BY JEFF FALK
It was all about Annville’s offensive execution. And the Lebanon County American Legion Baseball League just became even more interesting.
On a gorgeous Monday night at Palmyra High School, Annville’s effective batter’s-box approach produced a surprisingly one-sided 7-1 triumph over Campbelltown. Post 831 tallied the contest’s first seven runs by working the count, taking what C-town gave it and by coming up with some timely knocks, then turned the lead over to righthander Trevan Elliott and his steady, supportive defense.
The result tightened an already competitive Lebanon County American Legion baseball race.
For Annville, the outcome was the fourth win in its last five outings and bumped its record to 5-3. After starting the season 5-0, Campbelltown slipped to 7-3 in the circuit.
“This year, we’re a lot more patient at the plate,” said Annville head coach Ken Sauley. “Guys are willing to take what the pitcher gives them. They’re working counts. It really doesn’t matter how you get on base, as long as you do.”
“You can never win a ball game with (giving up) seven walks and four hit-by-pitches,” said Campbelltown head coach Tim Morgan. “Seventy-five percent of walks score. They had seven hits and we had five. That’s it. That’s the way it goes.”
Annville wasted little time getting to Campbelltown starter Sam Zeigler, when lead-off hitter Cameron Hoch was hit by a pitch in the top of the opening inning. After Mason Moore sacrificed and Hoch stole second, Hunter Kelley have A-ville a 1-0 lead with an RBI-single.
Annville created a little breathing room for itself with three more runs in the top of the third.
The big blow was Gage Miller’s two-out, two-run double, after Elliott had stroked his own RBI-single. The rally had begun with walks to Moore and Kelley.
“He beat us 4-0 last year in the playoffs,” said Sauley of Zeigler. “He didn’t have his control. He’s a good pitcher, and he was one of the best pitchers in high school. It was a little uncharacteristic for him, being all over the place. It wasn’t his night, but down the road he’s going to be there.
“I have nothing to complain about,” continued Sauley. “You play good defense and get good pitching, and good things are going to happen. It’s huge because we’ve got five games in six days. We needed this because after Wednesday I’ve got no pitching.”
“His last time out, at Fredericksburg, he was on top of it,” said Morgan of Zeigler. “Tonight he hit the first batter and that was it. You just never know what you’re going to get. You’ve got to be consistent.”
Elliott went the distance to get the win, striking out four and walking two. He wasn’t overpowering, but he pitched to contact and the defense behind him was error-free.
Campbelltown touched him for a run in the top of the fifth, when Trevor Binner and Jake Kern led off with back-to-back singles. But Elliott retired Campbelltown one-two-three in the second, fourth and seventh frames.
It was the first run Elliott had given up all season, in 18 innings of work.
“He did really well,” said Sauley of Elliott. “They didn’t get good swings off him. They hit like two balls hard off of him. He hits his spots and keeps you off balance. If you can get your off-speed across, you’re going to be fine.
“They’re (Campbelltown) really good. It’s never easy,” Sauley added. “We’ve had our troubles here the last two years. But if we don’t make errors, we’ve got a chance. In all the games we’ve won this year, we’ve had two errors total. In the other three, we had over 20.”
“We beat his best (Sal ‘Sonny’ Biondollo) twice,” said Morgan. “Ken (Sauley) told me he needed this game big-time. But Elliott threw great. He got his curveball over. The fastball is going to get ripped. When you throw the first pitch for a strike, that’s huge. It’s not that hard to figure out.
“It was nothing different,” added Morgan. “That there is batting practice. It should have been hittable.”
Annville opened its lead to 7-0 with three more runs in the top of the fourth.
Devin Singer walked, Hoch was hit by another pitch and Moore laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt that went for a single. Benny Miller drove in an Annville run before Kelly smoked a two-run single.
“We’re doing well when we field the ball well,” said Sauley. “We could conceivably be 7-1, and we’re 5-3. At the beginning of the season I didn’t think we’d be a factor. But we’ve played well. These guys play as a team and they listen.”
“I told them (his players) to flush this and not worry about it,” said Morgan. “The travel stuff kills you. But everybody’s dealing with it. We’re like everybody else. We’ve got to play six days in-a-row.
“We’re still in good shape,” continued Morgan. “I’m not too worried. We’ve got a good squad. We’ve just got to get the kids together. I’m just waiting for the playoffs.”
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Lebanon County American Legion
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