Stumpo, Honce propel Bridgeport by Philip Barbour

by Frank Tate


(May 22) PHILIPPI -- Philip Barbour knew it had its work cut out.

In order to win the Class AAA Region III, Section 1 title, the Colts would need to defeat Bridgeport twice in two days. For four innings, it seemed they were on their way to accomplishing half their goal. Then, without warning, their normally solid defense came apart.

Four fifth-inning errors resulted in a 10-5 Indians win that gave them their second consecutive sectional title.

The win sends Bridgeport into Tuesday's regional semifinal against Elkins at Frank Loria Field.

Down 5-2 in the fifth inning, the Indians needed a spark and got one when senior shortstop Michael Stumpo and junior starting pitcher Joe Honce connected for back-to-back home runs to cut the deficit to 5-4.

"We started out slow and we needed something to give us a boost," Stumpo said.

"So Joe and I got things started and everybody else seemed to follow our lead."

After an intentional walk to Zach Anglin, the Colts seemed poised to get out of the inning. But that's when things turned sour.

Justin Belcastro's fly ball looked to be the third out of the inning but was misplayed, allowing Anglin to score the tying run.

Belcastro moved to third as the relay throw was missed and rolled to the dugout.

Belcastro scored the game-winning run when J.R. Frenzel followed with a ground ball that was misplayed for another error.

"We woke up in the fifth inning," Bridgeport coach Robert Shields said.

"I told the boys we were playing right into their hands and building Philip Barbour's confidence."

"I'm proud of the way the kids responded. We attained one of our goals, but that is only one step toward where we want to go."

The Indians scored four more runs in the sixth to put the game away as Stumpo homered again and Adam Belcastro had a two-run double.

That provided freshman pitcher Paul Graeber with more than enough support.

Graeber replaced Honce in the fifth and was unhittable. The lefty tossed three innings of no-hit relief to get the win. He struck out four.

"Paul Graeber did an excellent job," Shields said.

"Joe was struggling a bit and I made the move. Paul kept the ball down in the zone and got the outs we needed."

Honce led the Indians (22-6) with three hits while A. Belcastro had two doubles. J. Belcastro added a two-run home run in the second inning.

Jonah Barkley suffered the loss for the Colts (13-13).