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 Saturday, July 7, 1990




Silver Creek rallies for 6-5 Tri-Co win

Of The Morning Call

If Silver Creek could play the top teams in the Tri-County League every day, it might be among them.

The Creekers remain below .500 overall, but have given many of the league's top clubs fits. Last night they not only gave visiting Quakertown fits, but a stomach-turning 6-5 loss as well.

Pitcher Tom Hartman's throwing error on Matt Smull's slow roller just in front of the plate allowed both Mike Andre and Brook Mellman to score with two out in the seventh inning, giving the Creekers a thrilling, come-from-behind win over one of the Tri-Co's best.

"We lost so many close games this year ourselves, so I'm gonna take this one," said the Creek's first-year manager Joe Smull, whose team improved to 8-10. "We've beaten the good teams, but we're not beating the teams that you'd figure we should beat. This team (Quakertown) humiliated us with seven home runs in the first game this year, but we've beaten them twice since.

"We can play a team like this even, it's just a matter of getting a break or two."

A break or two is exactly what Silver Creek got in the seventh against Hartman, the Orioles' player-manager who had shut the door on the Creek since relieving Glen Reineke in the fourth. Hartman allowed just two hits in three scoreless innings entering the bottom of seventh when his team's 13th win of the season disintegrated into its sixth -- and undoubtedly -- most disgusting loss of the year.

Andre led off the inning with a swinging bunt to first that Quakertown first baseman Bob Drumbore fielded and flipped to Hartman covering. But in trying to find the bag, Hartman dropped the ball, leaving Andre safe.

Hartman seemed on his way to working out of the jam, getting a pair of fly ball outs around a Mellman single. Smull then tapped a roller about 25 feet in front of the plate. Hartman came off the mound, bobbled the ball and then fired it to first. The ball arrived in time, but it hit the dirt and bounced past Drumbore and down the rightfield line.

Andre scored easily and Mellman, running hard from first, also beat the throw from right as the Creek dugout emptied on to the field in celebration.

"Things started falling our way," said Mellman, who had three of his team's 10 hits. "I know my hit in the last inning was just a gimme that fell in there. We've lost a lot of games like that this year ... in the top of the seventh, the bottom of the seventh. We've relinquished a lot of leads all season."

Actually, both teams kept relinquishing the lead last night. After Drumbore's home run in th e top of the second put the Orioles up, the Creek got two in the bottom half of the inning on Jon Ference's RBI- single and a throwing error.

Quakertown went back in front 3-2 in the third on Brian Hoehn's two-run home run, but the Creek erased that advantage in the bottom of the third on Smull's run-scoring single and Bill Krchnavy's sacrifice fly.

The Orioles, who lashed out 10 hits in all, got a pair of RBI singles by Rod Rush and Steve Bauder in the fourth to move back in front and stayed in front until the final play of the game.

"Baseball's a funny game," said Joe Smull. "We're really just trying to get to .500 this year and try to build from there. They (Quakertown) have five guys that were on this team last year. Most of our guys came from the Alpha team that folded up. We've got a lot of guys from Easton, P'burg and the Nazareth area, plus three guys who stayed from last year's team.

"We're rebuilding, just trying to see what we can do. I haven't coached in five years when my last son was in junior legion. I was just up there in the stands harassing umpires before. Now, I'm down on the field and not second-guessing people anymore."

Smull could only guess, however, how good his team's record would be had it not lost its best pitcher (Bob Carr) for the past several weeks because of an injury. The Creekers stayed with Kirk Einfalt last night and the lanky righthander settled down after a shaky start and wound up as the game's winning pitcher.

"We've got a good mixture of guys on this team -- some young, and some who have been around awhile," said Mellman, an Easton High grad who will be a sophomore at Muhlenberg this fall. "We're just hanging in there. A win like this, though, is just a lot of fun."


From The Morning Call -- July 7, 1990

Copyright 1990, The Morning Call