Kutz­town sea­son comes to an end

Kutz­town’s sea­son ends in play-in se­ries; coach Mease stepping away

The Kutztown Area Patriot - - FRONT PAGE - By Jeff De­wees For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

Kutz­town’s Amer­i­can Le­gion base­ball sea­son came to an end Sun­day evening, July 2, at Kutz­town Park with a 4-1 loss to Pottsville in Game 2 of the Schuylkill-Berks League best-of-3 tour­na­ment play-in se­ries.

With Sun­day’s re­sult, the Li­ons swept the se­ries, two games to none. Pottsville beat Kutz­town 7-3 on Satur­day in the se­ries opener, af­ter pro­ceed­ings were pushed back a day due to in­clement weather on Fri­day.

The sea­son was not the only thing to come to an end.

Af­ter the con­test, Kutz­town man­ager Rod Mease an­nounced to his club that he was re­tir­ing from coach­ing. Mease, 57, cited a num­ber of rea­sons for stepping away af­ter five sea­sons at the helm. In the im­me­di­ate fu­ture is hip re­place­ment surgery, his sec­ond, slated for July 24. But there are oth­ers.

“It was just my time,” Mease said. “There are other things my fam­ily and I want to be do­ing. My son be­ing at col­lege play­ing ball, we want to start trav­el­ing a lit­tle bit more with the team; go­ing to Florida and ev­ery­thing else. This takes up some va­ca­tion time that I don’t want to give up any­more.”

Mease said his de­ci­sion to re­tire was made in the spring. “This was a de­ci­sion that I made at the start of the sea­son,” he said.

Mease said he will re­main a mem­ber of the board and will stay on as vice pres­i­dent. But his du­gout days are over.

Mease’s fi­nal game in charge fea­tured Trevor Lev­er­ing­ton on the mound. The young starter strug­gled with his com­mand, is­su­ing seven walks in five-plus in­nings of work.

Pottsville plated three runs in the top of the sec­ond, helped along by three of those seven

seven free passes. The big low came off the bat of Dar­ion Ja­coby, who laced a bases-loaded dou­ble to deep cen­ter­field for a pair of runs bat­ted in. Three bat­ters ear­lier, Li­ons starter Mike Win­ter helped him­self with an RBI sin­gle to score Alex Everly, who had walked with one out.

“Very young yet,” Mease said, not only of Lev­er­ing­ton, but of the en­tire squad. “Th­ese boys don’t re­al­ize how good they can be yet. I don’t know what it’s go­ing to take to get it out of them, to bring it on to the field.

“I had a great time. I know this group of kids have a lot of po­ten­tial. But now I think it’s some­body else’s turn to try to get it out of them. I think I’m too much of a buddy to them. I re­ally do.”

Win­ter pitched ef­fec­tively for the Li­ons, with only the bot­tom of the fourth pre­sent­ing a prob­lem. Trail­ing 3-0, Kutz­town scored its only run of the con­test on Zach Schell’s sin­gle to left to score Taylor Schroeder, who had reached on a fielder’s choice. The Cougars even­tu­ally loaded the base with two outs, but Win­ter wig­gled out of the jam when he in­duced an in­field ground­out from Nate Ebling to re­tire the side.

Win­ter pitched a com­plete game, giv­ing up that one run and four hits. He struck out five and walked two. He picked up an ex­tra run of in­sur­ance in the fifth for him­self by smack­ing a ring­ing RBI dou­ble to the fence in deep left cen­ter field at Ti­mothy Brei­degam Field for a 4-1 edge.

“I thought he pitched re­ally well,” Pottsville skip­per Daniel Doyle said of his starter. “We played very well when we faced Kuz­town in the reg­u­lar sea­son as well. It’s good to our kids fight­ing hard, be­ing the lower seed, and hav­ing the con­fi­dence to face the higher seed and win two games.”

Doyle, in his sec­ond sea­son as head man at Pottsville, is barely older than his play­ers and, in fact, counts some of them as for­mer team­mates. All of 21 years old, Doyle is a ris­ing se­nior at Penn State and a mem­ber of the Nit­tany Li­ons base­ball squad as a first base­man.

“This is re­ally cool,” Doyle said of his Le­gion coach­ing gig. “It’s great to be back on the fields I played at and now coach­ing the kids.”

The full Schuylkill-Berks Le­gion tour­na­ment gets un­der­way Wed­nes­day, July 5 at sev­eral venues.

SARAH PIETROWSKI - FOR DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Kutz­town start­ing pitcher Trevor Lev­er­ing­ton de­liv­ers to the plate against Pottsville on July 2 at Kutz­town.

SARAH PIETROWSKI - FOR DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Kutz­town’s Brady Tucker (22) slides into sec­ond base while Pottsville’s Alex Everly (2) is un­able to field the throw cleanly dur­ing Pottsville’s Schuylkill-Berks play-in se­ries win on July 2 at Kutz­town.

SARAH PIETROWSKI - FOR DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Kutz­town’s Taylor Schroeder bats against Pottsville on July 2.

SARAH PIETROWSKI - FOR DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Pottsville’s Michael Win­ter (7) pitches to Kutz­town’s Owen Fen­erty (4) dur­ing Pottsville’s 4-1 win over Kutz­town on July 2 in Kutz­town.

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