A collective groan echoed through the Annville side. But what it was was the ultimate show of respect.
Something very interesting transpired during Wednesday’s Lebanon County American Legion baseball playoff opener between Annville and Richland. On that particular evening, Annville clean-up hitter Tyler Napierala appeared at the plate four times, and all four times he was issued free passes.
Not all that out of ordinary, except for the fact that three of those walks were of the intentional variety. And the fourth was an unintentional intentional, pitch-around walk.
“We absolutely respect him,” said Richland manager Lyle Krall of Napierala. “He’s probably the best hitter in the County, bar none. That’s why we walked him. We weren’t going to let him beat us. Sure we respect him.”
Krall went on to call Napierala one of the best players in the local circuit, citing his pitching ability, his versatility, his speed and his fielding prowess.
The Lebanon County American Legion baseball double-elimination playoff tournament is also referred to as the Warren ‘Lefty’ Grumbine Championship Series in honor of its fallen past president who died in a car accident following 30 years of service to the league.