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 Thursday, August 7, 1986




Upper Perkiomen rallies to even Tri-Co series

Of The Morning Call

Trailing 4-1 in the bottom of the fifth with the dark cloud of a thunderstorm approaching, Upper Perk knew it had better provide its own thunder and lightning before mother nature's brand ended its Tri-County League season last night.

So, the Chiefs boomed out six hits and six runs in the last of the fifth and were able to stave off elimination in their Tri-Co semifinal playoff series with a 7-4 victory over Coplay at Upper Perk High School.

The Chief win knotted the series at a game apiece with the third and deciding game to be played at 8:15 tonight at Coplay's Balliet Stadium.

"We knew we had to get a big inning going in a hurry," said Upper Perk player-manager Bob Graber. "It was getting dark fast and it was hard to see. We knew it wasn't going to go much past the fifth inning, so we figured we had to do something in that inning."

The Chiefs went on the warpath in the last of the fifth as Mike Svanson's two-run double and a two-run single by Keith Leamer put Upper Perk ahead and then an RBI-double by Todd Swenk and a run- scoring single by Kelly Adamitis provided insurance.

Coplay went down in turn in the top of the sixth and Upper Perk had two on and one out in its half of the sixth before the umpires halted play because of the darkness.

"That one inning just killed us," said Coplay's Rick Keppel, who filled in last night for the team's manager Bob Bartholomew who was unable to make the game. "With it getting darker and darker, we were just hoping to get out of the fifth inning with the lead. But they came up with the big inning tonight just as we came up with a big inning in the first game of this series."

Coplay (21-10) won the opening game of the series 8-7 Tuesday night and appeared to be on its way to wrapping things up last night before the Upper Perk bats started popping in the fifth.

Coplay jumped out in front in the first inning as John Marushok, perhaps the fastest player in league, singled to start the game and stole both second and third before scoring on Jeff Erie's single.

The lead grew to 3-0 in the third as Marushok again was the catalyst. Marushok, the state's top American Legion Player last summer, reached on a swinging bunt that Upper Perk could do nothing with and scored on Randy Remaly's triple into the gap in right- center. Remaly then scored on Erie's sacrifice fly to make it 3-0.

Upper Perk got on the board against Coplay lefthander Lou Falco in the third as winning pitcher Tom Cichocki delivered a sacrifice fly to score Adamitis. However,Coplay regained the three-run advantage in the top of the fourth as Russ Reinhard singled in Jeff Snyder.

Pete Hoff got the fifth started for the Chiefs with a walk and Cichocki followed with a single to right. At that point, Steve Weidner replaced a tiring Falco. "I relied solely on Lou's judgement and he said he had enough and we were hoping that since Steve hadn't pitched in awhile that he could get us out of the inning, but it wasn't to be," said Keppel.

Weidner gave up a bunt single to Graber before Svanson ripped a two-run double in the right-center gap to make it 4-3. Leamer then slapped his two-run single through a drawn-in infield for the tying and go-ahead runs.

Cichocki, the Chiefs' righthander, settled down after the fourth and wound up with a seven-hitter.

Graber said he will go with Todd Swenk in tonight's series finale, while Coplay was undecided about its starter.

"You can expect another close one and probably an offensive game," said Graber of tonight's decider. "We've been playing good ball the last half of the season and we would really like to win this series and meet Gilbertsville (the league's regular season champ and other semifinal winner) for the playoff championship.

"We're only about 15 minutes apart and have developed a good rivalry with them over the years. A playoff championship series between us would be a lot of fun."


From The Morning Call -- August 7, 1986

Copyright 1986, The Morning Call