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 Tuesday, July 30, 1991

SPORTS

 C-3 


 

Stahley's, Ganser nail Limeport, clinch first




Of The Morning Call



Ray Ganser's legs felt like putty, but his arm was like a hammer and his pitches like nails during Stahley's   6-3 win over visiting Limeport last night in a playoff for first place in the Tri-County League's Northern Division.

Ganser, who is also the manager of the Angels (21-9), thought last night's game would be a rain out. It did, in fact, rain most of the day but the field at Scherersville was fine.

"I thought it was going to rain so I went for a 50-mile bike ride (Sunday). When I got here I said, `Oh God, I can't believe we're playing. My legs feel like putty.' But I knew I had to go a whole game."

The last time Stahley's played Limeport (20-10), Ganser left the game in the final inning with a 3-1 lead.

"We ended up losing that game and have been struggling ever since," said Ganser.

Last night, the strong southpaw allowed just three hits and one walk while striking out seven. The win propelled the now two-time Northern Division champs into a rematch of last year's title contest with Southern Division champ Gilbertsville.

That series begins 6 p.m. Friday at Gilbertsville.

Limeport is awaiting the South to decide its third-place team.

Limeport had been closing in on Stahley's all season and finally tied the Angels by winning three games over the weekend while Limeport went 2-1 during the week. But the streak didn't last.

"The league forced us to play more than we should have in the last couple of days," said Limeport manager Ish Fatzinger. "After a while I think you just get tired."

Limeport was headed in the right direction in the third inning when shortstop Tony Sneska slugged a two-run homer over the fence in left-center field with Chris Kernick aboard. Kernick swung at strike three and would have been the third out of the inning, but the ball got away from catcher Greg Wotring.

Sneska's positive for Limeport was turned into a positive for Stahley's after he stood at home plate to watch the flight of his ball.

The Angels took offense to the gesture and came back to score four runs in the bottom of the third -- all with two outs. The big blows were a two-run double by Joe Alesczyk (two hits, two runs) and a two- run single by Mookie Smith.

"I think that was definitely the turning point in the game," said Alesczyk, a University of Alabama team member who also plays for the Quakertown Blazers. "It lit a spark under us and got us motivated."

Smith (2-for-2) got behind in the count no balls and two strikes before working a full count off losing pitcher Bruce Alpaugh and then jumping on the fastball.

The winners added a pair of insurance runs in the fifth as pinch- hitter Matt Hlay (sacrifice fly) and Wotring (single) each knocked in a run.

Angel shortstop Dale Weiss was 3-for-4, and Wotring was 2-for-3.

Limeport, which lost to the Angels three times this season, added a run in the sixth when Kernick collected an infield single and later scored on Joe Fatzinger's fielder's choice.

"The real cause of the loss was Ray, he really mowed us down," said Ish Fatzinger. "He had good stuff and we never really challenged him. My hat's off to him."

There were plenty of defensive gems in the contest, including a pair of diving plays by Sneska, who was also involved in a double play.

"Defensively this was a great game," said Ganser. "These guys played great tonight. This is the way they're capable of playing every single game, and they can play better than this."

The Angels will have to be at their best to beat two-time Tri- County playoff champ Gilbertsville, a team which has beaten Stahley's both times the teams faced each other this season and last year during the playoffs.

"We have like a mental block against Gilbertsville," said Ganser.

Limeport had a shot at its first regular-season, divisional crown since 1982. The last time Limeport won the playoffs was in 1988.



ernie.long@mcall.com

  

From The Morning Call -- July 30, 1991

Copyright 1991, The Morning Call