilled a hard ground ball off of Osborn, but it was stopped by Glenn at third base, who promptly stepped on the bag for the final out.

Monarchs’ Coach Doug Sombati said that his team has had a tough time at the plate in recent games. In Friday’s contest, the team did swing the bats well, he said, but the shutout was frustrating.

“We’ve been struggling hitting all year,” Sombati said. “We hit the ball harder today, that’s the positive I’m going to take out of it. The negative is that we still didn’t score a run.”

Up next for the both teams is the East Detroit Wooden Bat Tournament on Saturday.

Last Updated: 5/18/2013 10:04:51 AM EST