goes 1-up in Tri-County championship series
Of The Morning Call
good news for Silver Creek after a 5-4 loss to East Texas last night in Game 1
of the Tri-County League Championship Series is that at least the Raiders don't
have to worry about blowing another two games to none lead.
year, Silver Creek dropped three straight games to Gilbertsville in the
best-of-five title series after grabbing a 2-0 lead.
Texas removed the problem of history repeating itself last night in
Springtown behind the combined four-hit pitching of Josh Gunkle and Tim
Brader and a big offensive night by Mike Merkle.
the Longhorns can bid for a 2-0 series stranglehold when they host Silver
Creek in Game 2 at 5:45 tonight in East Texas.
"Maybe this is the spot we should be in," said Silver Creek player- manager
Steve Smull. "This might be the wakeup call we need. We were flat. When we
read about Gilbertsville getting knocked off, we might have encountered a
letdown situation. Maybe some of the guys started looking past East Texas
and that's a big mistake. "They have a lot of good pitchers over there and
when you Tim Brader in the bullpen, you better have a lead after five
Silver Creek never had any lead last night as East Texas jumped on top in
the first inning.
Merkle, a Kutztown High product, followed Ted Young's walk with a triple to
right-center to make it 1-0.
Longhorns extended the margin to 3-0 in the third when Matt Moore, a terror
at the plate and on the bases these days, singled, was sacrificed to second,
stole third and strolled home when the catcher's throw went into left field.
Merkle, who walked, scored on George Horn's double to the gap in
Merkle then struck again in the fifth, following another Young walk with a
long home run over the fence in left to make it 5-0.
the time, the two-run shot appeared to be mere icing on the cake. It later
proved to be the whole cake.
just love fastballs," the 22-year-old Merkle said of the two- run shot. "He
just got one up where I like it. You get pretty pitches every so often and
that was one."
Meanwhile, East Texas starter Gunkle was working on a no-hitter through four
innings. But he lost the no-hitter, the shutout, his job and nearly the lead
in the fifth.
sharp single to left by Joe Cuvo started a four-run rally that resulted in
Brader coming into the mound from his position in right field. The former
Detroit Tigers' prospect delivered a pro performance, retiring eight of the
nine hitters he faced and to preserve the one-run edge.
only pitched seven innings all year," said Brader, who got four of his eight
outs via strikeouts. "Our starting pitchers have been doing well and they
didn't need me. I had a sore shoulder most of the year and this is the first
day I really felt good. My fastball was working. I still like coming into
the game late and protecting a lead. It's a challenge to me."
Merkle, who finished his night with two extra-base hits, two runs scored and
three RBI, knew Silver Creek would pose a challenge, even down 5-0.
knew they were going to come back; we just didn't know when," Merkle said.
"They came into this game 28-4. You don't get to be 28- 4 without a reason."
the Longhorns, playing in the Tri-Co finals for the first time in team
history, showed why they were the Tri-Co's North Division champs and are now
owners of an impressive 24-9 mark themselves.
night, they were missing two starters -- Hassan DeJesus and Clayton Fitch --
who are Allentown City playground instructors and had to attend Romper Day
the Longhorns roped themselves a critical win, thanks to veteran fill-ins
Mike Witkowski and Jeff Duke as well as the big bat of Merkle.
don't have nine guys, we have 24," Merkle said. "We have a number of guys
who can come through. Tonight, it was my turn. Maybe tomorrow it will be
someone else's turn."
Smull, meanwhile, hopes it will be his Raiders' turn to get big hits. Other
than a clutch two-run double by his brother Matt, Smull's sluggers were
silent at crunch time.
just have to come back hard in Game 2 ... that's a big one for us," Smull
said. "We'll come back with Jason Young, who is 11-0. And they'll come back
with a good pitcher, too, in Dan Hayes. The pitching is going to be good all
series. At 5-4, this one may be the highest scoring game of the series. We
just can't dig ourselves another big hole."
From The Morning Call --
August 10, 1994
The Morning Call