FREDERICKSBURG – It’s always better to focus on what happened, as opposed to what didn’t happen. It’s just a more positive, proactive, healthy way to live life.
Fredericksburg didn’t lose a baseball game last night. Annville won one.
On Tuesday night at Earl Wenger Memorial Field, Annville handed Fredericksburg its first loss of the summer, in an emotional, intense, hard-fought 4-3 decision. After Annville had scored three times in the top of the fifth inning to take a 4-1 advantage, it was forced to diffuse a furious Fredericksburg rally in the bottom of the final frame.
The game ended on a bang-bang call at the plate, when F-burg’s Michigan Daub was thrown out – catcher Hunter Long to relief pitcher Eli Setlock – attempting to score the tying run on an apparent wild pitch. Bases-loaded RBI-walks to Isaac Wengert and Chase Dubendorf had pulled Fredericksburg to within a run of the lead with one out, after Cody Ream, Noah Gingrich and Daub had jump-started the comeback.
In addition to handing Fredericksburg its initial loss after nine straight wins to open the season, the outcome restored a measure of normalcy and intrigue to the Lebanon County American Legion baseball league. Annville, which had endured previous 3-1 and 8-1 setbacks at the hands of F-burg, moved to 5-4 overall.
“That’s not important to us,” said Annville rookie head coach Ken Sauley of Fredericksburg’s previously unblemished mark. “I don’t care that they were undefeated. We were 4-4. We could be right there in the middle of things with a couple of breaks. Our goal is to get the second seed (for the playoffs) and the bye. I’m not worried about that (F-burg’s undefeated record).
“One thing I’ve learned is that anyone can be beaten,” continued Sauley. “Anyone can win on any give night. It’s about who shows up. Fredericksburg has talent over there. We were fortunate to be in the position we were. They’ve got good pitching, and we have enough trouble scoring runs on our own.”
“It’s been a long time since someone’s been undefeated,” said Fredericksburg rookie head coach Tim Schaeffer, whose club was guilty of an uncharacteristic five errors. “It’s tough to do that. You know everyone’s going for you. They (Annville) played well. They’re a good team.
“I think people want to knock us off,” Schaeffer continued. “We have 18 kids every night. We have depth at every position. But I think everyone’s done it for us.”
Fredericksburg gave Annville five outs in the top of the fifth inning. Annville scored three unearned runs, after Fredericksburg starter Waytt Beakler retired the first two batters he faced.
Hunter Long gave Annville a 2-1 edge, but the big blow was struck by Izaiah Trimble, a two-run single that plated Cole Waldhausen and Long.
“It was a very emotional baseball game,” said Sauley. “We both had a lot of issues with the umpires. Our kids battled. They didn’t give up. They made a play at the end. We lost to them two times before, but the kids played well.
“All I want these guys to do is make good solid contact,” added Sauley. “I like to hit-and-run and steal, but we didn’t have a lot of opportunities tonight. Our approach is to do what we’ve got to do. I tell my guys if they have to take one for the team, ‘do it’. ‘I don’t care how you get on base’. We had a dry spell before this game. But we’re all in this thing together.”
“The last inning we battled back,” said Schaeffer. “We had a chance to tie the game. But we lost the game on errors. We had like eight errors. That killed us. They’re a good team. When you give them unearned runs, it hurts.
“We got outplayed tonight,” Schaeffer added. “We came out flat.”
Fredericksburg touched Annville starter Alec Barr for a two-out run in the bottom of the opening inning. Daub singled and Wengert walked, ahead of Dubendorf’s run-scoring safety.
But Barr shut down Fredericksburg from there on out, before tiring in the seventh. Barr was credited with the win, struck out four and walked four, while Setlock picked up the save.
“Sometimes I’ve got to reel him in,” said Sauley of Barr. “But he pitched a heck of a game. He’s a competitor. He’s a heck of a pitcher.
“We’ve lost a lot of one-run games,” Sauley continued. “We almost lost another one. This game was crazy. This was exciting. This was baseball.”
“He threw a really good game,” said Schaeffer of Barr. “He kept us off-balance with that outside pitch. And we didn’t adjust.
“We had him (Beakler) on a lower pitch count,” continued Schaeffer. “He went a little further than I would’ve liked. He pitched well, but we didn’t support him with our defense.”
Annville reached Beakler for an unearned run in the top of the fourth, to tie the game at one. Long touched it off with a lead-off double, and eventually scored on a throwing error.
Before giving way to Seth Walmer in the top of the fifth, Beakler fanned five and issued one free pass. He yielded five hits.
“He’s a heck of a pitcher,” said Sauley of Beakler. “I tell the kids that they can hit anyone. I know he beat us the first game, but I’ve got to have our kids ready to hit. The last game we had a lot of base runners. But he’s a pitcher. He knows how to get outs.
“If you look at our score book, we’ve stolen more bases than any other team in the league,” Sauley added. “Our problem has been getting them home, getting them in. But we don’t have a full bench like they do.”
“The kids are doing it,” said Schaeffer. “I want them to have fun. I’m a coach here, pulling it all together. We’ve done it all year as a team.
“I want to go to states,” Schaeffer concluded. “The kids want to go to regionals and states. That was their goal from the beginning of the season. I told the kids, ‘If that’s not your goal, don’t come out.’ We’ve got to play hard to win the league. We’ve got to play as a team. We’ve got to keep our composure. On any given night, anyone can beat anyone.”
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LEBANON COUNTY AMERICAN LEGION
BASEBALL LEAGUE STANDINGS
|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|
|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|