By Rob Zambanini For Journal Register News Service
Below are 22 random quotes from a State Tournament that began with Doylestown (Jon Mullin's bloop single at 9:38 a.m. on Tuesday, July 31) and ended with Doylestown (tournament MVP Marty Martens retiring Spring City's Vince Ianni on aground-out to first at 3:10 p.m on Saturday, August 4):
1.'Despite the advice that some people try to give you about where you should be playing in the summer time, there is no better amateur baseball venue in the country than Boyertown's Bear Stadium, where this tournament begins tomorrow.' (Kevin Manero, during his acceptance speech after being inducted into the Pa. Legion Baseball Hall of Fame. The induction is a well-deserved honor for Kevin, a true class act from
Nor-Gwyn.) 2.'They came up with the big hits, we didn't do that early, so we put 'em in position to win the game.' (Ron Frye, head coach of Region 7 champion Hempfield East, after his orange-clad team dropped the tournament opener to eventual state champion Doylestown by a 6-3 score).
3. 'Well, one of the things that we talked about with our guys all year long is that it is a long game . . . you add those couple of extra innings on the back end of it and it's a completely different ball game. We play in a league that plays 7 innings, our playoffs are 9 . . . so that extra bat through the ninth inning gives you an opportunity to make somecorrections . . . (Doylestown head coach Steve Truane, the latest in the line of opposition coaches who I have come to admire. By the way, note Steve's comment regarding an advantage of playing nine innings as opposed to seven.)
4. 'One of the things that we talked about is 'Play for one, get four.'. . And that's how it happens because . . . this is Boyertown - dude, if you're not bunting, you're not doing it right . . . We've come up here a number of times and . . . Boyertown will bunt, bunt, bunt, next thing you know I'm down four, and I don't think they hit the ball out of the infield!'
(Ruane, on the fact that the key hit in Doylestown's five-run eighth inning in Game 1 was a bunt by Marty Martens).
5. 'Well, it was a bloop ball so I just ducked down my head and ran back and put my glove out and made the catch.' (Andre Hoover, Ephrata first baseman, on an incredible catch in the top of the ninth inning of Ephrata's 5-2 win over Wilcox in Game 2. Hoover TWICE went OVER the first base fencing in Game 8 as he eventually turned into my favorite player to watch in this tournament.)
6. 'I was just looking for a pitch to square up, because I knew we needed to get those runs . . . I got a pitch up and in, hit it up the middle.' (Ephrata's Paul Larusso on his crucial, two-run single in the seventh inning that broke up a 0-0 tie in Game two. Larusso was also probably the best defensive shortstop in the tournament, making several nice plays throughout Ephrata's three games.)
7.'The game was definitely there for the taking the whole time, just the last inning we fell apart . . . we had our opportunities, we left the door open, they took it.' (Wilcox manager Jeff Peterson after his team's 5-2 loss to Ephrata in Game two.)
8. 'It's always a big rivalry. Facing them first in states, and they're hosting, so we knew they were gonna have a big crowd . . . Boyertown's a team where even if they don't have their best team this year, they still play, and they will do whatever they need to to win, and that's the scary part of Boyertown: they're never out of it, so you always to stay at the top of your game.' (Spring City's Tyler Eckman, after stopping the Bears on three hits in a complete-game, 5-1 win in Game 4.)
9. 'We don't drive the ball in clutch situations, that's what it came down to.' (Boyertown head coach Rick Moatz after Game 4. Incidentally, pitching and defense had little, if anything, to do with Boyertown's first-ever two-and-out tournament at Bear Stadium.)
10. 'We played six great games back home . . . kind of fell apart yesterday as a team - seven errors, but we'll rebound, that's what good teams do . . . new day, new beginning . . . fresh start today . . . team's ready to go, they're refocused.' (Keith Borman, head coach of Region 6 champion Penn Hills, discussing his team's 17-9 loss to Region 5 champion Milton on Day 1 just before his team played Hempfield East on Day 2 in Game 6. Penn Hills, who entered the tournament with an 11-10 record, lost to Hempfield, 7-3, in Game 6, and was the first team to be eliminated from the tournament. They did, however, rebound defensively, committing no errors in Game 6.)
11. 'They were big - I ended up scoring the only 2 runs we had. It was big just for me to get on base and someone in scoring position.' (Wilcox's big first baseman, Josh Mitchell, on his pair of doubles which led to his team's lone runs in a 2-0 win over Boyertown in Game 6. Mitchell blasted a two-run homer into the woods beyond the left field fence in his team's Game 2 loss to Ephrata - AFTER drawing an intentional walk earlier in
the game.) 12. 'In the fourth inning, we had the bases loaded, and I drove that one and I missed it, but it's no big deal, we ended up getting the two runs to win, that's all that matters. I was going up just to get a base hit, score at least two . . . but I didn't get it, I missed it.' (Mitchell, commenting on a titanic, bases-loaded, fourth-inning blast in Game 6 that Cory Fox plucked off of the wall for a crucial out.)
13. 'My heart was thumpin'. When he hit that, I kinda thought it was a little short, I didn't think it was going.' (Boyertown's Colby Hartman, on his reaction to Mitchell's fourth-inning blast during Game 6.)
14. 'Throw him a first-pitch off-speed for a strike, throw away, throw away, throw away . . . I just had to make good pitches to him . . . the kid knew how to hit.' (Hartman, when asked what his general plan was to pitch to Mitchell.)
15. 'Pitching this year has definitely taught me a lot . . . Now you really see how offense can win you and lose you ball games.' (Hartman, following up on the comment that one cannot win a game with zero runs. Indeed, if there is a silver lining to this tournament - and indeed this entire season - it is that maybe, MAYBE, people will realize that there is more to baseball - winning baseball - than just pitching and defense.)
16. 'The kids are all happy to be here . . . I think they're ready to play today. They wanna be top 4 in the state - that's their goal.' (David Newhard, coach from Region 5 Champion Milton, just before Game 7. The Milton players reached their goal, as they were not eliminated until Game 12. And even then, their two losses were to Doylestown and Spring City - the two top teams in the tournament.)
17. 'Your eyes are as bad as your ears!' (Scoreboard operator Dave Woodley to P/A announcer Neil Fox during Game 10. Dave and Neil, along with Jim Comport and Ryan Fox, were dedicated volunteers that helped the press box to function even more efficiently than its usual self.)
18. 'I actually have only sung the national anthem one time, at a basketball game before this. But this was definitely a cool experience being able to sing at a baseball game like this, because sports really is not my thing, so it's really nice being able to participate in the sporting event in a place where I could actually make myself not look like a fool. So it was just a really cool experience to be able to sing for such a great cause and a great event - it was a lot of fun. (C.J. Hartung, BASH student, after singing the National Anthem before Game 13. He also sang the National Anthem before Game 6. On both occasions, C.J. did an incredible job, omitting the unnecessary - and, in my opinion, disrespectful - excessive interpretation and ad-libbing that many vocalists display when singing our national anthem.)
19. 'The dark blue uniforms and the dark gray pants are normally a high school color - high school's played in the spring when it's colder, so they're normally non-breathable material, of course to keep umpires warmer. The light blue uniforms are porous . . .' (Umpire Mike Hogan, explaining why the umpiring crew wore light blue shirts during day games, but dark blue at some of the night games. Mike - and all of the umpires, for that matter - did a good job umpiring during the tournament.)
20. 'Absolutely not! It did not dawn on me that I was gonna be here on August 4. It's always great coming out here and opening up with you guys; this is the flag-bearer, this is the standard of baseball, in Pennsylvania; we like to come out here and I like to show my players this is the standard that you have to meet, and they've taken that to heart. We've come up here and gotten a few 22-7 drubbings; if that's the level you want to play at, you need to prepare differently and we told them, that's what we want - we want that challenge, and this group of guys for four years has answered that challenge, and it's great. I love it here.' (Ruane, after his Tigers won their first-ever state championship, when reminded that his team played in both the first and the last games of the 2012 season at Bear Stadium.)
21. 'It's all about the kids. We do all of this work for the kids.' (Tickets Chairman Dan Ritter, not long after the tournament ended. Dan exemplified the volunteer spirit at Bear Stadium by always being present and diligently dedicated at his post during this tournament.)
22. 'It's fun with them guys, just working.' (Bear DH/1B Brandon Griesemer. In yet another example of the volunteer spirit in Boyertown, Brandon did not go home after the Bears were eliminated from the tournament, but instead stayed at the Stadium and helped the ground crew for the rest of the tournament.)
STADIUM BREEZES: Spring City plays Maryland state champion Sandy Spring in the second game of the Mid-Atlantics this Thursday at West Lawn. Doylestown, meanwhile, opens with Delaware champion Stahl Post in the third game. Brooklawn, who won the New Jersey State Championship by sweeping two games from Flemington on that tournament's final day, opens the entire tournament with a game versus West Virginia State champion Elkins, while Flemington opens with the night-capper versus host West Lawn . . . Doylestown and Spring City swept the four main individual awards. Angelo Kelly of the Red sox won the sportsmanship award, while Doylestown's Jason Goldberg won the pitching award. Doylestown's Marty Martens won both the MVP and batting championship, respectively.