Coplay's 4-3 win sets up
Of The Morning Call
When members of the
Upper Perk Chiefs get cold this coming winter, they can always think of the
bottom of the seventh inning last night at Coplay's Balliet Stadium. Chances
are, they'll get hot in a hurry.
'ball' call on a 3-2 pitch gave Bill Erie a walk to force in the winning run as
Coplay nipped Upper Perk 4-3 in the deciding game of their Tri-County League
semifinal playoff series at Balliet Stadium.
The Coplay victory
sends it into a rematch with Gilbertsville for the Tri-Co's playoff
championship. Gilbertsville swept Coplay 2-0 in the regular season
championship series last week.
series gets under way at 2 o'clock tomorrow afternoon at Gilbertsville with
the second game scheduled for 8:15 Sunday night at Coplay. Upper Perk will
undoubtedly be thinking about Coplay often until next season. After plate
umpire Larry Horn's 'ball' call, the Chiefs went on the warpath and a heated
argument ensued for several minutes. But the call stood and Upper Perk's
season was over.
"Since I was playing
centerfield, I can't say much," said Chief player-manager Bob Graber, whose
team finished up with a 20-11 record. "I have to go by how the catcher
reacts to the pitch and our catcher didn't even move his glove after the
ball. The pitch hit his target. All I know is, we've had lots of problems
with him (Horn) before and at the end, we had to get it all off our chest.
"If it had happened
during the season, we could have bounced back from it. But now, we've got to
think about that call all winter."
Upper Perk will also
have to think about a couple of costly fielding miscues which didn't help
its cause either. In fact one of the fielding errors set up the
Bill Pugh led off
the last of the seventh with a single. Lou Falco tired to sacrifice Pugh up
to second, but his bunt popped up into the air and was caught by Chief third
baseman Tom Cichocki. Cichocki then fired the ball to third in an attempt to
double up Pugh for the double play. But Cichocki's throw went into the
right-field bleachers, allowing Pugh to advance all the way around to third.
Upper Perk then did
the only thing it could do as both Steve Snyder and Chuck Mondschein were
intentionally walked to load the bases and set up a force at any bag. Coplay
then sent up Erie as a pinch-hitter and Chief right-hander Todd Swenk got
ahead of Erie 0-2. Then came a foul ball and four straight balls to end it.
"To me, it looked
like a strike," admitted Coplay manager Bob Bartholomew, who was standing in
the third-base coaching box when the controversial pitch was thrown. "But it
could have gone either way and that's baseball, that's the breaks."
Upper Perk had
jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first when a walk, a hit batsman
and a bunt single loaded the bases before Mike Svanson hit a sacrifice fly
to make it 1-0. Matt Duka's fielder's choice grounder scored the other run.
Coplay answered back
with a run in the bottom of the first on a double by Jeff Erie and a
run-scoring single by Pugh.
In the second, three
straight walks loaded the bases for Upper Perk with one out and Bartholomew
removed starter Dan Baranek from the game and replaced him with Jim Emerick.
Emerick worked out of that jam and allowed just one run in his 5 2/3 innings
got two unearned runs off of Swenk in the second. With two out, Jeff Sodl
singled and advanced all the way to third when Steve Weidner's hard grounder
went through the legs of Chief first baseman Keith Leamer. The error put two
runners in scoring position and Randy Remaly brought them in with a single
to left to put Coplay up 3-2.
Upper Perk tied the
game in the fourth on Pete Hoff's RBI-single. But Emerick worked out of a
first and third jam without further damage that inning and wasn't touched
the rest of the way.
"Jim's our ace and I
was going to leave him in there even if his arm fell off because our
pitching staff is in bad shape," said Bartholomew. "This was a very tough
series, all the games were close. Now, we're looking forward to another
crack at Gilbertsville."
From The Morning Call --
August 8, 1986
The Morning Call