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 Friday, August 3, 2001




Tri-City opens Tri-County semis with 13-6 win

Special to The Morning Call


Dan Dillon remembers what his last two Augusts were like, and he'd like to make this one a little different.

Dillon had two doubles and a single, scored three runs and drove in four to lead Tri-City to a 13-6 win over Limeport in Game 1 of the best-of-five Tri-County League semifinal playoff series Thursday night at Scherersville.

"We've been looking forward to the playoffs all year," Dillon said. "We've been knocked out in the second round the last couple years. We just wanted to get back here and go further. We came ready to play. We were hot at the end of the season. We're just in a groove right now."

Tri-City (30-6), the No. 2 seed, scored nine runs in the first two innings off of Limeport ace Chad Arnold. Third-seeded Limeport (28- 9), which beat Tri-City twice in four meetings, which included a tie, in the regular season, pecked away in the middle innings to get back in the game at 9-5, but couldn't get any closer.

Game 2 is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday at Limeport.

"We're a young team," Tri-City coach Bob Fatzinger said. "I don't want to say they don't think we belong here, but this is only our third year in the league. We've been a playoff team."

Tri-City scored three times in the bottom of the first as Dillon and Justin Godusky had back-to-back singles and Scott Garger lifted a sacrifice fly. Dillon and Garger each had two-run doubles in the Fleetwings' six-run second inning.

The 9-1 lead seemed safe, but Steve Raysely hit a two-run double in the third and Glenn Kushma and Steve Unger had RBI singles in the fourth to make it 9-5.

That was the critical point in the game for Tri-City starter Josh Gunkle (7-2), who finished with eight strikeouts. Gunkle responded with a 1-2-3 fifth that included two strikeouts and allowed only one run and two hits the rest of the way.

"We told [Gunkle] he can't relax, even though he had the big lead," Fatzinger said. "We've had some real good ballgames where they came out and pounded the ball. If you don't throw your best against them, they'll come back on you."

"It's a different season," Dillon said. "You go out to play and win every day. If you lose, you tip your hat to them. I think maybe we got a little too overconfident after the first two innings. You can't do that against this team. They can chip away and chip away, all of a sudden it was 9-5 and they were within striking distance. You can't get comfortable against them."

Limeport manager Scott Heppenheimer said his team never got back in the game mentally after being down 9-1. The Bulls got a good relief performance from Pat Lane, who appeared on the mound for the first time this year.

"We were flat after that," Heppenheimer said. "I didn't expect them to hit the ball that well. It's tough playing behind against these guys.

"We know we can beat them, but they're a good ball team. When they play like that, it's going to be tough to beat them. Chad's been doing it all year, but they hit him hard tonight."

Limeport  102 201 0 -- 6  10  0

Tri-City     360 112 x --13 14  0

Arnold, Lane (2), Parsell (6) and Vito. Gunkle and Arner. L -- Arnold.

Tim Shoemaker is a freelance writer.


From The Morning Call -- August 3, 2001

Copyright 2001, The Morning Call