Pro­ceed­ing with­out any in­ter­rup­tions this time

Bulls take 2-1 se­ries lead with an 8-2 rout of Northamp­ton

The Morning Call - - SPORTS - By Keith Groller

Those who fol­low the Blue Moun­tain League and ei­ther the Lime­port Bulls or Northamp­ton Gi­ants know what hap­pened at Liset­ski Field in Game 3 of the 2018 BML Cham­pi­onship Se­ries.

The game fea­tured a con­tro­ver­sial end­ing when Lime­port had a sev­enth-in­ning rally negated be­cause the game was called be­cause of dark­ness.

Al­most a year to the day later, the same two teams played at the same lo­ca­tion and in the same sit­u­a­tion — tied at a game apiece in the best-of-five se­ries.

This time, how­ever, Lime­port scored plenty of runs be­fore Mother Na­ture could in­ter­vene and a com­bined five-hit­ter by Chris Foundas and Rich Ar­mento pro­duced an 8-2 Game 3 win and a 2-1 se­ries lead for the Bulls. Lime­port can win its sec­ond straight ti­tle and fourth in five sea­sons with a vic­tory in Game 4 on Thurs­day night at Lime­port Sta­dium. First pitch is sched­uled for 7 p.m.

The Bulls (27-9) had five of their 10 hits go for ex­tra bases and got two runs off a Northamp­ton er­ror to seize the up­per hand in the se­ries, but player-man­ager Mike Cud­wadie knows it’s far from over.

“This is a dog­fight and we’ve got to find a way to win an­other one,” he said. “There’s no bet­ter place to win it than un­der the lights at Lime­port. We’ve got to clear our heads and come back ready to go on Thurs­day.”

Cud­wadie was pleased dark­ness wasn’t an is­sue even though the game was played from the start un­der over­cast skies that dimmed quickly.

“It felt like it was dark as it could be at 5:45 when we started,” Cud­wadie said. “I told our guys to be pre­pared to play five or six in­nings, but the um­pires [Mark Brown and Mike Litzen­berger] did a pretty good job of mak­ing sure the teams hus­tled on and off.”

It stayed light enough for the Bulls to get sev­eral clutch hits and qual­ity pitch­ing.

Ryan Seiz dou­bled and scored on C.J. Sal­iby’s sin­gle in the first in­ning and the Bulls tacked on four more runs in the third when three walks and an er­ror fu­eled prob­lems for the Gi­ants.

Jorge Montes dou­bled in a run and Gianni Si­na­tore sin­gled in an­other. Af­ter a two-run homer by Nate Kester got Northamp­ton within 5-2 in the bot­tom of the fourth, Montes added an­other RBI dou­ble in the fifth and the Bulls closed it out with Damin Muth’s two-run homer in the sev­enth.

Foundas finds groove

Foundas is a Need­ham, Mass., na­tive who re­lo­cated three years ago to be near his wife’s fam­ily in the Le­high Val­ley and has found a baseball home in the BML with the Bulls.

He al­lowed four hits over five in­nings be­fore run­ning into some trou­ble in the sixth.

“I haven’t pitched in a lit­tle more than two weeks and my arm felt great,” Foundas said. “I had a lot of ac­tion on my fast­ball and break­ing pitches, but the de­fense played great too. It was a team win.”

The 32-year-old Foundas said he was get­ting tired in the sixth and couldn’t find the fast­ball that had been so ef­fec­tive. En­ter Ar­mento, who worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth and worked around a two-out sin­gle in the sev­enth.

“I en­joy this,” Foundas said. “There are four leagues like this back home. A lot of kids get out of col­lege and still want to play, and this is like the teams I played with up in Bos­ton.

“It’s a lot of hard-fought baseball and good com­pe­ti­tion. It’s in­tense with the Gi­ants. These are two of the best teams in the league and I wouldn’t want to face any other team but these guys.”

Giant con­cerns

Northamp­ton man­ager Ed Wan­dler said his team needs to get the pro­duc­tion that car­ried it to a league-best record of 23-7 in the reg­u­lar sea­son and a sweep of Eas­ton in the semi­fi­nals.

“We’ve got to get bet­ter pro­duc­tion from the top of the or­der,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of run­ners in scor­ing po­si­tion and haven’t scored. We left 11 on in the win at Lime­port [on Sun­day night], and had the bases loaded with one out to­day and didn’t score. You’ve got to get some­thing out of that. We’ve got to stop try­ing to hit the ball out of the park and worry more about mak­ing solid con­tact. We’re hitting too many weak pop­ups.”

Wan­der said it’s gut-check time for his team.

“Every­body’s got to do their job and we’ve got to play solid de­fense,” he said. “De­fense wins cham­pi­onships. They’re do­ing it and we’re not.”

Keith Groller can be reached at 610-820-6740 or at [email protected]

KEITH GROLLER/THE MORN­ING CALL

Chris Foundas is all smiles af­ter he earned the pitch­ing win in Lime­port’s 8-2 play­off vic­tory over Northamp­ton on Tues­day.

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