Tri-City's success in the Tri-County League demands attention
The young Fleetwings have won 20
straight en route to a 22-1 start.
Of The Morning Call
You know what they say
about the best laid plans of mice and men.
We were figuring on catching up with the Tri-City Fleetwings sometime in
mid-July. But because they're off to a great start we figured, ''Why wait?''
Weather permitting, we'll finally catch up to the Fleetwings on Monday (6
p.m.), when they host second-place Gabelsville at Scherersville No. 1.
By then, though, thanks to Tri-City, there isn't much of a Tri-County League
race left to chronicle. Manager Bob Fatzinger's talented young club has
powered its way to a 22-1 start, winning its last 20 games, to open a huge
51/2-game gap over Gabelsville (15-5). The 'Wings have 13 games to play, the
Lehigh Township (12-5), the Northern Yankees (12-7), the defending champion
ICC Pirates (12-8), Cetronia (9-7) and Limeport (11-9) currently occupy the
five remaining playoff berths — and, with Limeport holding a 31/2-game edge
over eighth-place South Whitehall (8-13), the seven playoff berths appear
pretty well wrapped up.
A similar situation is developing in the Blue Mountain League. Unless
someone finds a way to cool off Jim Schaffer's Limeport Dodgers (17-3), the
2001 champs could run away with the regular-season title. The defending
champions, the Bethleon Blue Jays (13-7), are second, four games back, with
just 12 to play.
Since only four teams make the BML playoffs, however, the race for
postseason berths is just heating up. The MCS Bethlehem Cardinals (9-5),
Hellertown (10-8), Martins Creek (11-9), Allentown (11-9) and the
Starter's Pub Orioles (9-8) are all very much in the hunt. Three won't make
it. And, despite currently running third, the Cards face a really rough road
since they have so many more games to make up than the others.
The two American Legion leagues will wrap up their regular seasons in the
NorCo runs an eight-team championship playoff, with its four division
champions and four wild-cards. It will play four best-of-three series to cut
the field to four, then run a double-elimination tournament among them to
determine its champion — and sole representative in the Region 2 Tournament
(July 29-Aug. 2 at Pottsville).
Currently, The Birches (12-3) and Kemp Post (11-5) lead the way in the
North; Wilson (11-4) is running away with the East; Hellertown (7-6)
and The Jeffs (7-10) pace the South and defending champion Nazareth (12-2)
and Bath (10-5) lead the West. With 10 defeats, however, The Jeffs are only
two losses removed from elimination, since no team can qualify for the
playoffs with a sub-.500 record (unless it is a division champ).
Wind Gap (7-8) and Lehigh-West Bethlehem (7-5) are also in the wild-card
hunt. Roseto (6-12-1) and Northampton (2-13) have already been
eliminated. One more loss will eliminate East Stroudsburg (5-11) and Easton
The Lehigh Valley League will take two representatives into the regional —
its regular-season and playoff titlists.
Currently, the LVL's regular-season race looks like a replay of 2002. Last
year, South Division champion Lower Macungie knocked off North
titlist North Parkland in the best-of-three title series. The same two have
comfortable leads in their divisions this year: Lower Mac at 14-4, North
Parkland at 16-2.
All 13 teams (Palmerton has dropped out) will compete in the playoffs,
Incidentally, kudos must go to LVL officials for insisting on teams making
up postponed and tie games promptly. According to unofficial Morning Call
records, the LVL faces only five makeup games in its final week.
By contrast, NorCo will have to squeeze 22 makeup games into an
already crowded last-week slate.
The Blue Mountain League must make up 20 games (nine of them involving the
Cardinals), the Tri-County League 30. The adult leagues, however, have
several more weeks in which to do it.
From The Morning Call --
July 5, 2003
The Morning Call