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 BY JEFF FALK

 PALMYRA – Which is more important – more meaningful – an opportunity to play for a Lebanon County American Legion baseball league championship or a trip to the eight-team, double-elimination Region Four tournament? Let’s just say Campbelltown is going to have its cake and eat it too.

 On a steamy Friday night at In The Net Sports Complex, Campbelltown earned the right to do both by sweeping Myerstown in a county legion baseball semifinal-playoff doubleheader. Post 831 downed M-town 5-1 in the opener, then posted an 8-1 triumph in the nightcap.

 Seven different Post 831 batters drove in runs, as Campbelltown broke open close games in both ends of the twinbill.

 With the sweep, Campbelltown, the champion of the West Division and now 17-2, advanced to the Lebanon County American Legion League championship series against East Division champion Ephrata, which completed a similar semifinal sweep of Annville with a 10-0 triumph on Friday. What has yet to be determined is whether the championship series will be a three-game set or a one-game showdown, but either way it will be played/begin Monday at 5:45 p.m. at In The Net.

 What is known is that Campbelltown will represent the local legion circuit at the Region Four tournament Ephrata is hosting at War Memorial Field, beginning Friday.

 Myerstown concluded its resilient summer at 11-8. Overall, Campbelltown beat Myerstown four times this summer, by a combined margin of 33-3.

 “That was the goal,” said Campbelltown head coach Tim Morgan of regionals. “But 17-2, that’s good stuff.

 “We’ve been leaving a ton of runners on base,” continued Morgan. “We scored 57 runs in our first four games of the season, then the bats went silent. But I think our pitching and defense can carry us.”

 “We didn’t have our top three pitchers,” said Myerstown assistant head coach Johnny Mentzer. “It’s the cards we were dealt. We’re not that much worse than them. We were in both games. It would’ve been nice if we would’ve had our top guns here.

 “We talk about playing one game at a time,” Mentzer continued. “For me, I’m just trying to win baseball games. Winning breeds success. It’s about making these guys better baseball players and better young men.”

 The key moment of Game One came in the bottom of the fifth inning, with the score tied at one

 Pinch-hitter Frank Ericchetti’s two-run single gave Campbelltown a 3-1 lead it would never relinquish. Ericchetti’s clutch hit came after teammates Trevor Binner and Austin Baal had singled, and Christian Kreiser had doubled.

 Then in the bottom of the sixth, C-town padded its advantage to 5-1, courtesy of Gage Miller’s two-out, two-run single.

  “In that first game, when we faced that same kid (Myerstown starter Mason Gupta) at Myerstown, it was zero-zero before we broke it open,” said Morgan. “Our whole team ERA is 1.35. We’ve got pitching and we’ve got defense. We just don’t hit. It just takes us a while to get going.”

  “If you were here watching, you know these games were different than the final scores indicate,” said Mentzer. “They were close baseball games. We didn’t play bad defensively. We didn’t shoot ourselves in the foot. We just didn’t get the clutch hits, but we ran out of pitching.”

 Campbelltown received solid outings from pitchers Brian Coburn, Austin Baal and Braeden Drescher.

 Coburn got the win in the opener, by going the distance on a five-hiter. With his 97 pitches, Coburn struck out nine and didn’t walk a batter.

 Baal started Game Two, but gave way to Drescher in the bottom of the third inning, with the game score-less, the bases loaded and one out. Drescher wiggled out of that jam, and went on to get the win by surrendering one hit and one walk, and striking out five over three-plus innings of work.

 “He just got back from vacation,” said Morgan of Drescher. “I never expected that. Austin didn’t have his good stuff going. But that’s why Drescher didn’t start. My thing was keeping Drescher under 45 pitches. That way we’re good for Monday.

 “I felt really good about things,” Morgan added. “The last time Austin threw against them, he had it going. They (his players) seemed flat, but then they finally got it going.”

 “I thought we threw the ball well,” said Mentzer. “That 5-1 game was not indicative of how we pitched. And (Game Two starter) Ryan Miller shut them down for the first four innings of the second game. Unfortunately, that’s baseball.

 “They’re (Campbelltown) a good team,” added Mentzer. “It’s going to be a good series with Ephrata. They’re going to struggle pitching-wise against Ephrata. I think they’re going to be very competitive with them, but Ephrata is very strong offensively.”

 Campbelltown pieced together a pair of four-run rallies, in the top of the fifth and sixth innings of the nightcap. In each one, Post 831 sent ten batters to the plate and the first four batters in both frames all reached base.

 Jake Roe, Kasey Shughart, Trevor Binner and Christian Kreiser all drove in C-town runs in the fifth. Shughart, Binner and Kreiser duplicated the feat in the sixth, while Miller also drove home a Campbelltown run.

 “There’s a little bit of drama with the championship series,” said Morgan. “Why would you want to play a best-of-three series? That’s not happening. I prefer one game and done.

 “Sure, we can beat Ephrata,” Morgan continued. “When we threw our lefties against them in the regular season, we beat them.”

  “I just hope this is a turning point for the program going forward,” said Mentzer. “Hopefully, the success we had will carry over. We have a lot of kids back. We’re young. We’re trying to build a culture that will carry over.

 “We (he and father John Mentzer, Sr.) love it. We love the game,” continued Mentzer. “It would be hard to walk away. But I have a family at home. The three of us (Johhny, John Sr. and assistant coach Todd Beasley) will sit down and we’ll see what happens.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2019 Campbelltown Results

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2019 Myerstown Results

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Lebanon County American Legion Baseball League

 West Division Standings

Team Won Lost Tied Pct. GB RF RA
Campbelltown 15 2 0 .882 116 31
Annville 7 10 0 .412 8.0 44 70
Fredericksburg 6 11 0 .353 9.0 74 97
5th Ward 5 12 0 .294 10.0 44 87

 

 

 East Division Standings

Team Won Lost Tied Pct. GB RF RA
Ephrata 14 3 0 .824 150 40
Myerstown 11 6 0 .647 3.0 73 70
Richland 7 10 0 .412 7.0 84 111
Conrad Weiser 3 14 0 .177 11.0 29 108

 

 

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