Wranglers steal win, even series 1-1
With a win at home, Norristown would have placed Skippack in stranglehold in the Perkiomen Valley Twilight League semifinal playoff match, and through six innings it seemed as though the odds were in their favor.
Yet, with the two, three and four hitters coming up to the plate at the top of the seventh, the Wranglers were set to firmly tip the momentum in their favor. And they did. Scoring four runs in what could have been their final frame, Skippack survives with a 5-3 victory and evens the series a one game apiece.
“If we went down into the 0-2 hole in the series, we’d be fighting, struggling to get back into this series,” said Skippack pitcher Tyler Eckman who allowed three runs, two earned, on nine hits. “Both pitchers are great, both teams can hit, we can expect every game in this series to be tight.”
Through three-and-a-half innings of scoreless baseball, Norristown struck first in the bottom of the fourth when Matt Sperling reached on a fielder’s coach and advanced to second on a throwing error. Catcher Bryan Mulhern advanced the runner on a single, before Mark Roth scored Sperling on a single to center, but Mulhern was gunned down at third base to end the inning.
A long fifth inning for Nor- ristown pitcher Mike Zwanch resulted in a run scored and the possibility for many more, but was bailed out twice on spectacular catches by center fielder Kyle Wenger. Both times, Wenger had to turn and sprint in full stride to track down the deep fly balls — the second, with bases loaded, he slid to the fence to make the basket catch over his shoulder.
At the time, it was the play that saved the game.
Norristown responded in the bottom of the fifth with the go-ahead run to make the score 2-1. But, after a clean sixth, it was Skippack’s time to turn up the offence.
“We know how big it is to go down two games in this series, so we came into the sixth inning with a lot of confidence,” said Wranglers’ des- ignated hitter Joe Casselberry.
Tom Romano led off the inning with a hard liner that bounced under the glove of Diamonds’ third baseman Dave Wolfson giving Romano second, standing. Casselberry then stepped to the plate and drove in Romano on an RBI-single.
“Once you get the leadoff man on, you expect runs,” Casselberry said.
But, the Wranglers were able to tack on three more in the inning to make the score 5-2. Norristown got one back in the bottom of the seventh, but on some well-time leaps, Wranglers’ second baseman Chris Leahy and Mark Romano snagged a couple hardhit liners right out of the air to finish the game with minimal damage done.