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  As a team, Annville hasn’t hit a lick this summer. So how has it stayed in the thick of the Lebanon County American Legion baseball playoff race?

 Pitching and defense.

 On Tuesday at Annville-Cleona High School, it was Eric Sipling’s turn to toe the rubber for Annville, and he turned in another stellar outing, during a 3-1 victory over Fredericksburg.

 Sipling, a lanky right-hander who also toils for the Elizabethtown College baseball team in the spring, held Fredericksburg in check most of the way and seemed to get stronger as the game went along. Sipling finished what he started, fired 99 pitches, allowed five hits, fanned 11 and walked one.

 After working out of some early trouble, Sipling retired eight Fredericksburg hitters in-a-row over the middle innings. Sipling’s teammates supported him with two first-inning runs, then added an insurance tally in the bottom of fifth and played steady defense throughout.

 The result gave Annville a one-game lead over Fredericksburg in the race for the West Division’s final playoff spot, in the Lebanon County American Legion baseball circuit.

 Back on May 28th, Sipling had turned in a similar route-going performance during a 3-1 triumph at Fifth Ward.

 – Jeff Falk


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