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Fredericksburg Opened Pursuit of What has Been an Elusive Title 

IMG_6086BY JEFF FALK

FREDERICKSBURG – No franchise has won more Lebanon County American Legion Baseball championships than Fredericksburg’s 23. But the last time Fredericksburg won one was 2009.

So by the summer circuit’s law of averages, F-burg is a bit overdue.

On a soggy Friday night at Earl Wenger Memorial Field, Fredericksburg took an initial step towards rectifying that situation by downing Conrad Weiser 10-1. After the underdog, upstart visitors had given it all it wanted through five innings of play, Fredericksburg exploded for seven runs in the bottom of the sixth.

The outcome gave Fredericksburg a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three County American Legion semifinal series, a set that continues on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Conrad Weiser High School. With the win, Fredericksburg, the circuit’s regular-season champion, improved to 18-5 overall and 15-4 in the league.

IMG_6096Conrad Weiser, now 8-11, earned the league’s fourth and final playoff spot a night earlier, with an 8-5 victory over Fifth Ward.  This summer marks Conrad Weiser’s first season of competition in the Lebanon County American Legion League.

Fredericksburg has now won all four of its meetings with Conrad Weiser this season, by a combined margin of 43-7.

The start of last night’s playoff opener was delayed by an hour because of rain.

“I do care about that,” said Fredericksburg manager Tim Schaeffer, when reminded of his team’s history in the league. “If your goal is not do that, it’s not worth doing. It should be the best you can do. Everybody thinks we lost everything from last year. But we’ve got some real good players on this team, and they’re starting to play together as a team.

“I don’t want to back into it (the Region Four tournament Fredericksburg is hosting next week),” continued Schaeffer. “That’s never our goal. Our goal is to have those other guys fighting for second place.”

“It’s pretty important,” said winning pitcher Seth Walmer of the overall league championship. “It’s a pride thing. We don’t like some of the other teams we play. We want everything. After last year, it left a bitter-sweet taste in our mouths.”

IMG_6063Fredericksburg set the tone with a first-inning run.

Lead-off hitter Hayden Johnson opened with a double and moved up a base on Isaac Wengert’s single. A few batters later, Johnson scored on Bailey Keefer’s sacrifice fly.

The home team extended its lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the third, and Johnson and Wengert were again the catalysts, with a walk and a single, respectively. Michigan Daub drove in one of the Fredericksburg runs, while the other came home on Walmer’s double to left.

“The first couple of innings we missed some golden opportunities,” said Schaeffer. “We’ve got to score those guys when we get them to third base. But when you score first, that puts pressure on them. Those three runs were huge.

“The first game is the most important game,” added Schaeffer. “It gets momentum on your side. But they (Conrad Weiser) played tough the first four or five innings. We’ll go to work tomorrow afternoon and see if we can finish this thing.”

“It’s (the opening game) really important, especially when you have home field advantage,” said Walmer. “It gives us confidence going into tomorrow. Now they’ve (Conrad Weiser) got to bounce back.”

On a strict pitch count, Walmer worked the first four frames, before exiting with a 3-0 lead. He surrendered only one hit, struck out two and walked one.

IMG_6113Walmer’s relief, southpaw Seth Daubert, tossed the last three innings. Daubert was charged with Conrad Weiser’s only run, which came courtesy of Brandon Wright’s two-out, RBI-single in the fifth.

“Both Seths did well,” said Schaeffer, who will go with Cole Felty as his Game Two starter. “They kept the pitches down and didn’t give up big hits. We kept Seth Walmer under 60 pitches so he can come back in two days. That’s important in the playoffs. That was the plan from the beginning.

“We kind of moved things around and set things up,” continued Schaeffer. “Seth’s (Walmer) been keeping the ball down and keeping his pitch count down.”

IMG_6056“Besides it being humid, I felt good on the mound,” said Walmer. “I don’t strike out a ton of guys. And I felt good at the plate. It felt good to contribute.

“It’s (exiting the game early) going to benefit us in the long run,” Walmer added. “I understand what’s going on. Seth (Daubert) came in and pumped strikes. It sets us up well.”

Fredericksburg sent 12 batters to the plate during its’ seven-run sixth.

The highlight of the rally was one-out RBIs from five consecutive hitters – Wengert, Daub, Walmer, Keefer and Noah Gingrich. But the frame began with two Conrad Weiser errors and walks to Zach Seltzer and Austin Barry.

IMG_6146“We’re getting closer,” said Schaeffer of a summer-long pursuit of consistent at-bats. “The last four or five games, we’ve gotten better. The Annville game is where it started. We’re taking the right approach when we’re in the batter’s box.”

“I thought we  played pretty well,” said Walmer. “Our hitting was slow at the beginning. When our hitting is going we’re tough, especially with our pitching.”

 

 

 

 

 To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com, or to view more go to https://lebanonsportsbuzz.com/photo-gallery/.

 

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 Lebanon County American Legion

 Baseball League Standings

 

Team Won Lost Tied Pct. GB
Fredericksburg 14 4 0 .778
Campbelltown 11 6 0 .647 2.5
Annville 10 7 0 .588 3.5
5th Ward 8 10 0 .444 6.0
Conrad Weiser 8 10 0 .444 6.0
Richland 5 12 1 .294 8.5
Myerstown 5 12 1 .294 8.5

 

 

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Lebanon County American Legion League
Past Champions
 2016 – Annville
2015 – Myerstown
2014 – Myerstown
2013 – Campbelltown
2012 – Campbelltown
2011 – Annville
2010 – Campbelltown
2009 — Fredericksburg
2008 — Fredericksburg
2007 — Richland
2006 — Richland
2005 — Richland
2004 — Annville
2003 — Fredericksburg
2002 — Richland
2001 — Fredericksburg
IMG_61122000 — Fredericksburg
1999 — Fredericksburg
1998 — Palmyra
1997 — Fredericksburg
1996 — Fredericksburg
1995 — Fredericksburg
1994 — Fredericksburg
1993 — Fredericksburg*
1992 — Palmyra
1991 — Palmyra
1990 — Fredericksburg
1989 — Fredericksburg
1988 — Palmyra
1987 — Fredericksburg
1986 — Fredericksburg*
1985 — Myerstown
1984 — Richland
1983 — Lebanon
IMG_60781982 — Lebanon
1981 — Fredericksburg*
1980 — Richland
1979 — Fredericksburg
1978 — Myerstown
1977 — Fredericksburg
1976 — Fredericksburg
1975 — Myerstown
1974 — Lebanon
1973 — Fredericksburg
1972 — Myerstown*
1971 — Myerstown*
1970 — Annville*
1969 — Annville*
1968 — Myerstown
1967 — Myerstown
IMG_60691966 — Myerstown
1965 — Myerstown
1964 — Richland
1963 — Lebanon
1962 — Richland
1961 — Richland*
1960 — Not Contested
1959 — Fredericksburg
1958 — Fredericksburg
1957 — Fredericksburg
1956 — Lebanon
1955 — Myerstown
1954 — Jonestown*
1953 — Myerstown
1952 — Palmyra*
1951 — Palmyra
1950 — Palmyra
IMG_61511949 — Annville
1948 — Myerstown*
1947 — Lebanon
1946 — Myerstown
1945 — Not Contested (World War II)
1944 — Not Contested (World War II)
1943 — Not Contested (World War II)
1942 — Not Contested (World War II)
1941 — Lebanon*
1940 — Myerstown
1939 — Myerstown
1938 — Myerstown*
1937 — Lebanon*
1936 — Lebanon
IMG_60671935 — Annville
1934 — Annville
1933 — Myerstown
1932 — Lebanon*
1931 — Orioles*
1930 — Fifth Ward
1929 — Progressive
* Denotes regional champions
Note — The 1937 Lebanon squad was the only team from the county to win a state title. The 1981 Fredericksburg, the
1948 Myerstown and the 1938 Myerstown clubs were all state runners-up.

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