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 Wednesday, August 12, 1998




South Whitehall advances to Tri-Co finals

Of The Morning Call


Another Bulls' championship run ended Tuesday night.

But this had nothing to do with Michael, Scott, Dennis and Phil.

The Limeport Bulls' two-year reign atop the Tri-County League came to an end with a 6-1 loss to South Whitehall at the Cedarbrook Complex near Dorney Park.

Left-hander Rob Gontkosky fired a two-hitter, and Paul Woodling swatted a two-run home run to lift the Serpents into the Tri-Co finals for the first time since 1988 when the team was known as Coplay and won the regular season crown.

The best-of-5 championship series starts either Friday or Saturday, depending on the completion of the Cetronia-Gabelsville series.

If Cetronia, currently up two games to one, wins tonight, the title series begins Friday at Cedarbrook. If Gabelsville wins tonight to force a fifth game Thursday, the title series begins Saturday at either Gabelsville or Cedarbrook.

The Serpents (24-15) didn't care who or when they would play next. They wanted to savor a 3-1 series win over the defending champs.

"It's definitely nice to be back in the finals," said Chuck Mondschein, the Serpents' catcher and acting manager since Kevin Hutter is away on vacation.

"It has been a long time. This is the farthest we've gone since we left Coplay. And to do it with some of our guys missing makes it more of an accomplishment. The guys we had here just played hard."

Besides Hutter, the Serpents were without starters Chad Erie, who was playing for Catasauqua in the Blue Mountain League playoffs, and shortstop Eric Csencsits.

That caused some lineup shuffling, but the deck remained stacked in South Whitehall's favor thanks to Gontkosky.

The Whitehall High and Rider College product who spent a few seasons in the Mets' farm system, allowed only singles to Jim Schaffer in the first and to Josh Williams in the fifth.

He walked four and struck out three and seemed more in command as the game went on.

"You have to concentrate on every pitch against that team; those guys can really hit," Gontkosky said. "Every pitch has to have a purpose. My fastball was running to the outside part of the plate, and that was getting me a lot of groundballs."

But the biggest out Gontkosky got came with a delivery to first, not home.

With nobody out in the top of the third and South Whitehall ahead 3-1, Josh Williams was on first after a walk. Trouble was brewing with the second, third and fourth hitters in the order next.

But Gontkosky picked Williams off first, derailing a potential big Bull inning.

"That was big," Gontkosky said. "The hitters coming up were all hitting about .450. Josh was going on first movement and I gave him a little move and we got him."

After trading runs in the first inning when -- Schaffer's RBI single doing the damage for Limeport and Jeff Erie's RBI hit putting the Serpents on the board -- it was all South Whitehall.

Woodling hit his two-run homer with two out in the second. A bobble in left on Lou Falco's single allowed Mondschein to score in the third. Johnny Hymans and Jim Emerick added RBI hits in the fifth and sixth, respectively.

Woodling and Emerick finished with three hits apiece and Falco added a pair.

"We're on a roll right now," Mondschein said. "No matter who we face, we'll be the underdogs in the finals. We lost to both teams three times. But that's OK. We'll still come out swinging."

Meanwhile, Limeport packs away the bats after a 29-9 season.

"Gontkosky pitched a great game," said Bulls' skipper Bill Fatzinger. "The last few years we got the breaks. In this series, they got the breaks."


From The Morning Call -- August 12, 1998

Copyright 1998, The Morning Call