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 Tuesday, August 2, 2005




Tri-City ends Brewers' reign

Three Fleetwings' pitchers combine for 3-hitter for 3-0 win in decisive Game 3.


 By Steve Smull              



    SCHERERSVILLE -- The Tri-City Fleetwings are known for their heavy lumber (or, ok, aluminum). They arguably have the best lineup in the league when all their players are available. So it is a bit ironic that great pitching and flawless defense highlighted their 3-0 Game Three shutout over the The Curtis Brewers of Lehigh Township, eliminating the defending champs in the first round.


    Justin Jachowicz threw a gem for the Brewers, retiring 16 straight batters at one stretch and allowing a meager four hits against the powerful Fleetwings lineup. One problem though, was that he allowed three of those hits in the first inning after a leadoff walk, as Tri-City rallied for three runs. The second problem was that Ryan Palos matched Jachowicz pitch for pitch, twirling a 3-hit shutout through five innings before giving way to Dan Hemberger and Adam Maini. Hemberger worked around a two-out walk to have an easy sixth and Maini had a strong 1-2-3 seventh, striking out the final two batters to help Tri-City advance to the Semifinals.


    Scott Garger was in an 0-2 hole before working a leadoff walk to get the Fleetwings going in the first. After a Matt Marcks sacrifice bunt, Justin Godusky laced a RBI single to left-center, and it was 1-0 Tri-City. Ben Swatsky smoked a single through the box and Matt Godusky followed that with a RBI single to right-center and it was 2-0 Fleetwings. Jeremy Arner offered at the first pitch he saw and lofted a sac fly to center, plating Swatsky and it was 3-0 Tri-City.


    The Brewers looked to answer right away in the second, as Dan Borden walked and then Jesse Borden followed that up with a laser-beam to left-center that seemed destined for extra-bases, but Marcks made an all-out diving catch, snagging the ball just inches from the ground.


    End of opportunity #1.


   Lehigh Township tried again in the top of the third. Greg Williams lined a one-out single up the middle, and then Brandon Leslie tattooed a liner to deep left that would have went off the fence, but Tri-City's Tom Williams was playing very deep and made the catch just in front of the fence. After a walk brought the tying run to the plate, Palos got a three-pitch strikeout to end the inning.


    End of opportunity #2.


    The Brewers best chance came in the fourth as Steve Unger led off with a line-drive single to right and Dan Borden then drew a walk. Jesse Borden nailed Palos's first pitch right on the screws to left, but the line-drive smash went right into the waiting glove of Tom Williams for out number one. After a fielder's choice out put runners on the corners, Kyle Rhoades hit a line-drive to third that was caught by Matt Godusky to end that threat.


    End of opportunity #3.


    After that, the Brewers never got a runner into scoring position over the final three innings.


    End of ball game. End of season. End of championship reign.


    Ben Swatsky was the game's only multiple-hit batter, going 2-for-3 with a ground-rule double (which ended Jachowicz's stretch where he had retired 16 in a row).


    The Fleetwings will square off against the Silver Creek Raiders (another team that many will argue has the best lineup in the league when everyone is available) in the Semifinals, with Game 1 set for Thursday at 5:45 at Scherersville.