SCOTLAND – There’s no shame in losing, especially when you leave it all on the field. But what’s unfortunate is that many seasons are remembered by how they end, not how they were accelerated.
On Sunday morning at Greene Township Municipal Park, during the second day of the eight-team, double-elimination Region Four tournament, the Annville American County Legion baseball club endured a difficult 3-2, season-ending loss to Shippensburg. In the big picture, the Lebanon County champions probably didn’t hit enough and were guilty of too many errors, in going 0-2 in the event.
Still, Annville had a chance to pull it out, down 3-1 entering the bottom half of the ninth inning. Annville eight- and nine-hole hitters Tyler Talhelm and Cole Waldhausen drew back-to-back, lead-off walks, and Annville pulled to within a run of the lead thanks to a throwing error on a ball hit by Eli Setlock.
But the game and Annville’s summer ended when its final two batters struck out.
Annville concluded its campaign at 13-9. Shippensburg, the champions of Franklin County, lived to fight another day.
“The one thing is, we exceeded expectations – everyone but our’s – getting here in the first place,” said Annville rookie head coach Ken Sauley. “The big thing we need to work on is timely hitting. We had runners all over the place and scored two runs. And if not for the three errors, I’m standing here jubilant. That throwing error was a killer. That needs to be tightened up. And we need to work on bunting.It seemed the teams we played did a better job of getting the bunt down.
“When I took this job, I said we’re going to regionals,” added Sauley. “Everybody said, ‘Don’t get ahead of yourself’. But I don’t think you should be doing this if you don’t think you can get here.”
With the contest deadlocked at one, Shippensburg notched what would prove to be the decisive runs in the top of the seventh inning. Shipp’s Nate Holt singled home teammate Adam Maring to make it 2-1.
Yet after an Annville error and a walk loaded the bases with one away, Annville had a chance to get out of the dilemma on a come-backer to the mound. But instead of coming home to get the lead runner, the Annville pitcher threw to first base.
“There’s a run they shouldn’t have had,” said Sauley of Shippensburg. “That’s a dead double-play ball. We did not take advantage of that. That’s a mental error. And when you do that, and you’re not a hard-hitting team, it’s going to cost you.
“I believe in both games, seven of the eight runs we gave up were unearned,” Sauley added. “You can’t have that. We didn’t score much ourselves, but we needed to make the plays.”
One of those unearned runs Shippensburg scored in the top of the sixth, and it tied the game. Shippensburg entered the frame scoreless in its first 14 innings of Region Four play, and Annville starter Alec Barr retired the first two Shipp batters he faced.
But Shippensburg’s Colton Zigler ripped a Barr offering into the left-center field gap for a triple, and when Annville failed to execute the cut-off throw from the outfield, Zigler raced home.
“The most disappointing thing was the way we played defense,” said Sauley. “I thought we pitched well enough to win. And the second thing I’d have to say is timely hitting. But even if we didn’t have timely hits, we could’ve still won if we had made the plays.”
Annville assumed a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third.
Mitch Long walked and stole second. Then after a one-out walk to Hunter Long, Barr drove home M. Long with a single.
“I was trying to get them (his players) to take more pitches,” said Sauley. “Make the pitcher work. Just put the ball in play. Too many fly balls. Way too many.
“But my guys fought hard,” Sauley continued. “They didn’t quit. They kept battling.”
Before being relieved by Setlock in the seventh, Barr yielded four hits, struck out three and walked two. He didn’t give up a hit until the top of the fourth inning.
Annville collected three hits, stranded ten runners on base and committed three errors.
“I felt great,” said Sauley of his side’s opportunity in the bottom of the ninth. “One out, a runner on third base and we had our best hitters coming up. But you can’t leave it in the umpire’s hands.
“Once I got those two guys on base I was confident,” continued Sauley. “We were in a great situation. Unfortunately, what are you going to do? You’ve got make them make a play. If you do, you never know what’s going to happen.”
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American Legion Region 4 Tournament
Games at Greene Twp. park except where noted
Saturday, July 16
Game 1: Carlisle 5, Shippensburg 0
Game 2: Ephrata 5, Dallastown 1
Game 3: Lawnton 5, Annville 1
Game 4: Hampden 5, Fayetteville 1
Sunday, July 17
Game 5: Shippensburg 3, Annville 2 (Annville eliminated)
Game 6: Dallastown vs. Fayetteville, noon (at Fayettevile)
Game 7: Carlisle vs. Lawnton, 1
Game 8: Ephrata vs. Hampden, 5
Monday, July 18
Game 9: Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 7, 9:30 a.m.
Game 10: Shippensburg vs. Loser Game 8, 1
Game 11: Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8, 5
Tuesday, July 19
Game 12: Winner Game 9 or 10 vs. Loser Game 11*, 1
Game 13: Winner Game 11 vs. Winner Game 9 or 11*, 5
Wednesday, July 20
Game 14: Winner Game 12 vs. Winner Game 13, 1
Game 15: Winner Game 11 vs. Winner Game 14, 4 (if necessary)
*-The matchups for Games 12 and 13 will be set to avoid rematches
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|