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 Sunday, August 8, 1999




Limeport wins 9-6, sweeps ICC In Tri-Co playoffs

Bulls manager Billy Fatzinger gets four RBIs. Gabelsville ousts Cetronia.

Of The Morning Call


It's not as if they sit around and say, "We'll just go through the motions, be mediocre in the regular season and then decide to turn it on in the playoffs."

But the truly good clubs in local amateur baseball know that the league titles aren't decided in May, June or July -- they are decided in August.

The Limeport Bulls clearly understand the concept, and that's why after a so-so regular season they are headed to the Tri-County League finals for the third time in four years.

The Bulls, who finished third in their division during the regular season, completed a three-game semifinal sweep of ICC Saturday night with a 9-6 win at Bethlehem Township Park.

Player-manager Billy Fatzinger doubled in a run in the third and clubbed a three-run home run to highlight a five-run fourth as the Bulls won their fifth out of six playoff contests and sealed a spot against Gabelsville in the league's championship series. That best- of-5 set begins at 5:45 p.m. Wednesday in Berks County.

"Famous philosopher (and even more famous local pitching star) Dennis Kinney once told me that it's not where you start, it's where you finish," Fatzinger said. "It's very true. When Dennis was with us, we always talked about just getting into the playoffs. You can't just turn it on, but you gear yourself to hitting your peak in the playoffs."

The Bulls (28-12) seem to have done just that. Either they beat you with solid pitching and defense, or they string enough offense together to outscore you.

The latter was in effect Saturday as Limeport bunched eight of its 11 hits together in the third and fourth innings and took advantage of some shoddy ICC outfield play to score all nine of its runs.

Glenn Bubser, Pete Remaly, Fatzinger and Scott Heppenheimer banged out consecutive hits to score four runs in the third.

Then in the fourth, Kevin Kershner led things off with a triple. Jim Schaffer and Glenn Kushma followed with RBI singles and moved up on outfield errors. After a walk to Remaly, Fatzinger swatted his three-run homer to right, which made it 9-3.

"I was disappointed in the first inning when we had bases loaded, and I grounded out and we didn't score," Fatzinger said. "When that happens, you can only hope for another chance to drive people in. It worked out. I think I hit a 1-2 splitter for the home run. It was big, but I knew they wouldn't give up."

ICC (28-9) chipped back for single runs in the fourth, sixth and seventh, but never put together a big inning against right-hander Pat Toner, who is just in his second year back in the Tri-Co after a five-year stint in the Marine Corps.

"I missed out when these guys won it in '96 and '97, so I'm really looking forward to the finals," said the 1990 Salisbury High grad. "I haven't won a league title yet. Before the Marines, I used to play for Emmaus and we were a contender, but we couldn't get by Gabelsville. I'm glad to get another shot."

Toner's comeback from some rough outings sums up the Bulls' resiliency.

"My arm's been bothering me, and I got hit around pretty good in my last regular season game by Cetronia and by Tri-City in the first round of the playoffs," he said. "My arm's still sore, but I tried to mix speeds, throw a lot of change-ups and keep them hitting off their front foot.

"We were in some trouble and made some mistakes defensively, but we just stayed resilient. We bounced back and picked each other up."

ICC had runners in every inning, but hit into two double plays and left six runners stranded in scoring position.

ICC player-manager Mike Brosious, whose team finished 28-9, thought it was a disappointing learning experience for his young club.

"I guess we peaked a little early," he said. "Midway through the year we were really on a roll, and then we tailed off. It was good youth against good veterans, and in that kind of matchup the good veterans are going to win.

"We had our chances. It just seemed like we didn't get a break the whole series. Still, I'm happy with our season. Each year we go a little further. We want to have everyone back, and next year, hopefully, we'll get hot at the right time."

* Gabelsville 18, Cetronia 7: Neil Fox went 4-for-5, drove in five runs and hit two home runs to spark a 22-hit attack Saturday night that allowed the Owls (30-5) to put the finishing touches on a three- game sweep of Cetronia in the Tri-County League semifinals.

Gabelsville, seeking its first title since 1995, will meet Limeport in a best-of-5 series that begins at 5:45 p.m. Wednesday at Gabelsville.

Matt Moore's two-run home run put Cetronia up 2-0 in the first, and the Longhorns (22-15) tacked on five in the second to go up 7-2. But Gabelsville rallied with four in the third and then used a three- run home run by Neil Fox and a solo shot by his brother, Ryan, to score eight times in the fourth.

Greg Gilbert added to the Owl offense with two hits and two RBIs. A.J. Bohn was 3-for-4, and Ryan Fox was 3-for-5 with two RBIs.

Shawn Betz settled down after giving up several unearned runs in the second inning and tossed four consecutive scoreless innings before being relieved by Ian Thomas in the seventh.

Moore was 3-for-4 with three RBIs for Cetronia.


From The Morning Call -- August 8, 1999

Copyright 1999, The Morning Call