Saturday, July 28, 2012

Allentown falls in District 4 title game

WEST DEPTFORD - After two great games in the District 4 Tournament, everything that could go wrong did for the Allentown American Legion baseball team last night at Union Field.
With their team committing six errors, while West Deptford pitcher Joe Palmer tossed a no-hitter for 4 1/3 innings, the locals found themselves in a hole which proved too large. As a result, Allentown dropped a 10–3 decision to West Deptford in the district championship game.
West Deptford (15-13-1) moves on to the State Final 8 at Mercer County Park beginning next Tuesday. Allentown (17-8) will have to return to Union Field at 6 p.m. today to play the winner of the 3 p.m. game between Haddon Heights Post 148 and Bordentown Post 26.
“I hope we get this out of our system,” Allentown manager Matt Zagari said. “We haven’t seen many lefties. I don’t know if that played into it, but he baffled us.”
Palmer went 7 1/3 innings, scattering four hits, striking out 11 and walking only four. On this night, he was not Allentown’s only problem.
While the weather did not get messy because of thunderstorms until the final 2 ½ innings, the game got that way much sooner. Allentown committed six of its seven errors in the first five innings, which caused six of the seven runs charged to starting pitcher Kevin Smith to be unearned. 
Before Allentown got its first hit (an infield single by John Fassl with one out in the bottom of the sixth), West Deptford had opened an 8-0 lead.
Allentown also broke up Palmer’s shutout bid in the sixth when Mike DeAnni hit a two-out, three-run home run. That, however, was the extent of the offense for A’town.
“He hung one,” DeAnni said of the pitch he hit out. “He had us off-balance. It was his curve ball.”
Palmer did not exit until surrendering a double down the left-field line to Brandon Ruetsch with one out and one on in the bottom of the eighth. But reliever Nate Slusarczyk, another left-hander, got out of a bases-loaded jam to keep Allentown from scoring more.
Despite only managing six hits off – Allentown pitchers, West Deptford scored runs in the third through the eighth innings to force  Mercer County’s fourth-place team to play another day.
“It does feel weird to lose a game like this,” DeAnni said. “We’ve got to forget about this. That’s what we have to do.”
The third-year program will have one game to change things today. If it can, Allentown Legion will make its first trip to a Final 8.
West Deptford (15-13-1)  002 141 110-10 6 0
Allentown (17-8)  000 003 000-3 4 7
2B-WD: Fox. A-Ruetsch. HR-A: DeAnni. RBIs-WD: Rutter, Keane, Fox, Easterling; A: DeAnni 3.
WP-Palmer (4-3).  LP-KSmith (1-2).


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