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 Saturday, August 13, 1988




Fatzinger powers Limeport to victory

Of The Morning Call

"I don't know where it came from, maybe it's just a matter of too many beers," kidded Limeport's Billy Fatzinger last night after he slugged three home runs, including a grand slam, in leading his team to a 17-4 pasting of the Allentown Angels in the opening game of the Tri-County League's Playoff Championship Series in Scherersville.

If a few brews explained it, then you can bet both Limeport (20-13) and the Angels (25-8) will be stocking up on the cases today in time for tonight's second game in the best-of-three series, beginning at 8 p.m. at Fegely Stadium.

Truthfully, it's hard to explain where Fatzinger's sudden burst of power came from. The slender outfielder had not hit a home run since the opening game of the season back on May 15 at Scherersville in a game against Salisbury.

"I don't know if my swing changed or what," said Fatzinger, a 1982 Dieruff High graduate. "I've never been a home run hitter. I've never had a multiple home run game in my life, going all the way to back to Little League. Last year, I went the entire regular season without a home run. I don't have an answer. I was in a slump coming into this game."

Make no mistake, that slump is as gone as one of the ropes Fatzinger hit over the fence last night.

Actually, he was just the leader of a long hit parade that might still be going had not the umpires stopped the action with two out in the top of the sixth, two Limeport runners still on base and lightning and thunder in the area.

Limeport provided its own fireworks throughout the night with 19 hits, including seven for extra bases.

"All of our guys were on tonight," said Ishky Fatzinger, who had reason to be both a proud manager and father after watching his son Billy's incredible three-homer, seven-RBI display. "Still, there's no way that this series is over by any means. I told Ray (Ganser, the Angel manager) that I'd like to save a few runs for the next game, but you can't do that. We'd love to end this (tonight), but I'm sure the Angels will have their say about that. They can hit the ball, too."

Indeed, the game started out like an Angel cakewalk. Joe Aleszczyk, Dave Chapman and Dale Weiss strung together three consecutive singles for one run before Dave Lutte drilled a Jim Simonds delivery over the fence in right for a three-run home run and a 4-0 lead.

The Angel cushion evaporated as quickly as a drop of water on a steamy pavement.

Fatzinger's infield single started the inning and was followed by another hit and a throwing error. Then came the deluge . . . a double by Carl Solarek, a bunt-single by Mark Somers, a run-scoring single by Eric Dieter, a double by Chris Rios, an infield hit by John Evans and then the stunner, Fatzinger's slam which capped the nine-run, eight-hit assault.

"We've been able to come back in games lately, so even when we got down by four in the first inning we knew we could come back," said Billy Fatzinger, who has been playing on his father's Tri-Co club for eight years.

"I think one of the things that has helped us is that no one really expected too much from us in the playoffs. We just made it into the playoffs to begin with. But since we came back to beat Quakertown in a first-round playoff game, we've realized that we can do it. We can play with any team."

Certainly, Limeport showed it could hit with any club last night. The bats were silenced for one inning before Fatzinger ripped his second home run of the night - a two-run shot in the fourth - to make it 11-4.

"Billy has always been more of a line drive hitter," said the senior Fatzinger, whose club is looking for its first Tri-Co title since a regular season championship in 1982. "He has shown that he can hit home runs now and then, but I'd rather see him keep a nice level swing. He was due for a good game, but I can't remember him ever having a game like this going way back to his first games down at East Side Memorial Little League."

The game took on a Little League look as Chris Rios' two-run single made it 13-4 in the top fifth and the Angels' only hope was that the dark clouds would open up before the bottom of the fifth was completed. The rain held off, but the Limeport offense didn't.

Fatzinger's third home run came with one out in the sixth and two batters later, Solarek (3-for-4, 3 runs scored) got into the act with a two-run blast of his own. Somers singled, Dieter double and Rios singled for another run before the umpires mercifully halted - at least from the Angels' point of view - the rout.


From The Morning Call -- August 13, 1988

Copyright 1988, The Morning Call