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 Saturday, August 6, 2005




Gabelsville pounds Limeport 12-3

Eight starters have two hits apiece as the Owls grab a 2-0 series lead over the Bulls.


 By Steve Smull              



    LIMEPORT -- It is a well-known fact that Owls sleep during the day and are awake at night. Well this group of Gabelsville Owls were wide awake from the get-go Saturday evening at beautiful Limeport Stadium as every starter had a hit. In fact, eight of their starters had two hits as the Owls tallied 13 singles and 17 hits overall en route to a 12-3 thrashing of the Bulls for a 2-0 stranglehold on the best-of-five Semifinals series.


    What is more impressive is that the Owls scored their 12 runs off two veteran pitchers who have dominated the Tri-County League in the late 1990's and early part of this century. Chad Arnold and Pat Toner do not dominate the league like they used to, but they still win more than they lose because they will rarely beat themselves, they will make the opposition beat them.


    And that is exactly what Gabelsville did.


    Despite the fact that Arnold and Toner did not offer a single free pass to the always patient Gabelsville hitters, a rare feat that is worthy of note, it did not matter as the Owls did plenty of damage with their bats.


    Jon Kalejta launched a 3-2 pitch to deep left-center for a one-out double in the first. Rich Kropp followed with a single to left to put runners on the corners. Pete Colon ripped a 1-2 curve up the middle for a RBI single and it was 1-0 Gabelsville. Kyle Hoffman looped a 2-2 curve to left-center to score Kropp and make it 2-0 Owls. A fielder's choice put runners on the corners with two outs. And here is where these fundamentally sound bunch of Boyertown players manufactured themselves a two-out run. Bill Kropp stole second, and when the throw there was late, Colon scampered home on the back-end of the double-steal to make it 3-0. Matt Danner obviously did not feel like stranding a runner in scoring position, so he delivered a well-placed RBI single to left and it was 4-0 Owls.


    Arnold had two strikes on seven of the eight batters in the first frame, yet Gabelsville managed to work the counts deep and muster four big runs in the 43-pitch inning. It was obvious that Arnold was not going to be going all seven on this night unless he settled down and had some quick innings.


    Which he did.


    After Limeport's Shawn Brown lifted a two-out homer to left-center to cut the deficit to 4-1 in the first, the pace of the game quickened, as Arnold and Owl's starter Mike Furman exchanged goose-eggs in the second and third innings.


    No such luck in the fourth.


    Mike Ziemak singled to center and A.J. Bohn singled to right-center to put runners on first and second to start the fourth. Everyone in the stadium knew that the prototypical Boyertown baseball play in this situation, the sacrifice bunt down the third-base line, was coming next. But after a failed sacrifice attempt made the count 1-1, skipper Doc Moyer shunned the Boyertown Bible and decided to let Kalejta swing away. The result was a slicing double down the right-field line that scored Ziemak easily from second, and Bohn not quite as easily from first as the relay throw from Joe Pochron made it home in time to get Bohn on a bang-bang play, but as home-plate umpire Hal Grahn raised his arm to make the out call, the ball was then dropped for an E-2, so only one RBI for Kalejta, not that Gabelsville cared as it was all the same to them, a 6-1 lead and Kalejta on second. A passed ball moved him to third and Rich Kropp promptly lofted a sacrifice fly to center and it was now 7-1 Owls. Next up was Colon, who singled to left, and Toner was then brought into the game and Arnold's night was finished.


    The Bulls would make some noise in the fourth. Brown led off with a walk and Pochron followed with a single. Two outs later, Christian Bensing walked to load the bases, so Limeport manager Chris Parsell sent up pinch-hitter Jeff Cavanaugh, who could potentially get Limeport two, three or four runs, with one swing of his powerful bat.


    But now the chess match was on.


    If the fourth inning can be compared to the Sicilian Defense opening of a chess match, then it appeared as though Parsell was employing the old Accelerated Dragon maneuver by pinch-hitting Cavanaugh and Doc Moyer would have none of it. Moyer would surely counter this move with the Yugoslav Attack maneuver, which he did, by lifting Furman for relief ace Todd Stapleton.


    Although Furman, a southpaw, was pitching well, allowing just three hits and one run to this point of the game, Moyer realized that one swing of the bat from Cavanaugh (a powerful right-handed batter) could get Limeport back into the game. So he lifted the rookie for Stapleton (their right-handed closer), who promptly squelched the rally with a strikeout.


    Toner cruised through the fifth. Stapleton wasn't as fortunate in his half of the frame.


    Mike Krauss lined a single to center to start the inning. After a fly-out, Kevin Kershner tripled to the right-center field gap and it was now 7-2 Gabelsville. Brown grounded to second to plate Kershner, and it was now 7-3 Owls.


    Both pitchers breezed through the sixth, but Toner finally faltered in the seventh, after retiring eight of the nine batters he had faced.


    A towering 420-foot double to deep center by Hoffman started the seventh. Bill Kropp singled and stole second to put runners on second and third. Danner laced a RBI single to center and Matt Dierolf followed with a RBI single to left and it was 9-3 Gabelsville. An out later, Bohn ripped a two-run double to right-center and after a fly-out, Rich Kropp closed out the scoring with a RBI single to right-center. Owls 12, Bulls 3.


    The Bulls now have the Herculean task of erasing a 2-0 deficit in this series as they head to Gabelsville on Sunday.


    Bohn, Kalejta, Rich Kropp, Colon, Hoffman, Bill Kropp, Danner and Ziemak all had two hits for Gabelsville, while Joe Pochron was 2-for-3 and Shawn Brown homered for Limeport.