BY JEFF FALK
ANNVILLE – Heavy underdogs, Annville has adopted an ‘us against the world’ mentality. In fact, there probably exists only one group of people who believe it can upset Fredericksburg.
On Tuesday evening at Annville-Cleona High School, Annville employed its rally-around-each-other approach to piece together a wild final-inning rally and surprise mighty F-burg 2-1, in Game Two of the Lebanon County American Legion Baseball League’s best-of-three Warren ‘Lefty’ Grumbine championship set. Pinch runner Trevan Elliott scored the winning run from third base on a wild pitch with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, after Annville had entered its last at-bat facing a 1-0 deficit.
A batter earlier, Hunter Long had tied the game at one apiece with a booming double to center field off Fredericksburg starter Wyatt Beakler. Long’s two-bagger plated Izaiah Trimble, who had started the rally with a similar, well-stroked double.
Trimble’s and Long’s doubles were the first two – and only hits – off Beakler.
The decision tied the title series at a game apiece and set up a third and decisive one, scheduled for Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Earl Wenger Memorial Field in Fredericksburg. Second-seeded Annville, now 12-7, is expected to send right-hander Alec ‘Gator’ Barr to the hill, while top-seeded and regular season champion Fredericksburg, now 14-3, is expected to counter with southpaw Jordan Nichols.
Fredericksburg still leads the overall series with Annville this summer, 3-2.
“If we were playing here tomorrow, I’d guarantee victory,” said Annville head coach Ken Sauley. “We battle. We only had one game when we weren’t in it. We have to find a way. That’s why I tried to steal home (in the bottom of the fifth). Some people wouldn’t have tried to score on that passed ball (in the bottom of the seventh), but I’m out of pitching.
“I went from here to here (emotionally), real quick,” continued Sauley. “I was telling our guys, ‘Relax. Make contact. He’ll (Beakler) provide the power.’ They finally listened. Izaiah had a key hit and Hunter came through, after he was in the hole and got the count to 3-2. He got all over that pitch.”
“I guess only we do (believe they can beat Fredericksburg),” said Annville starter and winner Mitch Long. “And our fans and our coaches. This was a great, exciting game. It shows we can beat anybody.
“I wanted to get on base (in the bottom of the seventh) to get Izaiah up,” added Long. “But he came up and hit a double, and he scored on Hunter’s double. Then we scored on that passed ball, and I can’t even put into words my emotions.”
“No, we didn’t take them (Annville) lightly. They (his players) know they’re a tough team,” said Fredericksburg head coach Tim Schaeffer. “We were a little bit flat with the bats tonight. But we’ll have fun tomorrow night.
“The ball got away from the catcher,” Schaeffer continued. “Stuff happens. We usually play solid defense. But this one got away from us.”
Though not as overpowering as Beakler, M. Long pitched extremely well in his own right. M. Long yielded three hits, whiffed three and walked one. Working on two days rest, M. Long counted 81 pitches.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Sauley. “Most kids need four or five days rest. He was phenomenal. He matched Beakler, pretty much pitch-for-pitch.
“I asked him last night (Monday) if he could pitch and he didn’t hesitate,” continued Sauley. “It seems like he’s pretty resilient. Not too many people can bounce back like that.”
“I wasn’t expecting to go seven innings,” said M. Long. “My arm was feeling good. I just went out and threw. I felt good. My arm felt great. It was probably the hardest I threw in a while.
“I was thinking we really need someone to pitch,” M. Long added. “I was going to go three (innings). But when I got to the fourth inning, I was around 30 or 40 pitches, and I knew I could go the rest of the game.”
“We’re ready to go,” said Schaeffer. “Yeah, we should’ve scored more runs. We should’ve taken care of it.
“He (M. Long) kept us off balance all night,” continued Schaeffer. “We didn’t do the things we normally do. I think it was a little bit of both (what M. Long was doing and what F-burg wasn’t doing). We didn’t execute our game plan.”
Fredericksburg established a 1-0 lead with an unearned run in top of the fourth inning.
Nick Gonzalez singled and Michigan Daub walked. Then after an Annville error, Daub scored on a fielder’s choice grounder off the bat of Chase Dubendorf.
But the only other time Fredericksburg got two runners on base in the same inning was the top of the seventh, courtesy of a pair of Annville errors.
“He was unhittable for six innings,” said Sauley of Beakler. “It was phenomenal. He pitched a great game. That’s as good as it gets with two kids pitching. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a duel like that. It’s great for baseball.
“We were in a good situation (in the bottom of the seventh) because we had two, three and four up in the lineup,” continued Sauley. “The way Beakler was pitching, we didn’t have a hit until the seventh inning. Finally, we touched him up. But it was key to keep it a one-run game.”
“Mitch pitched a great game tonight. Wyatt pitched a great game tonight,” said Schaeffer. “I feel bad for him (Beakler). I knew if we were only going to get one run, it wasn’t going to be good.”
Beakler allowed only four base runners the entire game. He struck out six and walked two.
One of those walks was drawn by Barr to lead off the bottom of the fifth, and after a Cameron Hoch sacrifice and a ground-out, Barr reached third base with two outs. But he was out at the plate attempting to steal home on a Beakler delivery.
Beakler retired Annville in order in the first, second, fourth and sixth innings.
“I don’t think we have the momentum,” said Sauley. “They’re (Fredericksburg) a good team. I don’t think it necessarily means we’re going to kill them. We’re equal right now. It’s (Wednesday night) going to be good. We want to keep it close and find a way to win.”
“We’re good. We’re fine,” said Schaeffer. “I’ve got my ace on the mound (Wednesday). They’re (his players) not down. They’re OK.”
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2016 Fredericksburg Results
|7/1/2016||W||Fredericksburg 10 Campbelltown 0|
|6/27/2016||L||Myerstown 3 Fredericksburg 2|
|6/26/2016||W||Fredericksburg 5 5th Ward 2|
|6/23/2016||W||Fredericksburg 7 Richland 0|
|6/22/2016||W||Fredericksburg 5 Myerstown 4|
|6/21/2016||L||Annville 4 Fredericksburg 3|
|6/19/2016||W||Fredericksburg 4 Campbelltown 3|
|6/15/2016||W||Fredericksburg 1 Campbelltown 0|
|6/13/2016||W||Fredericksburg 7 5th Ward 4|
|6/12/2016||W||Fredericksburg 8 Richland 0|
|6/9/2016||W||Fredericksburg 8 Annville 1|
|6/8/2016||W||Fredericksburg 9 Myerstown 1|
|6/1/2016||W||Fredericksburg 13 5th Ward 0|
|5/31/2016||W||Fredericksburg 7 Richland 0|
|5/29/2016||W||Fredericksburg 3 Annville 1|
2016 Annville Results
|6/30/2016||W||Annville 3 Campbelltown 0|
|6/29/2016||W||Annville 6 Richland 2|
|6/28/2016||PPD||Annville 0 Campbelltown 0|
|6/26/2016||W||Annville 10 Myerstown 3|
|6/23/2016||L||5th Ward 5 Annville 4|
|6/22/2016||W||Annville 10 Campbelltown 0|
|6/21/2016||W||Annville 4 Fredericksburg 3|
|6/19/2016||L||Richland 3 Annville 2|
|6/14/2016||W||Annville 17 Myerstown 6|
|6/12/2016||L||5th Ward 4 Annville 3|
|6/9/2016||L||Fredericksburg 8 Annville 1|
|6/6/2016||W||Annville 3 Richland 2|
|6/1/2016||W||Annville 4 Myerstown 3|
|5/31/2016||W||Annville 9 5th Ward 0|
|5/29/2016||L||Fredericksburg 3 Annville 1|
Lebanon County American Legion Baseball League
Final Regular Season Standings
Lebanon County American Legion League