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MAY 5, 2006

(Giovannoli Brilliant in 13 Inning Pitching Performance)

QUAKERTOWN -- Vince Budzyn drove in the winning run with a single up the middle as the King's College baseball team posted epic 2-1 victory in 15 innings over six-time defending champion DeSales University in the opening round of the Freedom Conference Tournament Friday at Quakertown Memorial Park.

With the victory, second-seeded King's moves on to face fourth-seeded Drew Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in a second-round pairing in the double-elimination event. Drew was a 5-4 upset winner over top-seeded FDU-Florham in the other first-round matchup.

In what will go down as one of greatest games in Freedom Conference history, the game was reminiscent of two championship prize fighters exchanging blows and chances. The game featured everything from stellar defensive plays, to critical miscues, to clutch pitching at key moments.

None, however, stood as tall as the brilliant performance by King's junior pitcher Paul Giovannoli (pictured) who allowed a solo home run to Andrew Heard on the very first pitch of the game, but rebounded to pitch 13 gut-wrenching, blue-collar innings when the Monarchs needed him most.  After Heard's home run, Giovannoli faced 50 batters and tossed 12 consecutive shutout innings. Despite giving way to Rob Medlock after yielding a leadoff double to  Scott Matejicka in the 14th inning and getting a no-decision, Giovannoli's effort proved inspirational to his teammates who finally triumph in the 15th inning.

Medlock would lead off the inning with a single to left field. After Jeremy Faust was ruled on on an attempted sacrifice bunt when officials he made contact with the ball out of the batters box, Josh Faust singled to centerfield to give King's runners at first and second with one out. Budzyn then came to bat and his ground ball up the middle was deflected by DeSales' diving shortstop Greg Treat. Medlock would round third base as Treat attempted to retrieve the ball and the Monarch senior would beat the throw home to put a sudden end to the four-hour marathon.

The game proved to be a pitching dual between Giovannoli and DeSales starter J.T. Brotsky. With King's trailing 1-0 in the sixth inning, the Monarchs would finally reach the scoring column when Caleb Calarco singled to centerfield and moved to second on a bunt from Matt Livoy. Nick Sorino then delivered a clutch two-out single to centerfield to plate Calarco with the game tying run.

Each team made its share of key defensive plays, but none came bigger than Calarco's tremendous catch in the 13th. With DeSales runners on second and third with two out and Giovannoli still pitching, Mike Ellard lofted a foul ball down the third base line for what appeared to be an easy third out.  But Calarco slipped on the play and fell to his back. The Monarchs junior, while lying on his back, reached out and made the catch a split second later to end the threat.

In the 14th, after Matejicka had doubled, DeSales pinch runner Pat Campbell attempted to steal third base and was promptly thrown out by Monarch catcher Jeremy Faust for the first out of the inning. Medlock, who had entered the game in relief of Giovannoli after Matejicka's double, retired the next two batters to end the threat.

Each team finished with 12 base hits. King's stranded 18 runners while DeSales left 10 men on base. Calarco led King's with a 4-for-6 effort with one run. Budzyn added two hits or the Monarchs. Matejicka led DeSales by going 4-for-6 with two doubles while Heard added three hits.

Medlock picked up the win in relief of Giovannoli by tossing two hitless innings and striking out two batters. Giovannoli, meanwhile, scattered 12 hits and struck out eight batters while walking none.

Jon Chapman took the loss in relief for DeSales, which used five pitchers in the contest. Brotosky pitched seven innings and allowed six hits and one earned run while striking out four.

King's College
133 North River Street  Wilkes-Barre, PA  18711
1 (888) KINGS PA

Questions or comments to:  Bob Ziadie, King's College Sports Information Director
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