Ninth inning rally ends Patriots' season

Photo by Hope Distasio Zach Eddinger at the plate for the Oley/Topton Patriots during Saturday's Region 2 victory over West Lawn.

It was a very tough way to end the season. The Oley-Topton Sr. American Legion Patriots lost two of three games at the Pennsylvania State Region 2 Tournament and finished the season with an overall record of 18-6.

After winning the first game of the tournament, the Patriots lost the next two games to end their season. But it was how they lost the last game that will be most memorable and frustrating.

The Patriots held a 7-0 lead over North Parkland heading into the bottom of the ninth inning on July 25. But things started going wrong for the Patriots and it never stopped as North Parkland scored eight runs to pull out an incredible 8-7 victoryo over Oley-Topton.

Starting pitcher Zach Eddinger breezed through the first eight innings, shutting out North Parkland on seven hits and two walks. But with a seemingly safe seven-run lead going into the ninth, Head Coach Fred van Gulik took him out in order to save another inning for him later in the tournament. It was the kind of move managers in these situations do all the time. That extra inning could be useful later in the tournament.

But this time it didnít work out because North Parkland got four hits, two walks, two hit by pitches and got on base twice on errors in the eight-run ninth. A throwing-error allowed the final two runs of the game score to give the Tigers the win.

The Patriots had 11 hits in the game, three coming off the bat of Zach Tomasko who also drove in four runs. Eddinger also had a three-hit night and scored three runs.

The Patriots got the tournament underway on the right foot last Saturday, July 21, as they defeated West Lawn in the final game o the first day of the tournament.

With the victory, the Patriots head to the winnerís bracket where they will play Doylestown in the second game of the second doubleheader of the day at approximately 7:30 p.m. at Owls Field in West Lawn.

Doylestown advanced to the winners bracket yesterday by defeating Bathe, 11-3.

The Patriots began the tournament taking on the host West Lawn Owls. Behind the three-hit seven inning pitching of Michael Hunter, Oley/Topton defeated the Owls, 7-2.

The Patriots scored a fun in the fifth, one in the sixth and one in the seventh before adding two insurance runs in the eighth and one more in the ninth.

Zach Eddinger led the Patriot offense with three hits (two singles and a triple), two runs scored and one RBI. Zach Tomasko and Sell each chiped in with two hits to help the Oley/Topton cause.

In seven innings of work, Hunter allowed a run on three hits and two walks while fanning nine West Lawn batters. Tim Shores and Nick Distasio each pitched an inning in relief.

The victory sent the Patriots to the winnersí bracket where they took on Doylestown on Sunday, July 22. Doylestown used a four-run sixth inning to defeat the Patriots, 6-4. The four-run sixth gave Doylestown a 5-0 lead. Oley-Topton scored on in the bottom of the sixth and three more in the seventh to make it interesting, but couldnít make it all the way back.

Luke Erb was the losing pitcher, surrendering five runs (three earned) on seven hits and four walks while fanning six patters in 5 1/3 innings. Pelko and Tomasko each came on in relief.

Oley-Topton had 12 hits in the game, including four from Kevin Sell (three singles and a double) who also drove in two runs. Tim Shores had two hits, two runs scored and one RBI while Nick Distasio added two hits and a run scored.

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