PALMYRA – The Lebanon County American Legion Baseball League desperately needs some team to step up and challenge Myerstown, if not only for dramatic and interest purposes. Campbelltown may very well be that team.
On a humid Monday night at Palmyra High School’s OAL Sports Complex, Campbelltown continued its late-season surge by edging Richland 2-1. After C-town’s Alex Fuhrman and Richland’s Carter Lutz had engaged in a starting pitcher’s duel, Post 831 pushed across the eventual game-winning run in the bottom of the sixth inning.
The victory was Campbelltown’s fourth straight and extended its Lebanon County American Legion League record to 8-5. With the setback, Richland slipped to 1-8 in the summer circuit.
“I think we can challenge them,” said Campbelltown head coach John Binner, of the undefeated front-runners. “In the two games we played against them, we were in it till the end. I think if we can get a full team together, we can give them a little challenge. In the game of baseball, any given day.
“I think the key to our success has basically been the preparation of Palmyra baseball,” added Binner. “From civic ball all the way up to high school. They (his players) play together all the way up, since they were young. But that’s on them, not on me.”
“I honestly don’t pay attention to what anyone else (in the league) is doing,” said Richland head coach Travis Thome. “It really doesn’t matter. We played Campbelltown tonight. I care about how we played defense, did we pitch well, did we have a good approach at the plate.
“You don’t really have talent unless you prove it,” Thome continued. “You’re only as good as your record. Would I take another team over our guys? No. Everybody only looks at your record. We just want to play competitive baseball.”
With the score knotted at one, Campbelltown pieced together the decisive rally after its first two hitters were retired in the bottom of the sixth inning. Peter Stoner got things going for Post 831 with a walk, and Bronson Coburn followed with a single, ahead of Jake Deibler’s run-producing safety.
It was Deibler’s second hit of the season, with the first coming in the home half of the second.
The two-out magic in the bottom of the sixth inning made a winner out of Campbelltown reliever Coburn, who worked out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the top of the seventh inning.
“I was happy for him. I’m glad he came through for us,” said Binner of Deibler. “Tonight, we got key hits at the end. We left a lot of runners on base. Overall, we played well, we gelled together.
“Their guy (Carter Lutz) was a crafty lefty,” continued Binner. “He had a nice mix of curveballs and fastballs, and he spotted the ball well. He was a good pitcher. When you can spot multiple pitches, you’re going to be a pretty good pitcher in this league.”
“We played a little more of a complete game tonight,” said Thome. “We got really incredible pitching from Carter. After the second inning, he really settled into the game. Walks always kill. They (Campbelltown) got a ground ball with two outs and it scored the winning run.
“He (Lutz) gave us a chance to win,” Thome continued. “He got us out of a couple jams. That was definitely his best outing. He pitched well enough to win.”
Campbelltown touched Carter Lutz for a single run in the bottom of the opening inning. Colby Roe drove home the run, after singles by teammates Austin Gussler and Cameron Dubbs, and a walk to Caleb Fisher.
Carter Lutz worked into the sixth inning, struck out two and walked two.
“I think we’ve improved over the season,” said Binner. “It’s a mix of high school kids, JV players and guys I never saw play before, and they’ve really come together.
“I think they’re playing better than I expected,” added Binner. “Going into the season, I thought we’d be around .500.”
“We played well enough to win,” said Thome. “But we didn’t. They played a little better.
“If you look at everything now, we just want to get a better seed for the playoffs,” Thome added. “Most of the time we’ve been playing five games a week, and we have four more games left. We’ve been playing a lot of games, so the guys might be tired. But all of that is just excuses.”
Richland tied the score at one apiece in the top of the fourth inning. Riley Blatt doubled, then after a C-town error, James Norris drove Blatt in with a two-out single.
Fuhrman went the first five innings for Campbelltown, fanning two and issuing a pair of free passes.
“I thought I got great pitching from both of them,” said Binner of Fuhrman and Coburn. “We’re a young team, and I had a junior and a sophomore out there pitching. They fought to the end.”
“I would say that hitting is the weakest part of our game,” said Thome. “We’re not hitting the ball. We have guys who can it, but we just haven’t put it together yet.
“They (Fuhrman and Coburn) kept us off balance,” Thome added. “It was nothing overpowering. They threw strikes.”