BY JEFF FALK
PALMYRA – Campbelltown finally caught up to Cole Miller. And because it took some doing, it was just in the nick of time.
Ryan James’ run-scoring single to left field with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning scored Zach Yingst with the winning run, as Campbelltown rallied past Myerstown 5-4 on a sticky Thursday evening at Palmyra High School, to capture its best-of-three Lebanon County American Legion baseball playoff series, 2-1. James’ game-winning walk-off came on the heels of Brady Powell’s two-run single, as Campbelltown overcame a 4-1 final inning deficit.
The result pushed fourth-seeded Campbelltown, now 8-9 overall, into a best-of-three semifinal set with top-seeded Fredericksburg. That series is expected to get underway on Friday at 7 p.m. at Earl Wenger Memorial Field in Fredericksburg.
Defending champion and fifth-seeded Myerstown, which had downed Campbelltown in a similar walk-off fashion on Wednesday night, concluded its campaign at 6-12. Last season, Myerstown won its second consecutive Lebanon County American Legion baseball championship on the same Palmyra High School ball yard.
This year, Campbelltown took five of the six overall meetings with M-town.
“Brady was 1-2 (in the count) and he’s been struggling,” said Campbelltown head coach Tim Morgan. “The kids who got us those runs don’t usually hit a lick.
“I knew we were going to get the guy (Voight) who beat Fredericksburg, and after that I didn’t think they (Myerstown) had any pitching,” continued Morgan. “Then they brought (Cole) Miller in and he was throwing peas. Miller’s got it going on.”
“He was going to finish it,” said Myerstown head coach Ken Bogdanovich of C. Miller. “I had nowhere else to go. He was the closer for his high school team (Elco). He wants to be a leader.
“It’s tough,” Bogdanovich added. “I’m not going to say it’s not hard.”
In addition to losing just a little pop on his fastball in the bottom of the seventh, C. Miller also appeared to cramp up from the heat and humidity.
Campbelltown clean-up hitter Evan Hallowell’s RBI single made it 4-2, after an Isaac Blatt double had placed C-town runners on second and third with one out. Yingst walked to load the bases, before Powell fought off some tough pitches to tie the game and James stroked his game-winner.
“I remember when the kid (C. Miller) was getting treatment, Blatty and Hallowell came over to me and I told them, ‘Hey, this isn’t over,'” said Morgan. ” ‘Let’s do to them what they did to us’. And I’ll be darned, it happened. This is the kind of game you’ll remember for the rest of your life.”
“They hit the ball,” said Bogdanovich of Campbelltown. “It is what it is. That was the first time he (C. Miller) went that long, so maybe he didn’t have his best stuff at the end. It (the cramps) may have affected him, but I had nowhere else to go.”
With C. Miller cruising, Myerstown built what appeared to be a comfortable 4-1 lead by notching two runs in the top of the seventh inning.
It all started with Dane Miller’s lead-off single and Andy Bogdanovich’s bunt hit. And it ended with RBI-singles from Vinny Vitelli and Hunter Witters.
“He was exhausted too,” said Morgan of his starter, winning pitcher Dylan Spagnolo. “But he hung in there. He got darn outs. There’s certain players on their team that you can’t get out.”
“He pitched well,” said Bogdanovich of Spagnolo. “We hit him. We scored our runs. But we had some base running opportunities we didn’t take advantage of.
“It’s competitive baseball,” continued Bogdanovich. “From the top to the bottom in this league, there are some good teams. A three-game series is tough to win when you don’t have pitching. We were forced to go to Cole.”
Myerstown grabbed a 2-0 advantage in the top of the second inning.
The big blow was Brett Bawiec’s RBI-triple to right field, which scored Noah Marinkov, who had led off with a double. Bawiec came around himself, on Tyler Price’s safety squeeze bunt.
“It’s just a good feeling to win this,” said Morgan. “But I’m going to be honest with you, we don’t have any more pitching. We’re done.
“It’s going to be really tough,” Morgan added. “Our arms are hanging. It’ll be an embarrassment.”
“I’m disappointed it ended here,” said Bogdanovich. “We’re playing well as a team. We had one bad inning. I’m disappointed it’s over, but Campbelltown is a good team. I wish the guys who aren’t coming back the best.”
C. Miller entered the game in the bottom of the second inning, with the bases loaded and nobody out. He got out of that jam by striking out the side, and carried the 2-0 lead into the bottom of the fourth.
But a Myerstown error in that frame opened the door for Campbelltown, and it was James who touched C. Miller for a two-out, run-scoring single that made it 2-1.
“It’s always disappointing when you don’t go on,” said Bogdanovich. “But it was a fun team. There was camaraderie there. They’re all good kids.”
Spagnolo, Campbelltown’s number-three starter, scattered ten hits, struck out one and walked three.
“We wanted to win this,” said Morgan. “With what we’ve got and as young as we are, Fredericksburg is loaded. I’m not saying we can’t beat them, but it’s going to be tough. Who knows.
“We didn’t have a great regular season,” Morgan added. “It’s kind of a rebuilding year. Like anything else, everything goes in cycles.”
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Lebanon County American Legion Baseball League
Final Regular Season Standings
2016 Campbelltown Results
|7/1/2016||L||Fredericksburg 10 Campbelltown 0|
|6/30/2016||L||Annville 3 Campbelltown 0|
|6/28/2016||PPD||Annville 0 Campbelltown 0|
|6/27/2016||L||5th Ward 6 Campbelltown 1|
|6/26/2016||L||Richland 5 Campbelltown 4|
|6/24/2016||FFV||Campbelltown 0 Myerstown 0|
|6/22/2016||L||Annville 10 Campbelltown 0|
|6/21/2016||W||Campbelltown 9 Richland 0|
|6/20/2016||L||5th Ward 3 Campbelltown 2|
|6/19/2016||L||Fredericksburg 4 Campbelltown 3|
|6/15/2016||L||Fredericksburg 1 Campbelltown 0|
|6/14/2016||W||Campbelltown 4 Richland 1|
|6/13/2016||W||Campbelltown 6 Myerstown 1|
|6/12/2016||W||Campbelltown 10 Myerstown 7|
|6/9/2016||W||Campbelltown 8 5th Ward 4|
2016 Myerstown Results
|6/30/2016||W||Myerstown 7 Richland 4|
|6/29/2016||W||Myerstown 8 5th Ward 2|
|6/27/2016||W||Myerstown 3 Fredericksburg 2|
|6/26/2016||L||Annville 10 Myerstown 3|
|6/24/2016||FFV||Campbelltown 0 Myerstown 0|
|6/22/2016||L||Fredericksburg 5 Myerstown 4|
|6/20/2016||W||Myerstown 2 Richland 1|
|6/19/2016||FFV||Myerstown 0 5th Ward 0|
|6/14/2016||L||Annville 17 Myerstown 6|
|6/13/2016||L||Campbelltown 6 Myerstown 1|
|6/12/2016||L||Campbelltown 10 Myerstown 7|
|6/9/2016||L||Richland 5 Myerstown 1|
|6/8/2016||L||Fredericksburg 9 Myerstown 1|
|6/6/2016||L||5th Ward 1 Myerstown 0|
|6/1/2016||L||Annville 4 Myerstown 3|