BY JEFF FALK
EPHRATA – To realize success at the regional tournament, teams must navigate some initial hurdles – its aura, its power to take you out of your comfort zone, its ability to disrupt your continuity and consistency.
For Campbelltown, it was just more of the same. And that was a good thing.
On a steamy Friday afternoon at Ephrata’s War Memorial Field, Campbelltown’s magical summer spilled over into the regional postseason, with a 7-5 triumph over Mechanicsubrg, in the opening round of the eight-team, double-elimination Region Four tournament. After racing out to an early 6-0 lead, Campbelltown held off Mechanicsburg behind a gutsy route-going outing by starter Braeden Drescher.
With the outcome, the Lebanon County champions moved to 19-2 overall and into Saturday’s 7 p.m. winner’s bracket contest, versus the winner between host Ephrata and York County runner-up New Oxford. It was also Campbelltown’s seventh straight triumph, four of which have been of the playoff variety.
Mechanicsburg, the runner-up from Cumberland County, slipped to 11-6 and into the consolation bracket of the event.
“It’s a regional championship that we’d love to have,” said Campbelltown skipper Tim Morgan. “This whole team is coming back next year. But (Brian) Coburn and (Christian) Kreiser weren’t here today. If we can survive another day, they’re coming back. When they’re not here it changes the chemistry of the team.”
“We’re trying to win it all,” said outfielder Trevor Binner, who drove in three of the Campbelltown runs, “go to states and win that too. We thought we had a good chance coming into this. We thought we could do well.
“It’s really important to win the first one,” continued Binner. “You just have to have confidence in yourself. We play at 7 (p.m.) tomorrow, we’ll get some rest and hopefully go out and win that one too.”
At the outset, Campbelltown appeared poised to blow Mechanicsburg away.
In the top of the opening inning, Gage Miller’s lead-off single and Kasey Shughart’s sacrifice paved the way for a Binner RBI-triple and an Austin Ball RBI-single, and C-town’s 2-0 lead. Then in the top of the second, Post 831 was back at it again.
A two-run double from Binner and another run-producing safety from Baal made it 6-0. That stage had been set by walks to Shughart and Drescher, Ben Slusser being hit by a pitch and a wild pitch.