BY JEFF FALK
MYERSTOWN – Senior Week, other sports, work, vacation. Every team in the Lebanon County American Legion baseball league is currently experiencing the universal problem of getting enough players to games.
But one club seems to be dealing with the difficulty better than all the rest.
Campbelltown’s quality depth has served it well this summer. And when its reserves have gotten chances to perform, they have done their parts by coming through.
On Wednesday night at old Post 55 Field, it was more of the same for Campbelltown, as it shaded Myerstown 2-0. C-town’s formula on this evening was a familiar one – stingy defense, timely hitting and a big old dose of pitching.
Campbelltown right-handers Trevor Gill and Zach Yingst collaborated on a three-hitter. Gill again refused to yield an earned run while picking up the win, while Yingst retired the last six batters in order to log the save.
The win lifted Campbelltown to 7-1 and strengthened its strangle-hold on the top spot in the local summer circuit. Myerstown, which was without the services of two starters, slipped to 4-3 in the league.
“I’ve got problems,” said Campbelltown head coach Tim Morgan. “Bobby (Dorta) is one of my best pitchers. He’s playing half sick and he’s not ready to throw yet. But my starters (pitchers) are doing their jobs. If you’ve got pitching, you’ve got to use it.
“I see two of his (Myerstown head coach Johnny Mentzer’s) starters called him a couple of hours before the game and told him they couldn’t make it,” continued Morgan. “He’s dealing with the same crap I am. It doesn’t make ti fun. That’s how close it is. Anybody can beat anybody. But the playoffs are going to be fun.”
“We’re struggling now,” said Mentzer. “We started with 18 guys, three guys quit and tonight I had two starters call and tell me they couldn’t get off work. We’ll find out what we are made of next week.
“We have played half our games,” added Mentzer. “We still have eight games left. I don’t know what I’m going to get. I have no clue. I know we have to play. The season comes to an end in two weeks.”
While Gill got himself into a couple of jams, he was just as effective getting out of them.
In the third, Myerstown juiced the bases with two walks and a Cole Miller single, before Gill wiggled off the hook with a fly ball. In the fifth, Gill surrendered a Cody Horst hit, a walk and a hit-batsman, then got out of it with a ground ball.
During his five-plus innings of toil, Gill did issue six walks and did not strike out a batter.
Yingst pitched the sixth and seventh frames, fanned three and did not allow a base runner.
The Palmyra defense was flawless behind both chuckers.
“He was having problems early,” said Morgan of Gill. “There’s no mound there. You can’t push off and bend. He was having trouble with his follow-through. They (M-town) hit the ball hard a couple of times, but we made key defensive plays.
“It’s a proven fact that Trevor has improved tremendously,” Morgan continued. “He’s been working hard. He was right around a hundred (pitches) and he said he was OK, but I’ve got guys I can bring in who throw strikes. His fastball was good, really good. I just like to see him throw. He doesn’t need to throw that other stuff. And no, I don’t think he’s given up an earned run this year. Not that I can recall.”
“Trevor’s a stud when he throws strikes,” said Mentzer. “I told my guys, ‘When he’s in the zone, you’ve got to be aggressive in the zone’. He throws his fast ball really well. When he’s on, he can beat anyone in the league. And Trevor’s a great kid. I wish I had that arm on my team. It’s un-hittable sometimes.
“We’re swinging the bats awful right now,” continued Mentzer. “Part of it is we haven’t gotten into a routine. It’s tough to get into a groove when you’re playing so sporadically. It’s the way legion ball is right now. It’s there. But tonight it wasn’t there.”
Campbelltown plated the contest’s only runs in the top of the second inning, off of Myerstown starter Austin Douple. Nine-hole hitter Chris Good and lead-off man Isaac Blatt drove them in with back-to-back two-out singles.
Nick DeCarlo had ignited the Post 831 uprising when he was hit by a pitch. And teammate Bradey Powell kept it going with a two-out hit.
“That’s the way this team has been all year,” said Morgan. “We’ve got pitching. We don’t need to score a whole lot of runs. And we play defense.
“I want to win the league,” added Morgan. “Then we’ve accomplished something. Then you have the playoffs. Ephrata (the Region Four tournament) is way down the road. Right now I’m trying to get nine players.”
“They scored on that blooper into left field when their guy (Blatt) got jammed, and their nine-hole hitter (Good) got a hit,” said Mentzer. “I don’t think they hit a ball hard once off of our pitcher. Austin kept them off balance. He pitched well enough to win.
“I’ve been getting that effort from him every time out,” Mentzer added. “I bet he’s given up three earned runs all year. He’s going to throw strikes. He’s going to work fast. He didn’t get run support.”
Douple held Campbelltown in check most of the way, thanks in part to double plays turned behind him in the first and sixth frames. The right-hander scattered nine hits, but didn’t walk or strike out a batter.
Seventeen of the 21 outs Double recorded came on the ground.
“That kid,” said Morgan. “He starts you off with a fast ball, and he can throw his curve ball and slider over the plate. It’s nasty stuff. He threw a good game. I’d love for our bats to come alive. But there’s good pitching in the league, I’m telling you.”
“We were two hits away from winning the baseball game,” said Mentzer. “We just didn’t hit. We didn’t get it done. It’s baseball.
“They’re (Campbelltown) always going to be consistent,” Mentzer continued. “They have arms. That’s the key. They have a ton of pitching. Those pitchers are going to pitch and they’re going to be there at the end. But I don’t think they score a lot of runs.”
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Lebanon County American Legion
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