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Sports Article
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Graber Pitches Blazers to Victory
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            Nolan Graber has embraced his ability to pitch to contact. In the spring, he parlayed an effective changeup into Centennial Conference Rookie of the Year

Nolan Graber, a former Upper Perkiomen standout,

threw Quakertown's first complete game of the sea-

son in a 7-2 victory over the Jersey Pilots.

honors. On Saturday, Graber relied on a curve ball to toss Quakertown's first complete game of the season.

            A 2017 graduate of Upper Perkiomen High School, Graber pitched the Blazers to a doubleheader sweep over the Jersey Pilots on July 7 in the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League. In a 7-2 victory, he allowed just one earned runs on five hits while issuing just one walk and registering four strikeouts.

            "Nolan pitched really well," Quakertown manager Chris Ray said. "He looked pretty comfortable."

            In just his second start of the season, Graber allowed just multiple base runners in the third ad seventh inning. In the final frame, after putting the initial two hitters on the base on a hit batsman and a broken bat single, he struck out the next two hitters. He then recorded his first win of the season by retiring the final hitter on a bunt.

            Graber got several swings and a misses with his curve ball. "I did a good job hitting my spots," he said.

            The pitcher has embraced the team's pitching philosophy, which Ray described as establishing the inner third of the plate with the fastball, which opens up the outer third for the breaking ball.

            After allowing a run in the third inning, Graber surrendered an unearned in fourth inning. Taggert Hess, who worked a two-out walk, scored from first when Quakertown right fielder Franklin Ramirez was awarded an error after he misplayed a fly ball. 

            Quakertown opened the doubleheader at Memorial Park Stadium with a 3-2 victory. Jeff Manto's double in the bottom of the sixth inning snapped a 2-2 tie. Cameron Mathes earned the victory with two shutout innings of relief.

The following day, they swept a doubleheader over the visiting Ocean Gulls. Kadar Namey, a Harleysville resident, homered in both ends of the sweep for the Blazers (12-12). In the first game, his three-run shot in the fourth inning lifted them to a 4-1 victory. Scott McKenna, from West Chester University, tossed six solid innings to earn the victory. In the nightcap, he smacked a solo shot leading off the fifth inning in a 9-4 win.

            Graber started the summer season in the bullpen. He made six of his seven previous appearances in relief, recording two saves. Unable to overpower opposing hitters, he allowed 12 earned runs on 16 hits in his initial 12 innings.

            "Early on, Nolan tried really hard to hit every spot," Ray said. "He's learning to trust his stuff, which is good enough to get guys out."

            At Ursinus College, Graber bought into a pitching philosophy that calls for throwing multiple changeups intended to induce hitters to roll into ground balls. In nine appearances, he went 4-3 with a team-best 2.91 earned run average, leading the team in innings (43 1/3) and strikeouts (30) while issuing just seven walks to earn the conference award.

            Graber started the season in the bullpen, but emerged as a starter for the Golden Bears with a strong performance against Immaculata University. He allowed just one hit during six shutout innings of an 8-2 victory on March 28.






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