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IMG_7375BY JEFF FALK

MYERSTOWN – For some, it’s a day of rest. But for John Binner and Campbelltown, Sunday was a day to accomplish some meaningful and fulfilling hard work.

For yesterday was a day when Binner and Campbelltown fully took control of their destiny.

Behind two pitching victories from Binner and three big hitting innings, Campbelltown swept Myerstown 5-3 and 12-5 in a home-and-home doubleheader during Sunday’s p.m., as part of the Lebanon County American Legion baseball league’s Warren ‘Lefty’ Grumbine best-of-five championship series. Following Saturday’s weather-related postponement of the opening game of the title set, the league scheduled games at Palmyra High School Sunday afternoon and at Myerstown Legion Field on Sunday evening.

Binner got the win in relief of Tyler Morder in the first game when he and his mates rallied from a 3-0 deficit. Then in the nightcap, the sturdy right hander went the distance, benefiting from an early 10-0 lead.

The twinbill  sweep put reigning regular-season and overall league champion C-town in the driver’s set for yet another crown. Campbelltown, now 16-4, will carry a 2-0 series lead into Monday’s 5:45 p.m. Game Three, back at Palmyra High School.

IMG_7404Myerstown, which entered the postseason as the second seed, fell to 12-7 on the summer.

“There was a lot of bad stuff going on in the first game,” said Palmyra head coach Tim Morgan. “Everybody thinks we’re the prima donnas of the league. When you win, everybody wants you to lose. These kids love to play. You can’t feel sorry for people. It’s not over until it’s over. I’m not in the driver’s seat. I won two games.

“I’m not saying that, not with this team (Myerstown),” Morgan added. “I’m up two games. That doesn’t mean anything.’

“Everybody wants to beat them, and beat them every time,” said Myerstown head coach Johnny Mentzer of Campbelltown. “They’re a good team. When they’re winning, they’re good. I’d love to come back and beat them three times, but the odds against that happening are pretty big.

“It’s easy to be cocky when things are going your way,” added Mentzer. “It’s easy to have a chip on your shoulder when things are going your way. What impressed me is how our guys came back after getting down in the second game.”

After throwing 28 pitches in the afternoon, Binner started the nightcap in Myerstown. It appeared Morgan was going to stick with Binner until Myerstown got to him or he ran out of gas. But neither ever happened.

IMG_7402By the time Binner had given up his first hit in the second game, Campbelltown was up 10-0 in the fourth inning. He ended up allowing six hits, striking out one and walking one. He enjoyed three 1-2-3 innings.

“He doesn’t realize how huge that was,”  said Morgan of Binner. “(Batters) one through five is tough on this team (Myerstown). You throw good strikes and good things happen. He threw a total of 118 pitches, that’s still not bad. I was starting up twice. I almost did something (replaced Binner on the mound).

“I don’t like games like this at all,” Morgan continued. “It turns into a circus. It doesn’t make your team any better. You lose your focus. I don’t like to stop playing the game.”

“We hit the ball all over the place,” said Mentzer. “They (C-town) made the plays. He (Binner) got a lot of help defensively. He did his job. We just didn’t get the hits when we needed to.

“I don’t think so (that C-town has the deepest pitching in the league), personally,” Mentzer continued. “Outside of Morder and (Josh) Sollenberger, that’s the first time I saw Binner throw this year. That’s key. They have pitchers who come in and throw strikes. That helps them immensely. That’s what kills us.”

Myerstown starter Jake Stager was the victim of walks and errors in the second game.

Campbelltown needed just two hits to assume a 4-0 lead in the first inning. One of those knocks was Mitch Sauley’s two-run single, while teammate Sollenberger contributed a bases-loaded walk.

Campbelltown collected just a pair of hits as part of its six-run third inning. Mike Fuhrman laced an RBI-single for C-town, and Sollenberger, Zach Miller and Morder also drove home runs.

IMG_7358“I’m still moving this lineup  all over the place,” said Morgan. “I have some good hitters who are struggling. But you’ve got to try to make things happen. You’ve got to roll the dice.

“I love doing the first-and-third (double steal),” Morgan added. “I like making runs. I love making things happen. I’ve been in too many playoff games when you’re up 12, and all of a sudden it’s 12-9. When you get a chance to stick a sword into someone, you better take it.”

“The game was over after the third inning,” said Mentzer. “We were trying to win the game from there on, win the momentum. When you give up that many runs, you’re not going to win the game.

IMG_7387“Walks kill you,” Mentzer added. “That’s what killed us in the second game.”

Myerstown’s Chris Kreider touched Binner for a two-run homer in the bottom of the fourth to make it 10-2. But Campbelltown got those runs back in its next at-bat, courtesy of Morder’s triple, Bryce Betz’s RBI and a balk.

“Tomorrow is for all the marbles,” said Morgan. “I’d love to get this team some rest. Pitching’s at a premium.”

“They got things going their way,” said Mentzer of Campbelltown. “We beat them 5-2 over the last four innings. Momentum is back on our side. We’re in a tough spot. But we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”

The first half of the afternoon opener was a pitching duel between Myerstown’s Mike Wealand and C-town’s Morder. Myerstown actually broke through first, but it was Fuhrman who struck the decisive blow for the winners.

Sollenberger and Betz contributed a couple of hits apiece to the Campbelltown side, while Cody Horst recorded two hits for Myerstown.

“Everybody always expects Michael to get it done,” said Morgan of Fuhrman. “The last few games we’ve been playing from behind. That gets scary. But Johnny (Mentzer) is hurting with his main man (Conor Bawiec) not being here.”

“In the first game, we walked a guy to load the bases in front of Mike Fuhrman,” said Mentzer. “That’s the only guy on that team that scares me.

“No, I wouldn’t say it’s over,” Mentzer concluded. “But it doesn’t help our cause, losing a doubleheader. Two losses on the same day to the same team, that’s tough to come back on.”

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