Baseball falls in first round
In the postseason, it’s all about just finding a way to win the game. It doesn’t have to be pretty. It doesn’t need to be a blowout victory. It’s only about finding a way to get the win.
On Monday, in the District 11 Class 3A quarterfinals, Palmerton did just that against Colonial League foe Salisbury. Fighting for their playoff lives, the No. 4 seed Bombers edged the Falcons in dramatic fashion with a walk off single in the bottom of the seventh inning, advancing with a 3-2 win.
With the victory, Palmerton will head to the semifinals to face top-seeded North Schuylkill at Pottsville at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
It was obvious from the onset that runs were not going to come easy for either team. Through the first two innings, both teams were held scoreless until the Falcons got on the board first in the top of the third.
Salisbury (11-10) started the inning with back-back-to-back singles by Ernesto Fermin and Joey Galantini, with Taylor Linn knocking in the run for the Falcons. Even though Salisbury led by just one run, it seemed to be in firm control with pitcher Lucas Irwin keeping the Bombers bats at bay as Palmerton collected just two hits through the first four innings.
“This was an up-and-down game that could’ve gone either way today, and our kids battled, but in the end we made too many mistakes,” said Salisbury head coach Mike Pochron. “This is district baseball. The teams are evenly matched, and when that’s the case you can’t give away outs and you can’t commit errors. In the end, we just made too many mistakes and Palmerton took advantage.”
Salisbury’s miscues started in the bottom of the fifth. Two Bombers were walked to start the inning and then Brody Boehler reached on an error to load the bases. A batter later Palmerton leadoff hitter Ben Serfass walked to the plate and made the Falcons pay with a shot to right center field, bringing in two runs to give Palmerton a 2-1 lead.
“This team doesn’t quit,” said Palmerton head coach Brian Taschler. “We’re going to keep coming no matter what. It doesn’t matter if we’re up a run, down a run, or down even more than that. This bunch of guys just knows how to keep digging.
“This is playoff baseball. The atmosphere was great here today from the first pitch. I just really like the way our kids battled. That’s a good Salisbury team. Now, we need to regroup and get ready for Wednesday.”
Salisbury, the No. 5 seed in the tournament, also had some fight in it, knotting the game back up in the top of the sixth when two walks setup an RBI opportunity for Mark Wilson, who came through with and RBI single.
But the story in this one took place in the bottom of the seventh. After squandering a prime opportunity in the bottom of the sixth with two on and just one out, Palmerton would not make that mistake twice.
It was Serfass again getting things started offensively, reaching first on an error and then getting to second on the same play after a throwing error. A passed ball moved Serfass to third, setting up Tekoah Guedes for a chance to end the game. Guedes didn’t disappoint, poking an outside fastball down the third baseline to score Serfass and win the game.
“He gave me an outside pitch, and I was just trying to put the ball in play, because in that situation the odds of something good happening are pretty high if I could get the ball in play,” said Guedes. “Obviously, today was such a huge win. We’ve lost some tough games this season late, and I think we’ve learned from those losses, and that was evident today in the way we battled.”
Defense has been one of the reasons the Bombers have made it this far, and Monday was no different. Twice in the game, Palmerton turned double plays in key situations to end an inning. Once in the third with two on, and again in the fourth with two on.
Salisbury 001 001 0 - 2 6 3
Palmerton 000 020 1 - 3 6 0
Irwin, Sukanick (6), and Galantini; Haydt, Roe (6), and Burnett. W - Roe L - Sukanick.