Oley/Topton Patriots capture Schuylkill/Berks championship

The Oley/Topton Patriots, the 2013 Schuylkill/Berks American Legion League champions.
The Oley/Topton Patriots, the 2013 Schuylkill/Berks American Legion League champions.

Thanks in part to the shutout pitching of Luke Erb, the Oley/Topton Patriots defeated Pine Grove earlier tonight, 5-0, to win the best-of-three series, 2-0, and win the Schuylkill/Berks League championship.

The victory erased all of the bad memories from last year when the Patriots lost to Valley View in the league championship game.

Tonight, Erb allowed six hits and struckout 10 to lead the locals to the win.

Another great achievement for our program, said head coach Fred van Gulik. We wanted to get back to the Region 2 Tournament. It could only be with a division championship this season since unlike last year (two spots), our league got only one spot.


The Patriots jumped on Pine Grove with a run in the first inning when Zach Eddinger scored on a RBI single from Kevin Sell.

In the fourth, Sell again led off with an single, Renninger dropped a drag bunt, and after Blankenhorn threw the ball over the first baseman, the Patriots had runners on second and third with no outs.

Bryce Galczynski singled up the middle scoring Sell, and Jon Dekovitch singled in Renninger to make it 3-0.

Oley/Topton added two insurance run in the sixth when Distasio singled and Sell walked. Renninger singled to score Distasio, which was followed by a Bryce Galczynski single scoring Sell to make it 5-0.

Pine Grove had no answer for Erb who stuck out the last batter in the seventh to complete his shut-out. He has an ERA of 0.50 in the post season games he has pitched so far (17 strike outs in 14 innings), while the entire Patriot pitching staff has an ERA of 1.11. The team ERA over the entire season is 1.95.

We played very well today, said head-coach Fred van Gulik. Getting back to Region 2 tournament (which will start this Saturday at 1 p.m. in Boyertown) was our goal this season and we made it. This is an amazing group of players and coaches and Im very blessed to be part it.

Renninger was 3-for-3 with one RBI, while Galzcynski was 1-for-3 with two RBIs. Dekovitch was 1-for-2 with one RBI.

One night earlier, Renninger ripped four hits for the Patriots and led his team to a 5-4 win over Pine Grove in the series opener.

Renninger clubbed two home runs to carry the Patriots to victory that requited 10 innings.

The teams traded runs for most of the contest, leading to nine lead changes in the game. Renninger belted a moonshot off DAgostino to tie the game at 2-2.

In the 10th he rocked another, this time off Bressler to put the Patriots ahead.

Distasio started the game for the Pats, hurling five innings and recording five strike otus.

Eddinger got the win pitching five innings, striking out 10 Pine Grovers.

We did not play good defense today, said van Gulik. We gave four runs and three of those were unearned, Pine Grove punished every single mistake.

Renningers approach at the plate is getting better every game, this kid is going to be special

Eddinger pitched well again and was also 3-for-6 at the plate. Galzcynski was 2-for-4 and Dekovitch was 2-for-5.

Overall, Coach van Gulik has been very excited the way his team has played this season. The league championship was the result of the hard work the team has put in.

We hit .329 and our team led the league in almost all categories, said van Gulik. This team is better and different than last year, we made good adjustments to wood and plays every game like its the last game we will ever play.