SCOTLAND – Maybe it was emotional fatigue.
Maybe it was nerves
Maybe it just felt fortunate to be there.
On Saturday afternoon at Greene Township Municipal Park, during the opening day of the eight-team, double-elimination Region Four tournament, Annville experienced difficulties sustaining the momentum it had created in the local postseason. Annville managed just three hits, surrendered crooked numbers in the fifth and seventh frames and dropped a 5-1 decision to Lawnton.
Annville, the champions of Lebanon County, slipped to 13-8 overall and into the loser’s bracket of the event. With its season on the line, Annville will take on Shippensburg, a 5-0 loser to Carlisle, on Sunday at 9:30 a.m. back at Greene Township Municipal Park.
“That happens,” said Annville head coach Ken Sauley, to the notion that teams are sometimes pleased just to be at regionals. “Obviously you don’t want that to happen. You can tell them (his players) about it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen. We’ve just got to be better and I think we will.
“I thought they (his players) were like deer in headlights, ” Sauley continued. “I think the Fredericksburg series took it out of them. It probably was nerves.”
Before Lawnton took control of the outcome late, Annville tied the game at one in the top of the fourth inning.
Catcher Hunter Long provided Annville with its run on an RBI grounder. Mitch Long and Izaiah Trimble had got things going with singles, and a wild pitch had placed Annville runners at second and third base with one out.
“We played like crap,” said Sauley. “Obviously they (Lawnton) had a fair amount of hits, but the errors didn’t help us much. It’s a big difference when you’re down four, compared to when you’re down two.
“I thought the pitching we faced up until now, (Fredericksburg’s Wyatt and Jordan) Beakler and Nichols were better,” continued Sauley. “We did square up balls better against them. We didn’t hit the ball hard. He (Lawnton starter Stephen McInturff) hit his spots and kept us off balance, but he wasn’t going to blow it by us.”.
Lawnton snapped the one-all deadlock and took the lead for good with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth inning against Annville starter Mitch Long. The big blow was struck by Lawnton three-hole hitter Jon Brubaker, a two-run double to right field with two outs.
Brubaker also drove in both Lawnton runs in the top of the seventh that made it 5-1 and chased M. Long. Thanks to an error and three singles, the first four Lawnton batters in the frame reached base against M. Long.
“Like everybody else, we wanted to win regionals,” said Sauley. “I didn’t think there was going to be anyone here better than Fredericksburg. As long as they (his players) get their heads up, we’ll have a fighting chance.”
Before giving way to Eli Setlock, M. Long whiffed five and walked one. Annville was guilty of three errors, all of which came from the seventh inning on.
“I thought Mitch threw well,” said Sauley. “But he was probably not as sharp as he has been. It might have caught up to him a little bit.”
Lawnton grabbed a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the opening inning, courtesy of Quinton Heckard’s lead-off triple. Brubaker plated Heckhard with a sacrifice fly and the first of his five RBIs.
“That’s the way we’ve got to win games,” said Sauley of ‘finding a way’. “We’re not a strong offensive team. Obviously when you don’t get a lot of guys on base, you’re not going to score a lot of runs.”
McInturff finished what he started. On 103 pitches, the steady right-hander struck out seven and walked four.
He retired the first seven Annville batters he faced, as well as the last seven. Outside of the fourth, McInturff didn’t permit an Annville runner past first base.
“When we won at Fredericksburg, the atmosphere was unbelievable,” said Sauley. “We should’ve been more relaxed. There wasn’t as much on the line today. There’ll be more on the line tomorrow.”
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 vs. Fayetteville, 5
Sunday, July 17
Game 5: Shippensburg vs. Annville, 9:30 a.m.
Game 6: Dallastown vs. Loser Game 4, noon (at Fayettevile)
Game 7: Carlisle vs. Lawnton, 1
Game 8: Ephrata vs. Winner Game 4, 5
Monday, July 18
Game 9: Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 7, 9:30 a.m.
Game 10: Winner Game 5 vs. Loser Game 8, 1
Game 11: Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8, 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
|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|
Final Regular Season Standings