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 Monday, August 9, 2006




Coplay win cuts coach's vacation

Shawn Andrews' shore sojourn gets bumped as Reds force Game 5.

Of The Morning Call


Sometime tonight Jen Andrews will pack her 10-month-old daughter in the car and head to the New Jersey shore for a family vacation.

Well, not quite the whole Andrews family. Something somewhat unexpected has come up for husband and father Shawn, manager of the Tri-County League's Coplay Reds the fifth game of the Reds' semifinal series with Limeport.

Battling back from the brink of elimination, Coplay forced the deciding game with its second-straight win in the series Tuesday, thumping the Bulls 10-4 at Scherersville.

The Coplay win, powered by Mike Bortz's three hits and three RBIs, means Andrews will spend Thursday at Limeport's Fegely Stadium (7:30 p.m.) instead of lying next to his wife of two years and their infant daughter on the beach in New Jersey.

''I'm in a little hot water at home, and I told her I'm sorry,'' Andrews said somewhat sheepishly after urging his team to ''at least get us into the finals'' now that his vacation plans have been foiled.

''But she knows how badly I want this, and that time is running out.''

Time seemed to be running out on the Reds' season, but Kevin Reese's brilliant four-hit shutout in Sunday's 1-0 win gave Coplay life, and Tuesday the Reds battered Pat Toner and two relievers for 12 hits.

''We're supposed to be out of this series already,'' said Bortz, a 2005 Pen Argyl High grad in his first year with the team. ''So we've just come out the last two games and have had fun. We were pressing the first two games, and it showed.''

Andrews added: ''We've been playing like this all year. We've gotten behind early in so many games this year and then came back, so I knew we could do it in this series.''

Coplay, which had scored in just two of the 14 innings over the last two games, pushed runs across in four of its six at-bats Tuesday, and Bortz had a hand in three of them.

Bortz's first hit, a line-drive single to left, gave the Reds a 1-0 lead in the second.

An inning later, after Limeport tied the game with a run on a disputed double play groundout, Bortz highlighted a three-run outburst that put the Reds on top to stay.

Batting with the bases loaded and two outs, Bortz worked the count full from Toner, then skied a pop-up high into the cloudless sky behind third base that probably should have been the third out.

However, neither Limeport shortstop Jeremy Bartha nor left fielder Dave Shoemaker could catch up to it, and after a long run Shoemaker lunged but couldn't make the catch. It fell for a two-run single, and moments later a balk brought in the inning's third run.

''The pitch was high, probably ball four, and I was made at myself for swinging,'' Bortz said. ''But here, with a high sky and no clouds, sometimes its hard to see a ball like that, and luckily it fell in.''

Now down 4-1, Limeport had opportunities the next two innings but couldn't take advantage. The Bulls' best chance came in the fourth, when, with a run in on one of Shoemaker's three hits, Doc Neiman was hitting the bases loaded and one out.

Neiman worked a 2-2 count from winner Paul Giovannoli, fouled off two pitches, took ball three, and then got a piece of three more pitches. Finally, on the 11th pitch of the at-bat, Neiman hit the ball fair but right at J.R. Graver near the third base bag. Graver stepped on third, then fired to first to completed the inning-ending double play.

The Bulls left the bases loaded again in the fifth after Coplay got a run in the bottom of the fourth. This time the Reds answered with five runs, keyed by a Bortz double and Kevin Thompson's two-run double, to pull away.

''We didn't get one or two key hits, and we didn't play all that well defensively,'' admitted Bulls coach Chris Parsell, who doesn't think pressure will get to his team Thursday.

''We've got guys that have been through league championships before,'' said Parsell, who lost leadoff hitter Luke Pile for Thursday when Pile was ejected with two outs in the top of the seventh by home plate umpire Joe Labella. ''We'll be ready.''

Limeport Bulls   001 100 2   4  10 1

Coplay Reds      013 150 x 10 13 3

Toner, Krauss (5), Jeff Pochron (5) and Neiman; Giovannoli and Calarco. W-Giovannoli. L-Toner.



From The Morning Call -- August 9, 2006

Copyright 2006, The Morning Call