BY JEFF FALK
PALMYRA – Campbelltown didn’t set out to defend the honor of local summer baseball. It wasn’t a goal, or anything like that.
But quite uninentionally, by playing for itself, Campbelltown also represented Lebanon County very well.
On a steamy Monday night at In The Net Sports Complex, Campbelltown captured the championship of the Lebanon County American Legion baseball league by edging Ephrata 7-6 in the circuit’s title tilt. After building a 7-2 lead through the middle innings, Post 831 held off a late charge by Ephrata.
C-town didn’t secure the crown until reliever Braeden Drescher recorded the final out, with the potential tying run on second base in the top of the seventh inning.
It was Campbelltown’s first local legion baseball championship since 2013 and the 11th overall for the Campbelltown/Palmyra franchise. In its first year in the league, Ephrata was seeking to become the first non-Lebanon County entry to win a championship, in the 91-year history of the summer circuit.
Campbelltown, the winner of the league’s West division, and Ephrata, the first-place team from the East Division, had split two regular season meetings. Campbelltown prevailed 6-5 at Ephrata’s War Memorial Field on June 21, while Ephrata scored a 5-0 decision at Palmyra High School on June 23.
C-town, now 18-2 overall, will represent Lebanon County in the eight-team, double-elimination Region Four tournament that Ephrata is hosting, beginning on Friday at 1:30 p.m. against Mechanicsburg, the runner-up from Cumberland County. Ephrata fell to 16-4 in the league.
Post 831 starter Nick LaFoe was named the Warren ‘Lefty’ Grumbine most valuable pitcher for the championship game. LaFoe, a crafty southpaw, earned the win by working the first four-and-two-thirds innings, scattering six hits, striking out one and walking two.
Meanwhile, Campbelltown six-hole hitter Austin Baal was honored as the Jack Bicher most valuable hitter. Baal went two-for-three with four RBIs.
“No,” said Campbelltown head coach Tim Morgan, when asked if the outcome was an upset. “Who had the best record in the league this year? We did. We split with them in the regular season. It makes you better when you play good teams.