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 Wednesday, July 14, 1999




Secret to ICC's success in Tri-Co: Good players

Of The Morning Call


The ICC Pirates may not win the Tri-County League's East-Central Division championship or, ultimately, Tri-Co's playoff title.

But Mike Brosious' gang now boasts the best record (21-4) in either area adult amateur league, and it leads its division by a game over Tri-City (20-5).

Still, the East-Central is easily Tri-Co's toughest division. Third-place Limeport (17-6) is also among the league's best. And none of ICC's seven remaining opponents are patsies. ICC must play Limeport twice, Tri-City once and Gabelsville and Cetronia, 1-2 in the West-South Division, once each.

Win the crown or not, ICC's turnabout has been impressive. Just a few years ago, the Pirates were a Tri-Co doormat. By this time in past seasons, they often had four wins -- not four losses.

Brosious, who's also Mike Saccani's assistant coach at Whitehall High and who took over the Bucs midway through the 1997 season, says he used no mystery formula.

"Good players," he said with a shrug. "It's simple. Keep the good players you already have, then look for, and sign, more. When you get more good players than the other guys ... you start beating the other guys."

After "playing out the string" in 1997, Brosious decided veterans Garen Danyi and Chris Medei (who have both been in the fold since the really dark days), veteran pitcher Marty Rowan and recent additions like youngsters Josh Mohlmann and Eric Baran were the "keepers." All five remain major contributors, and Baran responded by winning Tri- Co's pitching award last year.

Last year ICC added Whitehall's own Nick Remaly and Northampton products Cory Schneck and Brent Fehnel off Allentown College's roster. Tim Gluck came over from the then-defunct Silver Creek franchise -- and Brosious persuaded Rich Gaugler to come over from Bethleon of the Blue Mountain League as a full-timer. And ICC made the playoffs.

Brosious continued the makeover for 1998. On a tip from Pottsville native Rowan, he signed Pottsville alum and ace Bloomsburg pitcher Sean Holden. Holden, who's doing a summer internship in Washington, D.C., pitches only on weekends. But he's 5-1 and, Brosious said, "He's given us a huge lift."

Power-hitting Steve Unger returned after taking a year off, and ageless ex-Met Dave Schneck came back to play a year with his son. Brosious signed young talents like shortstop Dan Lopez (Catasauqua, NCC), catcher Kyle Ruff (Northampton, NCC) and pitchers Bret Remel (Nazareth, Allentown) and Chris Corriere (Liberty, Kutztown).

And when Nazareth High's Ryan Fry, a Yankees draftee, decided not to sign until next spring, Brosious inked him to a contract just before the roster deadline. The pitching depth gained added importance when Lafayette grad Jeremy Kacuba's season ended with an arm injury.

"One big key, I think," Brosious said, "is that we are the first priority for all the guys who are double-rostered with Blue Mountain teams. I insisted on that before I added those kids, and they all agreed from the outset."

Good players. A simple formula, right? But the results suggest a doggone effective one.


* Who's hot: Martins Creek (5-0): Streak began with a 13-1 win over Northampton; Creekers scored 83 runs in the five wins. Bethleon (4-0): Blue Jays beat Banko's 6-5 and Catty 14-10 in a streak that's enabled them to escape the cellar; Jeff Bosak posted 10 RBIs in a single game. Banko's (5-1): Orioles have won last three games, scoring 50 runs in last two.

* Who's not: Saylorsburg (0-5, seven in a row, all told): While falling to last place, Lakers have surrendered 102 runs in seven games. Hellertown (0-5): Royals temporarily yielded final playoff spot to Lower Nazareth; Phillies hammered Royals 14-3 Monday, were to play them again Tuesday night; Royals pitchers allowed 85 runs in the five defeats. Bethlehem Township (1-3). Limeport (1-3).

* This week's biggies: Two important contests were to have been played Tuesday night: Martins Creek at Catty at the top, Lower Nazareth at Hellertown for that final playoff slot.

Friday: Banko's at Northampton. Sunday: Martins Creek at Banko's.

* Notable: Northampton will take Saturday off to hold its annual fund-raiser (4 p.m.) at the Tri-Boro Sportsmen Club, 21st and Canal streets, Northampton.

Giants' chucker Chris Przybylinski, who is also head chef at P.J. Whelihan's, will prepare the grub -- which will include wings, ribs, steak sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs and potato salad.

The event, sponsored by Whelihan's and Tri-Boro, is open to the public, with a $2 cover charge.


* Who's hot: Gabelsville (3-0): Owls scored 37 runs in last three games and have won nine straight. Stahley's (5-1): Mariners reclaimed first place in North after midseason slump. ICC (5-1): Its loss to Tri-City on Monday snapped nine-game winning streak. Tri-City (4-1). Limeport (5-2).

* Who's not: Silver Creek (0-7, 16 in row). Allentown (0-5, 11 in row). Sports Page (0-2). Jordan Creek (2-4).

* This week's biggies: Tonight: Cetronia at ICC. Friday: Jordan Creek at Stahley's. Saturday: Limeport at Cetronia. Lehigh Township at Gabelsville (1:30). Sunday: Limeport at ICC. Monday: Stahley's at Tri-City. Tuesday: ICC at Tri-City, Stahley's at Lehigh Township.


From The Morning Call -- July 14, 1999

Copyright 1999, The Morning Call