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 Tuesday, August 11, 2009




Houck's blast has Owls hooting about tie

Game 1 of Tri-Co title series ends 7-7. Gabelsville-Northern Yankees replay tonight.

Of The Morning Call


Considering the entertainment they provided Monday night in Scherersville, some area baseball fans probably hope they can watch the Gabelsville Owls and Northern Yankees play a lot of baseball this week.

Those fans seem to be in luck.

Thanks to Shane Houck's one-out home run in the top of the seventh inning, what was supposed to be Game 1 of the Tri-County League Championship Series turned into a practice run.


Houck's blast forged a 7-7 tie and darkness halted play after the bottom of the seventh, meaning the teams will return to Scherersville at 5:45 p.m. today to play Game 1 Part II.

Game 2 in the best-of-five series is now slated for Gabelsville on Wednesday night and Thursday will be an off day followed by games Friday -- and if necessary -- Saturday and Sunday.

Houck's home run was his second of the game and one of four slugged in a back-and-forth battle between the league's elite.

''That was one heck of a game; like two heavyweights slugging it out,'' said Owls manager Matt Danner.

Danner wasn't sure who the re-play benefits most.

''I'm not sure how it impacts their team, but we do have a lot of arms we can throw,'' he said. ''Shawn Betz, Justin Konnick, Chuck Nicholas. We should be all right.''

Northern Yankees manager Brian Polaha was disappointed his team couldn't put this one away.

  Photo by Douglas Kilpatrick, Special to The Morning Call  

Gabelsville's third baseman #9, Shawn Betz gets a hit during their Tri-County Baseball League finals game against the Northern Yankees at Scherersville field in Allentown on Monday.

''I'm more disappointed with the bottom of the sixth,'' he said. ''We took the lead with a run, but we had an opportunity to get a lot more. We had bases loaded with one out and the middle of our lineup coming up.''

Gabelsville reliever Todd Stapleton allowed a bloop RBI single to shallow center by Adam Sandt to give the Yanks a 7-6 lead.

But he regrouped to fan both No. 4 and No. 5 hitters Rick Seltzer and Darrin Lenhart, who had earlier hit a three-run homer and a two-run blast, respectively.

The final pop belonged to Houck.

He's a 19-year-old Boyertown High and Kutztown University product, who is still eligible to be playing with the mighty Boyertown Bears legion program.

Instead, he opted to play for the Kutztown Rockies in the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League and the Owls this summer.

He's certainly used to big spots and neither the pressure of the moment nor the lack of daylight could keep him in the park.

''I was still seeing the ball pretty good,'' Houck said. ''It was a 1-0 pitch and he threw me a fastball over the plate. I put a good swing on it. The pitchers were leaving the ball up tonight.''

The Yankees (30-7-1) had 13 hits, the Owls eight. Mix in nine walks and it was no wonder Mother Nature provided just enough light to get in the regulation seven innings.

No one was happy with the tie.

''It's definitely better than taking a loss,'' Houck said.

''All this does is recycle the pitching,'' Polaha said. ''We had a tie game in last year's championship series with them, too, and that was more deflating because we needed only one out to get a win and threw it away. That tie changed the whole series. I don't think that will happen again.''

Gabelsville Owls     302 100 1 -- 7   8  0

Northern Yankees  402 001 0 -- 7  13 0

Trout, Stapleton (6) and Bealer; Bates, Cooperman (4) and Calarco. HRs: GO, Houck 2 (1st, 2 on), (7th, none on); NY, Seltzer (1st, 2 on); Lenhart (3rd, 1 on). Notes: Tim Kay 3-3, Adam 2-4, 2 RBIs for Yanks. Trout 2-run double for Owls.



From The Morning Call -- August 11, 2009

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