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American forces showdown

July 16. 2013 10:52PM

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ARCHBALD — Maybe that bad hop was an omen. A sign that victory wasn’t going to come as easy as it seemed Tuesday for the Back Mountain American all-stars.

If the bad hop wasn’t, then the final out — that had to be recorded twice — certainly was.

American got to celebrate its win twice, and breathe a sigh of relief once, as it held off North Pocono 10-9 to force a decisive game in the Section 5 Little League Major Baseball tournament.

The teams will meet at 6 p.m. today once again at the Archbald Little League to decide the champion and a trip to the state tournament at the University of Pittsburgh’s Bradford campus.

American led 10-2 entering the bottom of the fifth. North Pocono got a couple baserunners on with one out when Ryan Deom hit a grounder to American second baseman Derek Answini. It appeared a routine play for Answini until the ball ricocheted violently over his right shoulder. Deom ended up with a double and North Pocono ended up scoring six runs, four on a grand slam, to cut the deficit to 10-8.

Things got stranger in the bottom of the sixth. North Pocono’s Tom Rable led off with a double and moved to third on a flyout. American, though, got the second out on a grounder and seemed to win the game on another groundout.

The celebration lasted just a few seconds as the first base umpire ruled American first baseman Dalton Simpson obstructed the North Pocono runner’s access to the base when he shifted his feet to take the throw. Deom, the runner, did appear to break stride just before the base.

The unique call allowed Rable to score and moved North Pocono within 10-9. American got to celebrate for real when reliever Ethan Zawatski struck out the next batter for his second save in as many days.

“If you think you’re going to come in here and roll a team like that over, you’re kidding yourself,” American manager Jeff Doggett said. “I’ll be honest with you, I was waiting for the shoe to fall anyway. You’ve see us play. Are we not a heart attack a minute or what?”

The game never looked like it would get to the palpitation stage. Michael Luksic clobbered the first pitch of the game to dead center for a homer. Simpson later added a two-run shot, giving American a 4-0 lead before North Pocono had taken its first swings.

After tacking on a run in the third for a 5-2 lead, American got RBI singles from Luskic, Zawatski and Michael Anderson and a two-run single from Michael Collins to increase its lead to 10-2 in the fourth.

North Pocono, though, continued to show its penchant for big innings with its six-run fifth. It was the fifth time North Pocono scored four or more runs in an inning during the tournament. And while not enough, North Pocono manager Joe Walsh was pleased how his team battled back.

“The kids realize they can hit the ball,” said Walsh, whose team opened the tournament with an 11-9 win over American. “We just came out flat. But, boy, I don’t like waiting until the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to decide we’re going to hit the baseball and get back into the game.

“I give the kids credit. They keep fighting and been fighting since we started.”

That determination, Doggett said, cancels any momentum built by Tuesday’s victory.

“That’s a good baseball team over there,” Doggett said. “And the reason, in my opinion, isn’t how they hit and catch. It’s the way they don’t stay down. That to me is a sign of a really good team.”

Back Mtn. American`AB`R`H`BI`2B`3B`HR

Michael Luksic rf`4`2`2`2`0`0`1

Ethan Zawatski 3b`3`3`2`1`0`0`0

Michael Anderson cf`3`1`1`1`0`0`0

Michael Doggett c`3`1`1`0`0`0`0

Dalton Simpson 1b`4`1`1`2`0`0`1

Michael Collins ss`4`0`1`2`0`0`0

Mark Roginski lf`1`0`0`0`0`0`0

Mason Gattuso rf`2`1`1`0`0`0`0

Derek Answini 2b`2`0`0`0`0`0`0

John Betzko lf`0`1`0`0`0`0`0

Darren Kerdesky p`1`0`0`0`0`0`0


North Pocono`AB`R`H`BI`2B`3B`HR

Daniel Walsh ss`4`1`1`0`0`0`0

Shane Lamparter 1b`3`1`0`0`0`0`0

Ryan Deom p`4`0`1`1`1`0`0

Nate McClain 3b`2`2`1`0`0`0`0

Nick Rinaldi cf`2`2`1`3`0`0`1

Jake Mastillo 2b`2`1`0`0`0`0`0

Tom Ruddy c`2`1`1`4`0`0`1

Brenden Willsch 1b`1`0`0`0`0`0`0

Christian Hanerfeld lf`1`0`0`0`0`0`0

Steve McNulty lf`2`0`0`0`0`0`0

Tom Rable rf`2`1`2`0`1`0`0`0

Brenton Dial rf`1`0`0`0`0`0`0


Back Mtn. American`401`500 — 10

North Pocono`020`061 — 9

Back Mtn. Amer.`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Kerdesky (W)`4.1`5`6`6`5`5


Zawatski (S)`1.0`1`1`0`0`1

North Pocono`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Deom (L)`3.1`6`9`8`3`4



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