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 Friday, August 16, 2002




ICC drubs Lehigh Twp. to win Tri-Co title

Pitcher Marty Rowan makes start of his life on short notice, and Pirates beat Brewers 11-3.

Special to The Morning Call


Marty Rowan's Tri-County League career was supposed to be over long before Thursday night.

Rowan, 36, an 11-year veteran of the league, recently told his friend and manager, Mike Brosious, that this year would be his last. He wasn't supposed to pitch for the ICC Pirates in the fourth game of the championship series against the Lehigh Township Brewers. Ryan Lindley, the team's ace, was the scheduled starter.

But Lindley didn't show up. He'd signed a contract with the Allentown Ambassadors earlier in the day.


  So with about 10 minutes to warm up, Rowan made the start of his life.

Spotting a fastball, changeup and curve, Rowan scattered five hits over five innings to lead the Pirates to an 11-3 victory and their first Tri-County championship at Bethlehem Township Municipal Park.

The game was called in the bottom of the fifth inning because of darkness.

"It's just a fantastic feeling," Rowan said. "I'm so happy for all of these guys."

Rowan pitched about 20 innings this year just to become eligible for the playoff roster. He made two memorable appearances in the playoffs. He walked into a bases-loaded, one-out, 8-4 game in the deciding game against Limeport in the first round and got two flyouts for the save.

Lehigh Township (31-15) got three runs in the top of the second. Jeremy Bartha singled, stole second and scored on a double error. Brandon Leslie drove in Omar Torres with a sacrifice fly, and Bryn Lindenmuth singled in Charlie Torres.

ICC (31-16) scored four runs to take the lead for good in the bottom of the second. After Kyle Ruff and Chad Stecker drove in runs, Josh Mohlmann gave the Pirates a 4-3 lead with a two-run double.

The game was called after Stecker walked with two outs in the bottom of the fifth. Brosious had Erik Ruff, normally a short reliever, warmed up, but did not need him to pitch.

"Unbelievable job," said Brosious, the team's manager for five years. "[Rowan] deserves everything he gets. He's an MVP. I told Marty just to keep it close. Erik Ruff was warmed up, but [Rowan] just kept getting stronger."
Marty Rowan

  Photo by Arturo Fernandez, The Morning Call  

ICC PITCHER MARTY ROWAN delivers in the third inning of Game 4 of the Tri-County League championship series against Lehigh Township at Bethlehem Township Park. Rowan started the game because Ryan Lindley, the scheduled starter, had signed with the Allentown Ambassadors earlier in the day.


Stecker and Dave Stauffer each had three of ICC's 13 hits off four different Brewers pitchers.

"Nobody deserves the championship more than [Brosious] does," Rowan said. "He's my friend off the field. It's a thrill to win it with him."

Lehigh Township twice made poor base-running decisions; the more costly of the two was in the fourth.

With runners on second and third and none out, Bartha hit a grounder to shortstop Stecker. Stecker threw to catcher Kyle Ruff, who had Eric Schmitt in a rundown and threw him out at third.

But after third baseman Erik Ruff made the tag on Schmitt, he looked up and saw Steve Unger caught between second and third. Erik Ruff threw to Mohlmann, who tagged out Unger at second.

"I got fortunate," Rowan said. "They ran themselves out of a couple innings. That helps."

"We kind of folded up right then and there," Lehigh Township manager Shawn Andrews said. "The momentum switched right there. But I don't want to come down on Unger. He is a big part of the reason we were here. Hopefully, this is a learning experience. To win a championship, you have to learn from your losses and come back from it."


Lehigh Township   030 00   3   5   2

ICC Pirates            041 33 11 13  3

Friebolin, Kelowitz (3), Bowen (4), Erschen (5) and Schmitt. Rowan and K. Ruff.

Tim Shoemaker is a freelance writer.


From The Morning Call -- August 16, 2002

Copyright 2002, The Morning Call