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 Sunday, August 14, 1994




Silver Creek powered by Easton High alumni

Special to The Morning Call

Two-thirds of the players who are major contributors to the Silver Creek team of the Tri County Baseball League have been playing baseball together for more than a decade.

This group of young men from Easton have played teener, high school and American Legion baseball, and during those years, they've been winners.

They have continued their winning style as members of the Silver Creek team, with solid seasons during 1991, 1992 and 1993. Currently, the team is having a year no fan will soon forget.

Silver Creek won its division and had the best record in the league at 26-4. In the playoff semi-finals last week, Silver Creek eliminated Stahley's Bar in a 5-0 game and moves on to play East Texas in a best-of-5 championship series.

The players are Brook Mellman, Jason Young, Dave Hartranft, Mark Davis, Joe Cuvo, Eric Steckel, Darren Sutton, Jake Krock and Terry Sutton.

Mellman is the brains of the Silver Creek operation. He started his career in 1990 under Coach Steve Smull and had the most imput in recruiting his former teammates from Easton High School. Mellman, who moved recently to Philadelphia, has played sparingly for Silver Creek this season. Prior to this season, he started at second base.

Mellman was a standout player for both Easton High School and the Palmer Township Legion, playing shortstop and third base in addition to some second base.

One of the reasons behind Silver Creek's success has been the strong starting pitching. Young, Steckel and Dylan Dando, who did his pitching at Northwestern High School, have been as good one, two, three pitchers as any semipro league has seen in a while.

Young and Steckel were 11-0 and 7-0 respectively and Dando was 4-4, even though he pitched in tough luck at times.

"We've been sporadic in terms of hitting at times, but our pitchers always get the job done for us, even if we only score sometimes two or three runs a game," centerfielder Cuvo said of the team's talented pitching staff.

Young and Steckel were the aces of the Easton High School and Easton Legion team members. Young, a lefthander with great control and temperament to match, and Steckel who's personality reminds you more of a lefthander, even though he throws from the north side, led Easton High School to a third place finish in the state, and Easton Legion to a 18-6 record during the 1990 season.

Young said of the team's success, "I think team chemistry has a lot to do with our winning. We have lots of guys from Easton who know each other, and always are able to pick one of us up if we are having a bad game. The other players on our roster are all good guys too, and they seem to fit in well with us."

Silver Creek has a solid starting lineup to go with their pitching staff. The team has three catchers who catch their three different starting pitchers. Chris Gordon, who played at Northampton High School, catches Steckel, Craig Geiger, a Whitehall High School product and a teammate of Young's at Shippensburg University, is Young's battery mate, and Davis, who worked with Dando at Northampton Community College, is the battery when Dando takes the mound.

There's a trio who play first base for Silver Creek. Davis plays a lot of first base in addition to his catching duties, as do outfielders Cuvo and Darren Sutton.

Player Manager Steve Smull and Mellman play second base, and Smull plays some leftfield when Mellman comes home on weekends to play. Their keystone partner is the team's leading hitter, Hartranft, who's hitting .450, and is also the glue to the Silver Creek infield.

Hartranft was a key preformer for both Easton High School's 1990 Red Rover nine, and the Easton Legion team. Hartranft hit .521 during that 1990 legion season. Hartranft also starts for the Martins Creek entry in the Blue Mountain League, when there's no conflict with Silver Creek.

Mike Drumbore, a Quakertown High School product and a teammate of Young's at Shippensburg, patrols third base for Silver Creek. Utility men, Krock, who also does a little pitching, and Terry Sutton, are veteran infielders who help out at second, third and shortstop when they are called upon.

Terry Sutton was playing quite a bit of leftfield too sharing those duties with Matt Smull, (Steve Smull's brother) before he popped a knee.

Cuvo, who patrols centerfield . is a superb defensive outfielder who has had a solid season with the stick, too. Despite slumping lately, Cuvo is hitting .350 and he has had a great year driving in runs.

Darren Sutton (Terry's uncle) rounds out the outfield. He plays right field, and has a cannon for an arm. He's currently hitting about .350. Sutton, who will do anything that's needed, played third base on the legion level in 1992, and helped Easton make its first trip to the legion regionals in some 13 seasons.

Mellman, Cuvo, Young and Davis have been playing organized baseball for 15 seasons. Mellman did his playing on the midget, teener and legion levels in Palmer Township. Mellman played for Curt Weaver in teeners, and Bill Miller and Jim Kilpatrick during his legion years. Mellman, who was a standout wing back and safety for Coach Bob Shriver's football team at EHS, went on to Muhlenberg College and a solid career as the Mules starting second baseman.

Young was a product of the Silver Creek midget and teener team and for a year, the legion program, before taking up residence in Easton and playing in their program in 1990. Young, who is attending Shippensburg University as a four year varsity preformer, will have additional duties as pitching coach.

Cuvo has gone through all the Easton programs, midget, knee high, teener and legion. He had a fine two-year career at Northampton Community College.

Davis followed a slightly different path, playing for the Forks Township midgets, knee high and teeners under Larry Nitardy. Davis, who started at catcher for three years at both EHS and for the Easton Legion, played at Northampton Community College last year, and is about to start his second year at NCC.

All are confident that Silver Creek can win the five games needed to take the Tri County championship. They also feel the Tri County League could compete against the rival Blue Mountain League.

Here's hoping Silver Creek wins their games, and maybe they can get an Easton entry in the Blue Mountain League.


From The Morning Call -- August 14, 1994

Copyright 1994, The Morning Call