BY JEFF FALK
MYERSTOWN – One produced a playoff spot. Two earned a shot at first place.
The Myerstown American Legion baseball club didn’t get what it wanted. But Iit got what it needed.
On a toasty Monday night at Elco High School’s Lyle Krall Field, Myerstown split two playoff-implication results with Richland. After Richland captured a suspended game 1-0 on Reilly Peiffer’s RBI-double in bottom of the 11th inning, Myerstown rebounded with a 7-6 victory in the regularly-scheduled, complete-game nightcap.
The second outcome was only secured after Myerstown’s Dakota Smith laced a two-run, two-out double in the top of the seventh, and Richland stranded the potential tying run at third base with nobody out. Peiffer’s ringing double to straight-away centerfield in the bottom of the only inning contested had given Richland a victory from a game suspended earlier in the summer.
With the split, Myerstown, now 10-5, clinched second-place and the final playoff spot in the Lebanon County American Legion League’s East Division. On the other hand, the results eliminated Richland, now 6-8 on the summer, from postseason consideration.
Back on June 24 at the Myerstown Legion Field, old Post 55 had beaten Richland 13-3.
“We needed to win one of two to clinch a playoff spot,” said Myerstown assistant head coach Johnny Mentzer. “We truly want to win every game. But we beat them in the full game, which has more emphasis.
“We still can finish first,” Mentzer continued. “They (first-place Ephrata) have a couple more games left. But if we don’t win baseball games, it doesn’t matter. We’re going to need help no matter what. But I try to keep the kids focused on the game at hand.”
“Ultimately we split, but we lost the season series with them,” said Richland head coach Travis Thome of Myerstown. “Not taking the second game was key. That was the important game, as far as the playoffs go.