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 Friday, August 17, 2001




Winning is thicker than family blood for Fleetwings

Tri-City's Fatzinger pulls son for pinch-hitter, who helps team win, 8-4.

Of The Morning Call


Bob Fatzinger said it was a hard move to make.

But with the bases loaded, his Tri-City team trailing Gabelsville 4-2 and two out in the bottom of the sixth inning Thursday night at Scherersville, Fatzinger had to think about his Fleetwing family first and the Fatzinger family second.

So, he inserted Myron Trunick into the game as a pinch-hitter for his son, Teague.

Trunick delivered a game-tying double down the left-field line and Tri-City went on to score six times in the inning and go on to an 8- 4 win that knotted the Tri-County League Championship Series at two games apiece.

The fifth-and-deciding game in the series will be played 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Gabelsville.

The Owls (33-6) seemed well on their way to clinching their 11th title since 1984. They grabbed a 4-0 lead in the first two innings and still led by two after Matt Hlay and Brendan Witkowski delivered RBI singles in the fourth and Hlay was thrown out at the plate trying to score on Witkowski's hit.

But with two out in the sixth, Witkowski kept the inning alive with a single to load the bases, prompting Fatzinger to tell Trunick to grab a bat.

"Teague's been struggling and this is about the team, not me or my family," Fatzinger said. "Even though he hasn't been playing, Myron's been taking batting practice for the last 10 games and he has been crushing the ball."

Trunick didn't crush the pitch from Gabelsville reliever Jared Trout. The left-handed hitter took an outside fastball the opposite way, slicing it just fair down the left-field line.

"I had been chirping all game on the bench and the emotions were flying," said Trunick, a Whitehall High grad. "I was having a great time. They were chirping over there [the Gabelsville dugout], so I tried to even it out."

Trunick didn't just even out the needling, he evened the score.

"Coach Fatzinger called my name and I was "Let's go I'm ready'," Trunick said. "I was glad I got my pitch. I just put it in the corner and we got some runs."

And the runs just kept coming.

Justin Godusky followed with a two-run single to right to make it 6-4 and veteran Dave Toth capped the six-run uprising with a two-run home run to right.

That was more than enough for Dennis Kinney. The 49-year-old veteran, still one of the best pitchers in Lehigh Valley amateur baseball, absorbed a shaky start.

But over the last five innings,he blanked Gabelsville on just two hits and didn't walk a batter.

"He's been hurtin' this season with a sore shoulder but he said "Give me the ball and I'll do what I can do'," said Fatzinger. "He went out there with the attitude of not throwing hard and just spotting pitches. That wasn't working, so after the second inning, he changed his philosophy. He just let it go."

Gabelsville bunched three hits off Kinney for three runs in the first with the last run coming on a bases-loaded walk.

A.J. Bohn, a thorn in Tri-City's side throughout the series, was hit by a pitch and came around to score on Greg Gilbert's single to make it 4-0 in the second.

From then on, Kinney dominated the way he has so many teams over the past three decades since settling in the Lehigh Valley after a stint in the major leagues.

He got some help when right fielder Scott Garger made a running catch on a flyball and threw out Trout at the plate.

"Give Kinney credit," said Gabelsville player-manager Mike "Doc" Moyer. "He pitched well. But we did what we wanted to do tonight. We came out strong, but we didn't sustain it. Maybe we thought it was going to be easy. We just didn't finish the job."

Gabelsville will try to finish the job again Saturday, but knows it won't have its ace Shawn Betz available and also knows the momentum is with the Fleetwings (34-8), who are trying to win their first title in their three-year history.

"I just wanted to do what I could to give us a chance and the kids came through," Kinney said. "This team lost in the first round of the playoffs in the first year and the second round last year. They think it's their time. Now, all they have to do is go out and do it."

Gabelsville     310 000 0 -- 4  7  2

Tri-City           000 206 x -- 8 11 0

Konnick, Trout (6) and Danner; Kinney and Arner. L: Trout. HR: TC, Toth (6th, 1 on).


From The Morning Call -- August 17, 2001

Copyright 2001, The Morning Call