North Parkland upsets Upper
Perk 8-4 in Tri-Co
Of The Morning Call
According to the conventional wisdom, it's supposed to be a very large, very
difficult step upward in class from high school baseball to one of the area's
amateur leagues, but don't try to sell that notion to Jim Braim, Dan Yannes or
Dan Levenson - who, only last year, starred for District 11 Class 3A runner-up
Parkland High School.
night, with a liberal dose of assistance from "graybeards" like Chris Peischl
and player-manager George Horn - and another Trojan of recent vintage, Tom
Yankanich - that trio of 19-year olds played key roles in North Parkland's 8-4
upset of Tri-County League South Division leading Upper Perkiomen on the Chiefs'
field in Red Hill.
Braim, a crafty righthander who recently finished his freshman year at Penn
State, held the normally hard-hitting Chiefs to just four scattered hits
through five innings as his mates built a 5-1 lead, weathered a rocky sixth
inning during which Upper Perk bunched five hits to pull to within 5-4 and
upped his personal record to 3-2. Yannes, now at Temple, smacked a
first-inning triple and a pair of singles (one a seventh-inning
run-producer), scored three times and played flawlessly at shortstop,
gobbling up three of the numerous ground ball outs Braim served up.
Levenson, the third member of North Parkland's "Kiddie Korps?" Well, the
husky backstop, a student at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington,
had just one hit - an RBI-single right in the thick of the winners'
important, bounce-back three-run rally in the top of the seventh. But,
according to Braim, his contributions to the victory were more considerable
kept the ball down, threw a lot of ground balls and kept the ball in play,"
said Braim, who didn't try out for baseball in Nittany Valley but plans to
do so as a sophomore. "When you do that, you can't get hurt too bad. The
guys played good defense behind me (just one error). And, oh yes . . .
before I get myself in trouble, I'd better mention that Dan (Levenson)
called a great game for me."
Neither Braim nor Yannes was overly concerned about being able to jump up
from the high school ranks and mix it up with the older guys. "Not really,"
Braim said. "Sure, I was a little nervous in my first game, but I've been
able to keep the ball down. I'm not a strikeout pitcher, anyway. My fastball
sinks a little, and I throw a slider and an occasional splitter (split-
fingered fastball). But no, this wasn't really my best game - I think I
threw much better (in a 2-1 loss) against Gilbertsville."
Yannes wasn't overawed either. Just excited. "I'm very excited about
playing," he said, "because I sat out the whole spring season. (Yannes,
who's on a full baseball scholarship at Temple, along with another former
Trojan, pitcher Todd Miller, was redshirted). I had the option (whether to
redshirt or not). The reason I chose to was that all three of our starting
outfielders (that's where the Owls plan to play him) were seniors; so I'll
have a good shot at playing next season."
North Parkland (now 10-7 and in third place in the Tri-Co North) seized a
4-0 lead, scoring once in the first on Yannes' triple and an error and three
times in the third. The key blow in the latter rally was a booming two-run
double to left-center by one of the old timers - Horn - who also singled in
the seventh as the winners' answered Upper Perk's three-run, sixth-inning
rally with one of their own to ease the pressure on the youthful righthander.
The Chiefs (12-4) got one back in the bottom of the third on a walk to Chris
Fluck, a wild pitch and a double by Bob Graber. But North Parkland made it
5-1 in the fourth on Jim Kucharczuk's long double to left and an RBI-single
by Yankanich - who enjoyed a perfect 3-for-3 evening.
Chiefs made a game of it in the bottom of the sixth on a double by Todd
Swenk and singles by Matt Duka, John Yeakel (2-for-2 with a walk), pinch
hitter Bruce Blank and Pete Hoff. But North Parkland met that challenge in
the top of the seventh, scoring three times against reliever Craig Kriebel
on singles by Yankanich, Peischl (2-for-3), Yannes, Horn and Levenson.
"Yeah," Braim said, "I was concerned (when the Chiefs rallied) in the sixth.
But I still felt I was in control. The ump was squeezing the corners a
little. And I was still throwing ground balls. But, in that inning, they
just weren't going to my fielders."
You got the feeling the kids belonged up here.
From The Morning Call --
June 30, 1988
The Morning Call