Shorthanded Morelanders fall to Bristol
With a number of players missing from the roster, Dennis Long knew he had to go the whole way in the Morelanders’ third regional playoff game. And while the future Upper Moreland High senior threw well for most of the game, a couple of bad innings spelled doom for the pitcher and his team.
Long tossed a complete game, but took the loss, allowing two big innings to Bristol as the Morelanders ORVW 8-7 Ln D PHnnVyOvDnLD American Legion Region 3 ORVHU’V EUDFNHW SODyRII DW Pennsbury High School on Tuesday afternoon in the conclusion of a game which was suspended due to rain on Monday.
LRnJ VWUuFN RuW fivH DnG allowed just six hits, but he did walk seven batters and allowed Bristol to put up three runs in the second inning and four more in the fiIWK WR WDNH Dn 8-1 OHDG EHfore holding on for the victory.
“The rain didn’t really hurt us, as both pitchers only went an inning on Monday and were back on the mound,” Morelanders coach Ken Irwin said. “A couple of kids weren’t here because of other obligations and work, so that kind of hurt, but Den- nis pitched very well. If this was a usual seven-inning game, we probably win, but it’s nine innings and it was just tough. We outhit them, but we just had too many walks and that hurt us.”
The Morelanders, who were the visiting team on the afternoon, scored one run in WKH WRS RI WKH fiUVW, EuW DOlowed Bristol to tie the game up in the bottom half of the
inning and then go up 4-1 after two. In the fifth, Bristol scored four more runs to go up 8-1, but the Morelanders were not finished.
In the top of the sixth inning, the Morelanders put up six runs, as 7ommy Robinson walked, 1ick Parker singled and Long walked to load the bases. Matt Iehle then hit an RBI single and Matt .ohn and .yle Irwin each followed with two-run singles. Colton Hooker hit a sacrifice fly to help the Morelanders get within one run, at 8-7.
7he Morelanders were then held scoreless in the final three innings en route to the one-run loss.
“I think we should’ve made it further than we did,” Long said. “I didn’t pitch to the best of my ability and I had a couple innings where I had trouble finding the strike zone. I was walking guys and that hurt us. Other than that, I felt pretty good in today’s game. It was just a tough one and I couldn’t get the outs when I needed them the most.”
Coach Irwin, whose team finished 16-9 overall this season with its first Lower Montco American Legion Baseball League championship in five years, said that he believed Long threw a good game despite the loss.
“Dennis struck out a kid and he still got on first base,” coach Irwin said. “We just put too many runners on and to his credit, he got out of some innings. Dennis was huge today and we knew we didn’t have much pitching and we knew that he had to go the whole game because if we won, we only had two other guys who could’ve taken the mound. As much as he had those two bad innings, he kept us in the game and gave us a chance.”
Offensively, the Morelanders were led by .yle Irwin and .ohn, who each went 2-for-4 with two RBI apiece. Long walked and scored, as did Robinson, while Iehle finished with a hit, an RBI and a run scored.
As a team, the Morelanders scattered 10 hits and committed two errors. Bristol scored eight runs on six hits while also committing two errors.
Despite the early exit from the regional tournament, coach Irwin said he was very impressed with what his team did this season, especially considering that some of his players played in the Carpenter Cup and then had almost no break or days off late in the season because of the copious amount of postponed games during the Legion season.
“7he incredible part is that we had to play a lot of games in such a short period of time just to get them in and make the playoffs and the kids came out and battled every day,” coach Irwin said. “At times, they just looked exhausted, but they still did a lot of positive things to get us to this point. We weren’t relying on 4-5 guys and it was just amazing. It was a great learning experience for a lot of our younger guys that are going to need it for the high school season and Legion next year. 7hey got a chance to play in big games and produce the way they did and it makes it promising for next year’s team.”
Long agreed that the entire season was one big learning experience, especially with top guys like Robert .nox and company missing from the team late in the season.
“We learned a lot,” Long said. “We lost a few guys towards the end, so a lot of guys had to step up, myself included, and learn how to play in the spotlight.”
The Morelanders’ Nicholas Parker makes it safely to third during Monday’s Pennsylvania American Legion Region 3 tournament against Bristol.
Kyle Walder delivers a pitch during Monday’s Region 3 playoff game against Bristol.