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 Sunday, June 29, 1997




Chad Erie's slam powers S. Whitehall's Tri-Co win

Seventh-inning blast helps overcome a three-run deficit.

Of The Morning Call


The Erie brothers -- Chad, Bill and Jeff -- have been playing baseball for years, ever since they were growing up in Egypt.

Of course, as good as they have been, the Erie boys have been overshadowed by their sister, Lorie, who was a record-setting softball player at Whitehall High and Kutztown University.

But Saturday at Cedarbrook Field, for at least one shining moment, Chad became the most famous member of the Erie family as he swatted a grand slam in the top of the seventh to lift his South Whitehall team to a 6-5 Tri-County League win over Cetronia.

Erie's slam with one out erased a 5-2 deficit and sent the Serpents on to their 14th win in 22 games.

"It was my first slam since my senior year of high school when I hit one against Northampton," said Chad, who like his brothers and Lorie, is a Whitehall grad.

"My family loves sports, especially baseball. We love to play the game. I'm sorry Jeff wasn't here tonight. He's at a good friend's wedding reception. I'm surprised he didn't leave that to come to the game. He usually doesn't miss."

Until the top of the seventh, it looked like Jeff Erie was only going to miss a tough Serpent loss.

Cetronia took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fifth when the No. 8 and No. 9 men in the order, Bobby Brown and Rod Strobl, respectively, hit back-to-back home runs.

The Longhorns added two runs in the last of the fifth when again the bottom of the order struck.

Kyle Weierbach, the No. 7 man, doubled in a run and scored on Strobl's RBI single. Earlier, Brown singled in a run, meaning that the last three guys in the Cetronia batting order accounted for all five of the team's RBIs.

Emmaus grad Dan Hayes looked like he was going to protect the 5-2 lead as he got player-manager Kevin Hutter to fly out to start the seventh. But an error on Eric Csencsits' grounder to short opened the door to a Serpent surge.

Lead-off hitter Andy Kies followed with a infield single and Chuck Mondschein walked to load the bases for Erie.

"It was a 2-0 fastball I hit," Erie said. "I just wasn't going to take a strike. I was swinging all the way. Hayes pitched a good game and it took a couple of breaks for us to get it going. I just got around his on his fastball and that was it."

Winning pitcher Jim Emerick got the first two outs in the bottom of the seventh before two singles and a walk loaded the bases. He got Weierbach on a fly to right to finally end it.

"We just wanted to get Chad a chance to hit because he's always capable of hitting it out of the park," Hutter said of Erie's heroics.

"This was a good win for us, especially since we lost to Castle Hill in our last game Wednesday. Castle Hill had just four wins all year before they beat us. We're having a nice season and playing good ball. But we've mixed in some bad ones, too, like giving Quakertown its first win. This one helps make up for a loss like that."

Meanwhile, George Horn, back as Cetronia's manager this year, lamented one that got away.

"We're doing all right; we're 11-8," he said. "When we have everyone here, we're tough up and down the lineup. Today, we got big hits from Brown and Strobl, guys who don't normally play. It's a shame we wasted them."


From The Morning Call -- June 29, 1997

Copyright 1997, The Morning Call