Expanded Tri-County League
begins play tonight
Of The Morning Call
Publicity director Todd Greb isn't sure how far the Tri-County Baseball League
goes back. Best estimates are that it began in 1942.
Greb is sure that the Tri-Co has never had 15 teams as it will have in the 1995
season which begins with a game at Quakertown tonight.
"This is our largest field ever, guaranteed," Greb said.
addition of two teams -- the Allentown Senators and the Yankees, who will
both play in Scherersville -- forced a creation of a third division.
year, there will be three, five-team divisions with the division winners and
four wild-card clubs rewarded with playoff spots. Once the playoffs begin,
the division winner with the best record gets a first-round bye, while the
No. 2 seed plays No. 7, No. 3 plays No. 6 and so on.
Also, a 32-game regular season for all teams has been adopted with teams
playing its four division rivals three times each and each of the other 10
more changes are that Gilbertsville, a seven-time league champ over the past
11 years, is now playing in Gabelsville, and the Emmaus Braves have moved to
Allentown College in Center Valley.
Here's a team-by-team look at what to expect this summer:
-- Former Cetronia player-manager Joe Sedler formed this new team. Sedler
was the 1994 home run champ with nine. He also drove in 31 runs. He will be
joined by his brother Pat (.342, three homers and 21 RBIs). Other key
players include catcher Jack Goddess and shortstop Julio Lebron (.333, 15
RBIs). Anchoring the pitching staff is Kutztown University product Brett
Fristick (4-3, 41 strikeouts).
Center Valley Braves
Player-manager Dave Ernst saw his club decline to 11-19 last year after
being a playoff entry in '92 and '93. Ernst has revamped the roster with
Northampton High products Brian Spadt and Jason Keppel as well as Parkland
grad Tom Sparks coming aboard. Catcher Kyle Fisher (.402, 37 hits) will
spark the Braves' offense as will Ernst (.393, 22 RBIs).
-- A long-time Tri-Co doormat, ICC shocked the circuit last year by going
18-11 in the regular season. The Pirates would like to advance past the
first round of the playoffs this year and manager Jim Marouchoc hopes to
build on the strong nucleus in place. Co-MVP Rich Guman (.453, 5 HRs, 43
hits) paces the offense, while hurlers Eric Barron (6-2, 2.75 ERA) and Mike
Brosious (5-2, 3.07 ERA) are the top arms.
-- Bill Fatzinger has replaced his father, long-time Tri-Co player-manager
Ishky Fatzinger, as the Bull boss. Limeport went 16-13 last year, but failed
to reach the playoffs. Veteran Joe Fatzinger (.447, 38 hits) and newcomers
-- shortstop Kevin Kershner and third baseman Steve Pearlstein-- should lead
the offense. Bruce Alpaugh (5-1, 0.69 ERA) will head the pitching staff with
Jack Undercuffler and Dave Jones playing key roles.
-- The Raiders are becoming the Buffalo Bills of the Tri-Co, having come up
short in the league finals the last two years. Two-time pitcher of the year,
Jason Young, was 11-0 last year, and heads a pitching staff that includes
Dylan Dando and Greg Crouthamel.
The Silver and Black returns a potent offense that features batting champ
Mike Drumbore (.500) and other standout returnees like Northampton grad
Chris Gordon (.443), Easton's Dave Hartranft (.369), Darren "Boo" Sutton
(.361) and Joe Cuvo (.327).
-- The defending Tri-Co champs look to repeat with a lineup that copies
their '94 title recipe. Manager of the year, George Horn, counts on
shortstop Mike Merkel (.302, 7 HRs), Scott Godshalk (.359) and second
baseman Matt Moore to spark the offense. Josh Gunkel (9-3, 1.66 ERA) and Dan
Hayes (6-3, 1.99 ERA) head the pitching staff.
change in venue to Gabelsville, on the other side of Boyertown, will not
change the team's name or formula for success. The always stingy pitching of
Bob Drumbore (6-2) and Tom Hartman (5-2) will taunt foes as will the
offensive punch of Drumbore (.438, 39 hits) and slugger Jeff Evans (.438, 4
HRs, 33 RBIs).
-- After suffering through a winless 1994 season, not to mention bad
campaigns in '93 and '92, the Pioneers can only improve this summer.
Long-time manager Don Rosenberger was devastated by the migration of most of
his players. He has the near impossible task of rebuilding a team that had a
worse '94 than the Democrats in Congress. Shortstop Chris Dauerbach, catcher
Eric Medei and first baseman/pitcher Jeremy Gunkel will try to keep this
sinking ship afloat.
-- Manager Bob Ornosky figures his club could be competitive this summer.
Although the loss of all-star shortstop Kevin Kershner to Limeport hurts,
Quakertown (11-19 last season) has plenty of experience on the roster in
vets Jon Ference, Mark McGraw and Ken Hollingsworth.
Upper Perk Chiefs
-- Upper Perk finds itself in an awkward spot this season, having to battle
defending champ East Texas and perennial power Gilbertsville in the South.
Second-year skipper Mike Swanson looks to the leadership of veterans Bob
Graber (.398, 6 HRs, 26 RBIs) and Joe Ricapito (.421, 6 HRs, 22 RBIs).
Graber also led the team on the mound in wins (7) and strikeouts (78).
Castle Hill Ballroom
-- The Ballroom was far from the top of the hill last year with a mark of
11-19. The team, which plays its home games at Scherersville, will try to
turn around a pitching staff that had just one hurler with a winning mark in
'94 -- Phil Torcivia 5-4, 3.82 ERA. Rich Krieg (.313) and Brent Miller
(.303) spark the "Ballroom Brawl" attack.
Cetronia White Sox
-- Shawn Andrews will serve as the player-coach for Cetronia, which plays
its games at Cedarbrook Park and finished 11-19 last year. Andrews would
like to duplicate the .400 he hit last year. Rob Seyfried (.348), Ed
Davidheiser (.310) and Tom Laury (3.61 ERA) will need to deliver. Cetronia
has never made the playoffs, but Andrews thinks the drought could end.
South Whitehall Serpents
-- Under first-year manager Kevin Hutter, South Whitehall is looking to turn
around a 9-20 season in '94. He's confident his Serpents can return to
playoff form. Key returnees include Andy Kies (.380) and Jeff Erie (.330, 7
HRs). Other offensive mainstays include Lou Falco and Eric Csencsits. Randy
Baer heads an experienced pitching staff.
Ray Ganser returns as player-manager for one more go at the glory he and
Stahley's attained in 1991 when they were league champs. The Bar boys always
are respectable as evidenced by a 17-12 mark last year. Veterans Mookie
Smith (4 HRs) and Jeff Snyder (.363, 4 HRs) should ignite the offense as
will iron-man shortstop Dale Weiss (.316).
-- One of the two new clubs in 1995, the Yankees look to manager Lee Higgins
for direction. It's a young club which will bring new stars to the Tri-Co.
Among the new faces to watch for are Randy Metzger, Jason Zimmerman, Bob
Simock, Dan Mantz, Geoff Leibensperger, Casey Higgins and Pete Remaly.
From The Morning Call --
May 10, 1995
The Morning Call