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 Monday, August 4, 1997




Cetronia ousts Center Valley from Tri-Co playoffs

Of The Morning Call


Even though Cetronia is just the seventh-seeded team in the Tri-County League playoffs, Center Valley manager Dave Ernst calls the Longhorns "the most talented offensive team in the league."

And who could blame Ernst for such high praise after his second-seeded Braves were eliminated from the postseason tournament Sunday night when Cetronia rallied from an 8-1 deficit for a 10-9 series-ending win at the Cedarbrook Complex near Dorney Park.

Matt Moore's two-run home run with two out in the bottom of the sixth erased a 9-8 Center Valley lead and sent the Longhorns into the Tri-Co semifinals.

Cetronia, which won its third game in as many nights (it had to beat Easton in a special one-game playoff Friday just to qualify for the postseason), will try to stay giant-killers when it visits top-seeded Gabelsville Thursday in Game 1 of the best-of-3 semifinal series.

Meanwhile, Center Valley packed away the gear after a 24-12 season which included the Tri-Co's Central Division title.

"They beat us all four times we played them this season," said the wheelchair-bound Ernst, still recuperating from a torn knee ligament. "They beat us both times we played in the regular season and two more times here. That's a good team. I don't know how they lost as many as they did this season.

"But when you have an 8-1 lead, you shouldn't lose. That's the second time they did that to us. We blew a 9-1 lead to them earlier this year. They always seem to come back with a big inning."

The biggie Sunday for Cetronia was the fifth when the Longhorns scored seven times on seven hits to erase the seven-run deficit.

Chris Peischl had the biggest blow -- a two-run single with two out to tie it up. Matt Moore also had an RBI single in the big inning, but his biggest rip was to come an inning later.

Center Valley moved back in front with a run in the top of the fifth when three walks loaded the bases and Brian Spadt sliced a sacrifice fly to left.

Braves reliever Dave Arndt struck out the first two hitters he faced in the bottom of the sixth, but then walked Jay Raines. Enter Mr. Moore.

"It was a 1-1 fastball that I was looking for," the Northampton grad and Allentown college product said. "I had a good cut at his first fastball. I was looking back at their catcher and he (Kyle Fisher) told him to throw whatever he wanted. So, I was looking fastball and it felt great. I don't hit too many home runs, so when you hit one you're never sure. I thought it had a chance, but I was running it out anyway."

The always spirited, always energized Jeremy Warmkessel had promised his team that if they gave him the lead for the seventh, he would protect it on the mound. The Allen High grad kept his vow by working around a two-out error to finish off Center Valley.

Warmkessel had two big strikeouts in the seventh. First he fanned Fisher, who had been 4-for-4. Then he whiffed Steve Rau, who hit a two-run home run earlier and had four RBIs overall.

"That was just me talking to get our guys riled up," Warmkessel said after picking up the win in 1-2/3 innings of relief. "I've had the most appearances of any pitcher this year and my arm is going tired. I just pitched a complete game against Easton Friday and another inning Saturday. That's why I'm glad we now have three days off before we play Gabelsville."

And while Gabelsville is 30-4 and favored to win its fifth title in the '90s, don't count out Cetronia.

"The way we can hit and run, we're never out of any game," Moore said. "We upset Gabelsville in the semis and won it all in 1994 (when the team was based in East Texas). Who knows? We just might do it again."


From The Morning Call -- August 4, 1997

Copyright 1997, The Morning Call