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 Tuesday, August 10, 2010




Another Tri-Co triumph for Owls

Gabelsville nips Volpe's Limeport Bulls for third straight league crown.

Of The Morning Call


As the teams lined up for the postgame handshake Monday night at Gabelsville, many in one of the largest crowds in years for a Tri-County League playoff game stood and applauded.

Their applause lasted while the players went through the entire line and made a U-turn back to their dugouts.

The expression of appreciation was well deserved because while Gabelsville won both the game and the series by a slim 3-2 margin, Volpe's Limeport Bulls earned a measure of respect for having battled back from a 2-0 deficit in the series and nearly coming back from a 3-0 hole in Game 5.

"Can't say enough about these guys," Bulls player-manager Pat Lane said. "They never give up. We got down 3-0 early and it looked like it could get out of hand. We battled and just came up one run short."


For Gabelsville, it was a third straight league title, a seventh championship in 12 years and 15th crown in 30 years for the franchise that began in 1981 as the Gilbertsville Rangers.

For Limeport, it was the end of a remarkable 10-game postseason run. Both of the Bulls' series went the distance and followed a similar pattern.

In the semis against the Northern Yankees, Limeport won the first two games, lost the next two and then came back to get the deciding contest.

In the finals, again, the team that went up 2-0 had trouble finishing off the series.

But the Owls finally had a complete team on Monday as Tom DeAngelis and Matt Cotellese, who had just one at-bat between them in the playoffs because of other commitments, were back and made an impact.

DeAngelis had two doubles, scoring after his first two-bagger in the first inning and driving in what proved to be the deciding run with another double in the second.

Cotellese contributed a single and scored a run in the first inning.

DeAngelis had to skip school just to make the game.

"I have been taking summer classes at school [Widener] and it was just good to be able to help the team when I could," he said. "It felt great to be able to do something rather sit on the bench. I had to earn my spot back and I did."

Down 3-0, Lane made a pitching change after Jon Kalejta walked to start the third marking the straight leadoff batter to reach in as many innings.

Ryan Palos came on in relief and gave the Bulls a chance for one more comeback by tossing four scoreless innings.

"It seemed like we were in control with that 3-0 lead, but Palos came in and shut us down," Owls manager Matt Danner. "Give him credit for coming in and throwing like he did."

However, Gabelsville pitcher Brock Laubenstine was also in command.

He blanked the Bulls on one hit over three innings and then got touched up for doubles by Ben Swatsky and Justin Godusky in the fourth. A throwing error produced a second Limeport run to make it 3-2.

Laubenstine got out of that jam, stranding two runners, and then had no trouble until his own throwing error created a problem to start the seventh.

Mike Cudwadie reached on the error and stole second with none out. Cudwadie, though, would go no further as Laubenstine got a grounder to third and a pair of infield popups to close it out.


"If one other runner had gotten on in the seventh inning, he was coming out," Danner said, noting he had thrown over 90 pitches through six innings.

But that move was never needed.

"It was an entire team effort as you could see with the display of fielding behind me," said Laubenstine, a 19-year-old Schuylkill Haven product who will begin his sophomore year at Alvernia College in a few weeks. "I've been throwing a split-finger fastball since I was 11 years old and it was working tonight."

With a lot of young guys in key roles, it looks like the Owls' Tri-Co dynasty may last a while longer.

"That's what you need to do, keep mixing in younger guys and allow them to learn from the vets," Danner said.

Laubenstine, who finished with a four-hitter and four strikeouts, may be new to the Gabelsville tradition of excellence, but embraced the moment.

"I deeply appreciate Matt Danner allowing me to play on this team," Laubenstine said. "It's definitely an honor to wear this uniform."

Volpe's Limeport Bulls  000 200 0 — 2 4 1

Gablelsville Owls           210 000 x — 3 7 3

Wiltrout, Palos (3) and Swatsky; Laubenstine and Zakszeski. L: Wiltrout. 2B: Bulls, Swatsky, Godusky. Owls, DeAngelis 2, Zakszeski. Hessler 2-2, BB for Owls.



From The Morning Call -- August 10, 2010

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