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IMG_4076BY JEFF FALK

PALMYRA – Some people like the Lebanon County American Legion Basell League’s all-inclusive, six-team, double-elimination playoff format. Some don’t. But one would certainly be hard-pressed to argue against its effectiveness.

The postseason format reflected and rewarded regular-season play, and made it relevant. And it weeded out and identified the circuit’s top two teams.

On a balmy Friday night at Palmyra High School, Richland emphatically stated its case for being one of the county legion league’s top-echelon teams by blasting Campbelltown 14-4, in the loser’s bracket final of that tournament. Richland exploded for eight runs in the top of the sixth inning to bring the ten-run, mercy rule into play.

After going 7-9 during the regular season and earning the league’s fifth seed, Richland has now won three of its four playoff contets, all on the road. With the result, Richland advanced to Saturday’s 7 p.m. championship game at Fredericksburg’s Earl Wenger Memorial Field. A Richland win would force a second championship game and a winner-take-all scenario back at Earl Wenger Field on Sunday.

IMG_4189For top-seeded and regular-season champion Campblletown, it was a disappointing conclusion to a once promising season. Campbelltown compiled a 2-2 playoff record, after going 10-5 during the regular year.

In the five times the two sides met this summer, Richland won four of them, including a pair in the postseason.

The winner of the Lebanon County American Legion League postseason tournament will advance to the eight-team, double-elimination Region Four tournament at Hanover’s Diller Field next weekend.

“This is what the league tells us to do, so this is what we do,” said Richland manager Travis Thome. “The top two teams from the regular season get a first-round bye. That gives them something. Besides that, it’s baseball. I think we have the best lineup in the league, and we have solid pitching.

“The more games they (his players) play, the more the guys are comfortable,” continued Thome. “We’re getting to be more consistent. It’s a condensed season, and now the kids have gotten more at-bats.”

IMG_4128“No, I like the top four finishers playing best-of-three (semifinal) series,” said Campbelltown head coach Tim Morgan of the current playoff system. “But this is what we voted for.

“Yes, the season was a success,” added Morgan. “The kids are overjoyed to win the regular season.”

With the result hanging in the balance, Richland grabbed its destiny by the throat in top of the sixth.

Up 6-4, Richland sent a dozen batters to the dish in the frame and scored eight times. Four different Post 880 hitters stroked two-run hits – Travis Weaver, Pat Gibble, Clay Hain and Joey Ginder.

Weaver’s came after dangerous three-hole hitter Joesph Carpenter was intentionally walked to get to him, and seemed to open the floodgates.

“The top of our lineup did what it was supposed to do,” said Thome. “They got on base and they hit the baseball. And the bottom did a good job of turning the lineup over.

“I knew we had pretty much the same lineup as last night (Thursday against Fredericksburg),” Thome continued. “We have to score double-digit runs to win. We manufactured runs early to keep momentum going.”

“We played against men tonight,” said Morgan of Richland. “Those guys are studs. Everybody’s got a problem with somebody in this league, and they’re my problem. They just hit.

“We just can’t beat them,” added Morgan. “They were our two losses in the playoffs. Teams got other teams’ numbers this year.”

Another key for Richland was the start turned in by pitcher Matt Bentz. Bentz was effective over his first three frames, before tiring in the bottom of the fourth.

IMG_4124But his start allowed Richland to establish a 6-0 cushion. Campbelltown got to Bentz with two outs in the fourth – in the form of Frank Errichetti’s two-run double and Thomas Zeigler’s run-scoring single – then made it 6-4 with an unearned run in the fifth.

But neither Bentz or Richland ever surrendered the lead.

“He really doesn’t have many pitches,” said Thome of Bentz. “He has decent velocity. He’s effectively wild. He keeps batters off balance. He’s been pretty effective for us all year.

“Campbelltown’s always near the top of the league,” continued Thome. “You know you’re always going to get a good game from them. You’re always going to get good competition. But tonight we were definitely the better team.”

“We knew he (Thome) was out of pitching,” said Morgan. “I didn’t think that was anything special. Things just worked out for them. It’s the same old legion ball.”

IMG_4282Richland scratched out a two-out run in the top of the first inning. Carpenter walked, stole second and scored on a Weaver base-knock.

RBIs from Weaver, Hunter Bojanic and Gibble exteneded Post 880′s advantage to 4-0 in the top of the third. Then in the fourth, Ginder knocked in Hain and Bojanic drove home Weaver to push Richland’s lead to six runs.

“A big hit opens things up,” said Thome. “We had a different feeling tonight. We weren’t sitting on runs. We had the confidence that we were going to score more runs. I told the guys before the game that if they wanted to win, they were going to win.”

It’s over,” said Morgan. “We have a great team here. We have a young team here.

IMG_4146“There’s a great group of kids coming up,” Morgan continued. “Things are looking good. I hope one of these days we get 18 players and we get all of them here.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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IMG_4289To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com, or to view more go to https://lebanonsportsbuzz.com/photo-gallery/.

 

 

 

 

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Lebanon County American Legion

 Baseball League Playoff Standings

 Team W L

Fredericksburg 2 0

Richland 3 1

x-Campbelltow 2 1

x-Fifth Ward 1 2

IMG_4256x-Annville 1 2

x-Conrad Weiser 0 2

x-denotes eliminated

 

 

 

 

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Regular Season Standings

Team Won Lost Tied Pct. GB
Campbelltown 10 5 0 .667
Annville 8 7 0 .533 2.0
Fredericksburg 8 7 0 .533 2.0
5th Ward 7 7 1 .500 2.5
Richland 7 8 0 .467 3.0
Conrad Weiser 4 10 1 .286 5.5
Myerstown 0 0 0 .000 2.5

 

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Lebanon County American Legion League
Past Champions
 2017 – Fredericksburg*
 2016 – Annville
2015 – Myerstown
2014 – Myerstown
2013 – Campbelltown
2012 – Campbelltown
2011 – Annville
2010 – Campbelltown
2009 — Fredericksburg
2008 — Fredericksburg
2007 — Richland
IMG_40992006 — Richland
2005 — Richland
2004 — Annville
2003 — Fredericksburg
2002 — Richland
2001 — Fredericksburg
2000 — Fredericksburg
1999 — Fredericksburg
1998 — Palmyra
1997 — Fredericksburg
1996 — Fredericksburg
1995 — Fredericksburg
1994 — Fredericksburg
1993 — Fredericksburg*
1992 — Palmyra
1991 — Palmyra
1990 — Fredericksburg
IMG_42711989 — Fredericksburg
1988 — Palmyra
1987 — Fredericksburg
1986 — Fredericksburg*
1985 — Myerstown
1984 — Richland
1983 — Lebanon
1982 — Lebanon
1981 — Fredericksburg*
1980 — Richland
1979 — Fredericksburg
1978 — Myerstown
1977 — Fredericksburg
1976 — Fredericksburg
1975 — Myerstown
1974 — Lebanon
1973 — Fredericksburg
1972 — Myerstown*
IMG_42131971 — Myerstown*
1970 — Annville*
1969 — Annville*
1968 — Myerstown
1967 — Myerstown
1966 — Myerstown
1965 — Myerstown
1964 — Richland
1963 — Lebanon
1962 — Richland
1961 — Richland*
1960 — Not Contested
1959 — Fredericksburg
1958 — Fredericksburg
1957 — Fredericksburg
1956 — Lebanon
1955 — Myerstown
IMG_42051954 — Jonestown*
1953 — Myerstown
1952 — Palmyra*
1951 — Palmyra
1950 — Palmyra
1949 — Annville
1948 — Myerstown*
1947 — Lebanon
1946 — Myerstown
1945 — Not Contested (World War II)
1944 — Not Contested (World War II)
1943 — Not Contested (World War II)
1942 — Not Contested (World War II)
1941 — Lebanon*
IMG_42631940 — Myerstown
1939 — Myerstown
1938 — Myerstown*
1937 — Lebanon*
1936 — Lebanon
1935 — Annville
1934 — Annville
1933 — Myerstown
1932 — Lebanon*
1931 — Orioles*
1930 — Fifth Ward
1929 — Progressive
* Denotes regional champions
Note — The 1937 Lebanon squad was the only team from the county to win a state title. The 1981 Fredericksburg, the
1948 Myerstown and the 1938 Myerstown clubs were all state runners-up.

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