Campbelltown tops Ephrata to win Lebanon County title

By on July 17, 2019

Chryslers set to host Regional Tournament starting this Friday

In Monday’s Lebanon County American Legion finals, pitcher Aiden Bracken (right) fires a stike against Campbelltown. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

In Monday’s Lebanon County American Legion finals, pitcher Aiden Bracken (right) fires a stike against Campbelltown. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer




Turning disappointment into a positive is something that many coaches strive to do and Ephrata Post 429 skipper Derek Sipe is no exception.

Monday night, he was looking at the good things following a 7-6 loss to Campbelltown in the Lebanon County American Legion championship game at In The Net in Palmyra.

Fortunately, Sipe has no problem doing so, especially with the Region 4 tournament starting on Friday, where Post 429 hopes to defend its 2018 title.

“Before game one, we knew that July 19 is when the season really started for us,” he said. “A lot of everything that happened before was preparing and us getting in the right spot as a team.

“Despite the result tonight, I think we are ready. We are going to have all of our pitchers available and can get a little bit healthy. Having a few days is going to be good for us and come July 19, we are going to be ready.”

Post 429 pounded out 10 hits off three Campbelltown pitchers, but leaving 10 on base, with two runners thrown out at home, hurt the team’s cause.

Ephrata had runners on base in every inning but one and batted around in the bottom of the sixth. Down 7-2, Post 429 made it a one-run game when a walk and singles by Aiden Bracken and Colby Martin loaded the bases.

Justin Byler’s sacrifice fly plated Ben Spencer and Bracken came around to score on an overthrow. After Ricky Bromirski walked, Zac McGillan drove in two with a double.

However, the tying run was stranded on second base, the same place it was left on in the seventh inning when Bracken walked, advanced on a ground out, but was left there when Martin hit a slow roller and was called out at first on a disputed play, ending the game.

The East Division champion Post 429 left two on base in each of the first two innings, which included scoring just one run in the first, despite the first four batters reaching safely.

Martin singled to lead off, went to second on Byler’s single. Both moved up on a balk and Martin scored when Bromirski’s RBI ground out was booted. Bromirski stole second, but Byler was nailed attempting to complete the double steal at home.

“Especially early in the game we had a couple opportunities to extend that lead and we didn’t do it,” said Sipe. “That’s exactly what they did when they got the lead was extend it and that made it difficult for us.”

Campbelltown, the West Division champs who entered with a 16-2 league record, played small ball to take the lead off Hunter Johns in the bottom of the third.

Jacob Roe reached on an error and the catcher’s courtesy runner was bunted to second. Brian Coburn notched the first hit off Johns and Kasey Shughart followed with a run-scoring bunt single.

One out later, Christian Kreiser put Campbelltown in front with a hit and Austin Baal delivered a two-run single for a 4-1 lead.

“Ephrata is such a good team. I did not think we were going to score seven runs,” said Campbelltown coach Tim Morgan. “You’ve got to get runs somehow and it worked tonight. Our first four, five games we scored 57 runs and that went away.”

Campbelltown led 5-2 in the bottom of the fifth when Gage Miller singled and scored in front of Baal, who launched a long home run over the right-field fence.

Sipe was impressed with the opponent’s ability to score multiple ways.

“They executed really well,” he said. “It’s one thing to try some of those things, it’s another to execute them in tight spots and I think they did exactly that when they needed to. They did a great job in big moments and doing what they needed to do and that’s good for them.”

Another such moment came in the top of the fifth when Brendan Martin singled in Byler, but Bromirski was cut down at home on a perfect throw from Campbelltown left fielder Jacob Wagner, ending the inning.

The coach added that with the region tournament coming, he wasn’t going to over-extend his pitching staff, thus Johns pitched only three innings, with Bracken throwing one and McGillan two in relief.

“We would probably do different things if it was a do-or-die game,” Sipe said. “But I think you have to tip your cap to them, despite what we were doing, they earned it.”


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