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 Wednesday, July 3, 2001




Gabelsville thumps Tri-City, 10-3, in Tri-County League

Owls' boss Mike Moyer bats, and learns of Tri-City's displeasure.

Special to The Morning Call


When Gabelsville Owls manager Mike Moyer grabs a bat, as he sporadically does when the Owls have a comfortable advantage against the opposition, and heads to the plate, the last thing he is looking for is a fastball behind the numbers.

But sure enough, that's exactly what he got in the bottom of the sixth inning Monday evening at Lee Mecherly Field, on the outskirts of Boyertown.

With Gabelsville up 10-1 in what would be a 10-3 win against Tri- City in a Tri-County League matchup, Moyer had decided to pull his pitcher of record, Shawn Betz, who was due to bat next. Betz went six innings and gave up just one run, striking out six.

"Shawn Betz, I think he's 5-0 against us," Tri-City manager Bob Fatzinger said. "I'm not sure that's right, but he's at least 5-0 against us. He has our number."

The Owls had entered the inning with a 6-1 cushion, but an early no-out rally added to the margin, fueled by an RBI double by first baseman Jeff Evans, who finished 3-for-3 with three RBIs, and an RBI single by right fielder Ed Reilley.

Now with two outs, Moyer decided to bat for Betz himself instead of summoning a pinch-hitter. But when he stepped in to the box, Tri- City reliever Josh Gunkle greeted him with a heater that buzzed his rear end.

The umpire eventually rang Moyer up on a curveball that touched the outside corner. But after the strikeout, Tri-City catcher Jeremy Arner rose from his crouch, and, instead of heading to the first- base dugout, turned toward Moyer.

Owls center fielder and leadoff man A.J. Bohn, who scored three runs on a 1-for-2 day, watched from the bench as a ruckus unfolded.

"That stuff, I can understand where they're coming from," Bohn said. "Nobody likes to be beat that bad. But at some point you've just got to take your bumps and bruises. I mean that's baseball. And they're a pretty good team."

Moyer waited to chime in after the game ended. And naturally he found no valid excuses for Gunkle's brushback or Arner's stand.

"I think the catcher has a little bit of a problem with our team, and I'm not sure why," Moyer said. "But I guarantee you that was on purpose.

"We have to play them at least twice more in the playoffs," he added. "I didn't get the purpose of it. We like to do our talking with our bats and our gloves."

Fortunately for Moyer, his team made a big enough statement early to substantiate any late-game conversation between him and Tri-City. But Tri-City never found itself in contention.

"I think we come down here and try to do things we can't do," Fatzinger said. "Not to take anything away from Gabelsville; they're the best team. We're young yet, and until we get older that's going to happen. We just don't win down here.

"This wasn't the way we've been playing all year," he added, citing his team's 18-3 record against Gabelsville's 18-2 mark. "Nobody's beaten us like they've beaten us."

Up 1-0 in the bottom of the third, Owls shortstop Greg Gilbert took an 0-1 curveball from eventual losing pitcher Dan Dillon and drove it over the left-field wall for a two-run homer.

Gilbert finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs.

Gabelsville added two more in the bottom of the fourth off two Tri- City errors, and one more in the bottom of the fifth off an RBI single from the No. 9 hitter, second baseman Rodney Miller. The Owls got production throughout the lineup. Miller and the No. 8 hitter, catcher Jordan Hartline, each finished 2-for-3.

Tri-City, however, relied on a one-man show, as center fielder Brandon Witkowski finished 2-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs.

Tri City          000 100 2 --  3   8  4

Gabelsville    102 214 x -- 10 13 1

WP: Betz. LP: Dillon. HR: G -- Gilbert (3rd, 1 on).

Geoff Dodd is a freelance writer.


From The Morning Call -- July 3, 2001

Copyright 2001, The Morning Call