ANNVILLE – With the playoffs right around the corner, pitching and defense are the constants, they’re the givens. But for clubs to challenge, they’re going to have to hit.
That’s the wild card.
If last night is any indication, Annville is poised to make some noise.
On an oppressive Tuesday night at Annville-Cleona High School, Annville put together all three phases of the game, for its most complete Lebanon County American Legion baseball outing of the summer, a 10-0, six-inning, mercy-rule triumph over Conrad Weiser. Post 559 broke out the lumber, especially late, to back the dominant pitching of southpaw Isaac Good.
Already ahead 7-0, Annville scored three times in the bottom of the sixth inning to evoke the mercy rule. Jake Mills’ RBI-single plated Corey Swingholm with the winning run, after Jeremy Seyfert had bashed a run-producing double and Cam Connelly hit an RBI-single.
The offensive output represented Annville’s biggest of the season, while the result moved it to 6-5 in the Lebanon County American Legion League. The loss left Conrad Weiser 4-6 in the league.
“I really don’t know what happened,” said Annville head coach Mitch Long. “We had one (recent) practice, but we didn’t change much. I guess they (his players) flipped the switch.
“Tonight you saw how we can hit the ball,” continued Long. “I know we’re capable of it, but we really hit the ball. It kind of surprised me. Just with the way the season has been going, I haven’t seen that.”
But as impressive as Annville’s plate approach was, Good was just as impressive.
He surrendered just two singles and did not allow a runner to reach second base in his route-going performance. In his 88 total pitches, Good whiffed an even dozen and issued one lone free pass.
“That was the Isaac we saw in his first two outings,” said Long. “He threw very well. Tonight, he was really good. You can tell he’s good when he’s spotting his fastball.
“That’s his key, having a good fastball,” Long added. “Tonight, he really showed a good fastball. When he’s really on, he’s tough to hit.”
The contest was score-less until Annville broke through in the bottom of the third inning. Seyfert gave Post 559 a 1-0 lead with a two-out single that scored Jake Mills, who had led off with a safety.
Then in its next at-bat, Annville doubled its advantage to 2-0. Doubles from Swingholm and Mills turned the trick.
“That was our best hitting game of the season,” said Long. “We hit the ball every inning. From the third inning on, we really pounded the ball. The last two games, we’ve been knocking the cover off the ball.
“I think the last two games I’ve seen a lot of improvement overall,” Long added. “The main thing we struggle with is walks on the mound. Most of the time we can string some hits together, and that’s what I want to see going into the playoffs.”
Annville broke the game open in the bottom of the fifth inning, sending ten hitters to the dish and scoring five more times. Conrad Weiser fueled the rally with two key errors, but Alex Lingle, Swingholm and Mills all knocked in Annville runs.
“The momentum is definitely going to be key,” said Long. “If things are going well at the end of the season, you’re going to do well in the playoffs. Everyone (in the league) is pretty much the same. Now we’re where we want to be. The playoffs are coming up and we’ve been playing our best baseball.”