Township sends Phillies to first New Era loss

By on July 9, 2014
John Seibert receives congratulations after slugging a fourth-inning grand slam in the Phillies’ 11-1 win over Cocalico on Monday night. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

John Seibert receives congratulations after slugging a fourth-inning grand slam in the Phillies’ 11-1 win over Cocalico on Monday night. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

The Warwick Phillies had hoped to gain some revenge against Manheim Twp. on Tuesday night.

Fresh in their minds was a 7-5 loss to the Streaks earlier this season in a game in which Warwick held a 5-1 lead going into the final inning.

This time, the stakes would be higher.

With a berth in the New Era Midget-Midget Tournament’s championship game on the line, Warwick faced off against Manheim Township at Mt. Joy’s Kunkle Field.

Unfortunately for the No. 2-seeded Phils, it wasn’t meant to be, as the top-seeded Streaks took a lead they never relinquished with a six-run second-inning rally, propelling them to a 12-2 victory. The game was halted after five due to the 10-run rule.

“It’s disappointing,” Phillies’ skipper Todd Shertzer said. “However, I guess the thing you take away is it’s a double-elimination tournament and we’ve got to come out against Strasburg-Willow Street and get a win so we can fact Township again. Township is a good team and didn’t make mistakes. We certainly didn’t have our best stuff tonight collectively as a team. It’s a good opportunity to see how they can bounce back now.”

Warwick’s (39-7) game against SWS (13-15) was played on Wednesday night after deadline.

Early on during Tuesday’s action, the Phillies seemed to be in good shape, taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the first off of MT pitcher Bryce Behmer on John Seibert’s two-out double and Collin Beech’s RBI single.

Beech retired the Streaks in order in the bottom half, but dealt with command issues in the second. Four walks and three base hits led to six Township runs, as Behmer helped his own cause with a two-run base hit and Colin Fitzgerald added a two-run single for the Streaks.

“(Collin) was really dialed in in the first inning, keeping the ball low and throwing hard,” Shertzer remarked, “and then all of a sudden, he ran into command issues.”

That was all Behmer needed, scattering just four hits while striking out six in 4@-E innings before reaching his pitch limit.

“He just commanded the strike zone,” Shertzer said.

Seibert (2-for-3) smacked a solo home run in the top of the fifth, but it wasn’t enough. Manheim Township invoked the 10-run rule with two runs of its own in the bottom of the inning.

During action on Monday, the Phillies broke open a tight 4-1 ball game against third-seeded Cocalico (16-9) with a seven-run outburst in the bottom of the fourth, highlighted by John Seibert’s grand slam over the 255-foot sign in center field, leading them to an 11-1 win in five innings.

“There isn’t a weak spot in their lineup,” Cocalico coach Drew Anthony said of Warwick.

Needing just three outs to invoke the 10-run rule in the top of the fifth, Warwick turned to its third pitcher of the night, Cam Hess, who tossed a scoreless inning to nail down the victory.

Overall, Hess and Colin Brubaker allowed just two base runners in 2!-E innings of relief behind starting pitcher Seibert, who got the win.

“Fantastic, fantastic,” Shertzer said of Hess and Brubaker. “Cam’s 11 years old, big stage in the New Era … good for him because he’ll be here all again next year. All season, he’s shown a lot more maturity than what his age reflects.”

The big stage on Monday night saw hurlers on both sides throw a lot of pitches while facing a tight strike zone. Overall, the two teams combined to throw an eye-popping 211 pitches in four and a half innings.

“We really struggled tonight both on the hill and offensively as a team,” Shertzer said. “The umpire certainly had us a little off balance. We couldn’t get in a groove on either side of it and our guys were a little frustrated on that.”

Cocalico’s Seamus Finnegan worked a six-pitch leadoff walk and scored when Jude Anthony sliced an RBI base hit to right. The Eagles then loaded the bases with back-to-back free passes, but Seibert avoided further damage.

In the bottom half, Collin Beech’s bases-loaded free pass forced in the tying run against Eagles starter Andrew Zentner, who walked three and hit a batter. Ethan Minnich greeted reliever Austin Porter with a long two-run single to right-center and Kaden Hunt had an RBI ground out to make it 4-1.

Seibert, who gave up just one run on three walks and three hits, pitched out of a two-on, one out jam in the second inning to preserve the three-run lead. He mixed his fastball and curve to strike out seven on 62 pitches in 2@-E innings.

He then helped his own cause with line drive blast to center in the fourth. After Hess flared a Texas League single into shallow right, Trey Glass and Zach Shertzer walked, setting the table for Seibert, who made no mistake on the second pitch he saw from Cocalico’s Ian Martin.

“I knew he got a good piece of it, that’s for sure,” Shertzer said. “I just didn’t know if it had enough air to get over the fence out there at 255. He did a great job and put a good swing on it.”

Minnich (2-for-3) then tripled to right-center and scored when Hunt reached on an error, and then after Brubaker singled, Hess delivered a two-run double to left-center to make it 11-1.

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