John Knebels

John Knebels

One more game, and Catholic League baseball’s regular season will close its curtain.

But look at the standings.

Of the 12 teams, La Salle, Neumann-Goretti, Archbishop Carroll, St. Joseph’s Prep and Archbishop Wood are tied for first place with 8-3 records. The next two squads – Archbishop Ryan and Father Judge – are at 7-4. Next up at 6-5 is Cardinal O’Hara.

This is the first time in league history that five teams remain alive for a regular-season title with only one contest remaining.

So what’s the deal?

“Every team in the league is very good, but they are also very beatable,” said Father Judge senior Christian Lutz. “Also, that is why it is the best league in the area, because it is so unpredictable and anything can happen at any given time.”

Archbishop Wood senior Cody Cracknell stressed that no team can look past another, regardless of where it sits in the standings.

“I think the whole league is competitive and has been all year,” said Cracknell. “Every game matters in this league and every team knows that. In my opinion, anyone can beat anyone in this league, and it really comes down to playing the game and wanting to win.”

According to St. Joseph’s Prep senior Colin Scanlon, this year’s standings represents the breadth of the entire league.

“The Catholic League for most sports is very even skill wise,” he said. “It has such a good reputation for its competition, so everyone comes out with intensity every game.”

La Salle junior Andrew Cossetti, however, pointed out that baseball’s peculiarities make it different than other sports.

“Baseball is a weird game,” said Cossetti. “Anybody can win on any given day. Some days the bats are alive, and other days they aren’t. The same goes with pitching. Baseball is unpredictable. The best team doesn’t always win. Often times, it’s the team that wants it more.

“With the playoffs just around the corner, you’ll start to see which teams want it more because they will be the teams that prevail in the end.”

Monday’s action will determine the final regular season standings. The key contest involves two 8-3 teams when Archbishop Wood plays St. Joseph’s Prep. The winner is guaranteed a share of the best record before tie-breakers take effect. La Salle visits Cardinal O’Hara, Neumann-Goretti hosts Roman Catholic, and Father Judge travels to Archbishop Carroll.

Therefore, it is conceivable that four different teams will finish 9-3. That would be a Catholic League first, and it would support the earlier comments that every game is just as important as the next.

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John Knebels can be reached at jknebels@gmail.com or on twitter @Johnknebels.