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 Monday, August 16, 1999

SPORTS

 C-4 


 

Gabelsville is Tri-County champ

Danner in right place at right time to lead Owls past Limeport 2-1.



Of The Morning Call


 

Gabelsville outfielder Matt Danner was originally supposed to spend Sunday traveling to the University of South Carolina where he will begin his final semester later this week.

But Danner changed his plans to make sure he was around for the third game of the Tri-County League Championship Series Sunday night.

Danner was in the right place at the right time as his single to left scored Steve Gable with the winning run with one out in the bottom of the ninth as the Owls edged Limeport 2-1 to complete a three-game sweep for the Tri-Co title.

The crown was Gabelsville's ninth since 1984 when the team was based in Gilbertsville.

However, it was the franchise's first since 1995 and the first for several youngsters like Danner, who played a key role in a remarkable 33-5 season capped by a 6-0 run through the playoffs.

After winning four titles in the 1990s, enough fresh legs are around to carry the Owl legacy into the new millennium.

"This is nice because it has been a long time between celebrations, entirely too long," said player-manager Mike "Doc" Moyer. "And what was especially nice was that some of our younger, unheralded players came through for us."

Moyer was not only talking about ninth inning offensive heroes Danner, 22, and Gable, 19, but he was also proud of 19-year-old pitcher Justin Konnick.

The righthander went the distance, scattering five hits and tossing eight scoreless innings after yielding a home run to Glenn Kushma in the first.

"Justin made one bad pitch all day," Moyer said. "He hung an 0-2 pitch to Kushma and paid for it. Other than that, I can't remember a mistake. He's good one. He played for Boyertown Legion last year and was the Berks County League MVP."

Limeport pitcher Chad Arnold seemed like he was going to be his team's MVP Sunday and at least get the Bulls to a fourth game. He blanked Gabelsville on four hits through five innings, stranding nine runners alway the way.

The Owls, who left the bases loaded in the third and fourth innings, looked like they were going to squander another chance when A.J. Bohn grounded back to Arnold with runners at first and third and one out in the fifth.

Arnold seemed to have the runner at third, Dave Pence, caught in a rundown. But Bulls' third baseman Kevin Kershner failed to catch Arnold's throw and Pence scored easily with the tying run.

Another Limeport error set the stage for the winning run. With one out, Gable, who entered the game as a pinch-runner for slugger Jeff Evans in the seventh, singled to center. The ball skipped by center fielder Billy Fatzinger, allowing Gable to reach second.

"I don't have a crystal ball, but when the ball bounced over my glove I had a feeling that was going to be it," said Fatzinger, Limeport's player-manager. "A couple of inches were the difference. I feel bad for Chad Arnold because he pitched two great games in this series and had nothing to show for it.

"The ball hit to me was slow, but it took a crazy hop at the last second. I never touched it."

Nobody could get a glove on Danner's hit through the left side that plated Gable with the run that brought out the victory cigars in the Gabelsville dugout.

Gable, who raced into a wall at Limeport Friday night and bruised his upper lip, ran into the arms of some happy teammates at home plate this time.

"This feels a lot better," said Gable, completing his first year with the Owls.

Will Gable, Danner, Konnick and the rest of the youthful Owls get to build their own dynasty?

"You never know what's going to happen," Moyer said. "We'll sit down and talk about the future. (Veteran shortstop) Greg Gilbert and I were talking the other night and he said, `I really don't know what I'd do if I didn't play.` I have a feeling we'll be back."



keith.groller@mcall.com

 

From The Morning Call -- August 16, 1999

Copyright 1999, The Morning Call