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 Monday, August 21, 1989

SPORTS

 C-3 


 

Gilbertsville holds off Coplay 8-5 in Tri-Co playoffs




Of The Morning Call



Gilbertsville of the Tri-County League has beaten up on everybody this season, losing just four of 37 games.

The fact that the Rangers "own" every team was little consolation for Coplay yesterday after the Serpents dropped their fifth decision in as many games to host Gilbertsville - this one by an 8-5 margin in the first game of the league's best-of-three playoff championship series.

Coplay, as it has done several times this season, came back from a deficit and had Gilbertsville in its sights, only to fall short.

Yet the Serpents (22-15) still believe Gilbertsville can be had and they'll get another, and maybe last, chance to prove it today when the rivals face off at 8 p.m. at Coplay.

"We always come back, we just wait too long," said Coplay manager/designated hitter Lou Falco, who watched his club yield seven runs in the fifth and then score five in the seventh.

Gilbertsville second baseman Brian Gilbert, who doubled and scored twice, agreed, "We never have an easy game with them. They can score a lot of runs in a hurry."

Coplay, the 1988 regular season champ, started the season slowly and was fourth or fifth in its division before making a few switches and coming on strong to clinch the division. However, the Serpents lost to Gilbertsville, the 1986 playoff champ, in two straight games in the playoff for the regular season title.

"It's a rivalry, there's no doubt about it," said Brian Gilbert, one of three Gilberts on the team. "We tend to play better against them because of the rivalry.

"They came back to get the tying run at the plate in the last game of the regular season championship," he pointed out.

Brian Gilbert led off the bottom of the first with a double to right center. He was sacrificed to second by Scott Gilbert and scored on a fielder's choice ball which Coplay shortstop Eric Cscencsits bobbled before nailing Greg Gilbert in a close play.

Jeff Evans followed with a triple, but was wasted.

Coplay starter Jim Emerick calmed down after that. The right-hander faced the minimum number of batters over the next three innings, with help from two double plays.

But, Gilbertsville erupted in the fifth, sending 12 batters to the plate and garnering eight hits and scoring all seven runs after two outs. During the rally, Mike Moyer had two hits, a run and RBI, Brian Gilbert launched an RBI "wood"-rule double to the left-field pines, Scott Gilbert chased a low curve for a two-run single, and Ryan Fox and Tom Troutman singled in runs off reliever Bruce Sokol.

"Jim has his good days and bad days," said Falco. "When he gets behind in the count its tough to come back against a good hitting team like this."

Gilbertsville hurler Chris Ludy breezed through the first six innings. He gave up just six hits and had most players hitting harmless ground balls.

Coplay had a pair of runners on in the fourth and fifth innings, but could not score. Gilbertsville was aided by a pair of double plays.

The visitors came alive in the seventh as Jeff Sodl led off with a single, pinch hitter Joe Tiwold followed with a single and Jeff Erie and Eric Cscencsits drove in runs before Scott Morgan (3-for-4) cleared the bases with a drive to deep right-center.

However, Bill Pugh flied to center and Falco, who won the league's batting crown for a second straight season with a .461 average, grounded out to end the rally.

"They don't give up, that's one thing I like about these guys," said Falco. "If only we'd get a lead. But, tomorrow night's (tonight) a different story."

Tonight, Gilbertsville will send undefeated ace Pete Kurtz (13-0) to the mound while Coplay will counter with ace Randy Baer.

A third game, if necessary, will be played at 5:45 p.m. tomorrow at Gilbertsville and finally bring an end to a long season.

"It has been a long year with all the rainouts," said Fox. "But, we're ready to play two more and play our best."

Brian Gilbert said, "With the rain outs, it's been real tough. We've had sometimes three to five days without playing. But, our pitching's been tough. Chris pitched a good game today."

Falco added, "It's been a long year and it's tough to keep everyone motivated. But like I said, we came back during the year and we never give up."



ernie.long@mcall.com

  

From The Morning Call -- August 21, 1989

Copyright 1989, The Morning Call