BY JEFF FALK
FREDERICKSBURG – Most outsiders believed that its first two opponents were better teams than Campbelltown. This time, this one clearly was.
On Tuesday evening at Earl Wenger Memorial Field, high-flying Campbelltown was brought back to earth by a 9-2 defeat at the hands of a very talented Pleasureville club, in the Undefeated Game of the eight-team, double-elimination Region Four baseball tournament. After Campbelltown jumped out on top with an unearned first-inning run, it was all Pleasureville, as the York County champions battered five C-town hurlers for a dozen hits and scored in five of their eight at-bats.
It was the initial loss of the tournament for a surprising Campbelltown club which had sprung upsets over its first two days. The outcome set up an intriguing and rare third-round loser’s bracket match-up between two Lebanon County teams.
Campbelltown, now 15-10, will take on host Fredericksburg, on Wednesday at 4 p.m. back at Earl Wenger Field, for the right to represent the locale in the final day of the tournament. During Lebanon County American Legion League play, Fredericksburg went 5-0 against Campbelltown, which included two straight wins in the circuit’s best-of-three championship series.
The triumph was Pleasureville’s third straight in the event and eighth overall. Now 21-1-1 over the summer, P-ville will take on Dauphin County champ Linglestown in Wednesday’s 7 p.m. nightcap.
“Any other team, I thought we had a good chance against,” said Campbelltown head coach Tim Morgan. “They (Pleasureville) execute. They throw strikes. They get Linglestown, but I don’t see anybody beating them. I’d love to play that team again (on Thursday) with Blatty pitching and (Dylan) Spagnolo in the lineup.”
In the top of the opening inning. Campbelltown produced the same kind of magic that had been integral in its first two eye-openers. A Pleasureville error paved the way for red-hit Isaac Blatt’s RBI-double and a 1-0 C-town lead.
“There’s nobody beating that team. Hands down,” said Morgan of Pleasureville. “In warm-ups they looked like a major league team – zip, zip, zip. And they hit the ball.”
“We’re in the finals, you can’t get much better than that,” said Pleasureville manager Elliott Ness. “It was my first time here, and a lot of our guys’ first time here. I didn’t know what to expect. We didn’t know much about the other teams. We wanted to come out and play our game. We have to play defense. We like to bunt and move guys and put pressure on the defense.”
Pleasureville touched Campbelltown starter Sam Zeigler for runs in three consecutive innings – the bottoms of the third, fourth and fifth innings – to open a 4-1 cushion.
But Campbelltown got one of those runs back in the top of the seventh. Kasey Shughart led off with a walk, then after a two-out single from Blatt, Shughart scored on another Pleasureville error.
“We got the game to 4-2,” said Morgan. “Now we’ve got to beat Fredericksburg tomorrow. Every time we played them, we didn’t throw our best pitcher. If we lose tomorrow, I’ll be more than happy with what I got out of these little guys.”
“He struggled in the first inning,” said Ness of his starter, Brandon Walters. “But he battled through it. I don’t know that he had his best stuff. But he settled down. We were trying to get him through seven innings.”
Pleasureville all but settled the affair with three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. Courtesy of four hits, its first five batters in the frame reached base, and three scored.
The York County champions rounded out the scoring with two runs in the bottom of the eighth.
“He did good,” said Morgan of his starter, Sam Zeigler. “But he couldn’t get his number-two over. That was his problem. That’s a big spotlight. This was the biggest game of his life.”
“Our approach at the plate in the first two innings wasn’t good,” said Ness. “We were looking at fastballs right down the middle of the plate on the first pitch. And their guy (Zeigler) had a good change-up. We told our guys, ‘Attack in the zone. Don’t get yourself down in the count.’
“That’s when we started getting hits, when we had better approaches,” continued Ness. “You’re working to get your count. Once we got more aggressive in the zone, the offense got going.”
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