Cetronia endures to win
Tri-Co playoff berth
Stahley's fires back from an 11-4 deficit,
but Cetronia's Warmkessel contains the blaze.
Of The Morning Call
Jeremy Warmkessel wouldn't mind following in the footsteps of his father,
Barry, and becoming an Allentown City fireman one day.
Wednesday's special one-game Tri-County League playoff is any indication,
Warmkessel will make a good fireman.
doused a raging inferno in Scherersville, tossing 3-1/3 innings of scoreless
relief to nail down Cetronia's 12-10 hotly contested win over Stahley's.
come-from-behind victory capped a strong stretch run by Cetronia, which won
nine of its last 11 games just to set up the one-game playoff to determine
the Tri-Co's final playoff entry.
Longhorns will play North Division champ Lehigh Township in a best-of-three
series beginning Saturday in Berlinsville.
"This team has a lot of character," said Warmkessel, a 1992 Allen High grad.
"We were 8-13 at one point, and now we're 18-15 and in the playoffs. Last
year, we had to play an extra game to get into the playoffs, and then we
went on to knock off the No. 2 seed, Center Valley. Maybe we can do it
Cetronia had failed to make the postseason, Warmkessel would have felt
year long I've been giving up big hits," he said. "I've blown three leads in
the seventh inning and taken the losses. So it was real nice to get this
Warmkessel relieved Hassan DeJesus in the bottom of a wild fourth inning.
the top half of the frame, Cetronia scored five runs on just two hits to
take an 11-4 lead. The big blows of the inning were DeJesus' two-run double
and 48-year-old Mike Witkowski's two-run triple.
Tempers flared between player-managers -- Cetronia's George Horn and
Stahley's Matt Hlay --when three Longhorns were hit by pitches in the
got angry after getting plunked with a pitch, even though it came with the
bases loaded and forced in a run.
the bottom half of the fourth, Stahley's used bats -- not fists -- to fight
back. Joe Teresavage doubled in a run, and Mike Lutte's bases-loaded walk
forced in another before Mookie Smith hit a grand slam to make it 11-10.
That's when Horn gave the ball to Warmkessel, who settled it down by
retiring six hitters in a row.
Stahley's didn't go quietly in the seventh, however.
two out, singles by Brian Polaha and Lutte and a walk to Billy Burch loaded
the bases and brought lead-off hitter Teresavage to the plate.
the count full and darkness and fog making it hard for everyone to see,
Teresavage bounced sharply to second baseman Mike Merkle for the game's
final out and the last out of Stahley's season.
threw a fastball because I had the most control of that pitch," Warmkessel
said. "I didn't want to walk him. If he was going to beat me, he was going
to have to get a hit."
Warmkessel whooped it up when the game was over.
have a lot of history with Stahley's ... on and off the field," he said.
"It's a great rivalry."
was proud his club (17-16) didn't quit.
"Down 11-4, we battled back to the very last out," he said.
give them credit. They hit the ball hard. And that ageless wonder Witkowski
(a former Stahley's player) really hurt us. You've got to know not to throw
him a fastball. He got one and hit it hard."
Witkowski, a 1968 Dieruff High grad, had two hits and drove in three runs.
He joined Merkle (grand slam), Pete Spisszak (three hits) and DeJesus (two
hits, two RBIs) as the Longhorn offensive stars.
"Sure, I'm a little older than most of these guys, but you still want to
rise to the occasion," Witkowski said. "I was only playing because Tommy
Williams hurt his wrist. So I just wanted to go in there and do the job.
This game is still a lot of fun to play."
From The Morning Call --
July 30, 1998
The Morning Call