BY JEFF FALK
ANNVILLE – There are a number of intriguing subplots currently playing out in the Lebanon County American Legion Baseball League. There always are.
But the most compelling story line is the battle being waged for second place in the West Division.
On a sticky Tuesday night at Annville-Cleona High School, Annville got a leg up on Fredericksburg for the West’s final playoff spot, with a 3-1 victory. Annville got off to a fast start, which made starting pitcher Eric Sipling’s job that much easier.
The outcome gave Annville, now 4-6, sole possession of second place in the local summer baseball circuit. The loss was Fredericksburg’s fifth straight and dropped it to 2-6 on the season.
Annville and Fredericksburg are scheduled to meet two more times before the regular season concludes.
“They’re there with us,” said Annville head coach Ken Sauley of Fredericksburg. “Other than Campbelltown, Ephrata and Myerstown, we’re all bunched. It can go any way.
“We’ve got seven games left,” continued Sauley. “We have to win them all. Can we do it? I don’t know. But we’re going to try. Right now, we have our destiny in our hands. We win, we’re in. If we lose some games, we’re not.”
“They are similar to us,” said Fredericksburg head coach Tim Schaeffer of Annville. “They have a decent team. The top of their lineup is pretty good. And their pitcher threw really, really well tonight.
“The goal is to make the playoffs,” Schaeffer continued, “That’s what we’re focused on right now. And the way things are looking, we’re going to have to scratch out some wins. We have to find the right configuration in our lineup. That’s my first concern. We may have to juggle it up a little bit.”
Annville grabbed the game’s momentum by the throat in the bottom of the first inning, with three straight hits to start the frame.