Playing the game

Chambersburg moves on after questioned call

Chambersburg moves on after questioned call

June 04, 2002|by BOB PARASILITI

NEWVILLE, Pa. - In the end, the Chambersburg softball team won using Steph VanBrakle's pitching and late-inning hitting, as usual.

Before any of that mattered, the Trojans won by veto.

VanBrakle fired a two-hitter and Chambersburg scored all its runs on eight hits in its final three at-bats Monday to notch a 6-1 victory over Central Bucks East in the first round of the Pa. Class AAA State Tournament at Heishman Field.

"I thought we'd hit (East pitcher Christina Alff), but it took a turn around to time her," Chambersburg coach Harvey Staver said. "We don't hit in the first three innings for some reason. We start hitting in the final four. That's the way we play ... we get behind and come back. I'd rather play from ahead."

Chambersburg (26-0) used catchup mode again, spotting the Patriots (17-8) a run in the second. But despite the emphatic finish for the Trojans, a changed call by home plate umpire John Kurnat foreshadowed and overshadowed the win.


Sara Cook singled to lead off the fourth and VanBrakle laced a screamer down the third-base line. East's Sabrina Vassalotti stuck her glove out at the ball, which hit the chalk line just into the outfield grass.

Cook scored and VanBrakle steamed into second as Kurnat came from behind the plate with hands raised, signaling a dead ball and stopping the Patriots' defense in its tracks.

"When they went after the ball, I knew it was fair," Staver said. "(Cook) kept hustling and I wasn't going to stop her. I was sending her all the way."

"When I hit it, I saw it hit her glove and I kept running," VanBrakle said. "I saw them put their hands up to call time, and started to come back, but I decided to stay on second base. I could have been on third."

Kurnat conferred with third base umpire Jeff Smith and, after a short conference, overturned his call, allowing the play to stand despite a protest from East coach Nick Hiser.

"It was a great call," Hiser said sarcastically. "He tried to tell me it hit her glove. I didn't see it that way."

B.J. Seilhammer followed the delay with a single to score VanBrakle, and she scored on Lindsay Tritle's single for a 3-1 lead.

VanBrakle retired 18 of her last 19 batters after Alff's leadoff single in the second, which resulted in the Patriots' run. She got East to hit themselves out of innings, finishing with just seven strikeouts - her smallest total of the season. But every out of the game except the final one was made on the infield.

"It wasn't like they were hitting me hard," VanBrakle said. "They were just dinking the ball, so I didn't care."

Chambersburg iced the game with three in the sixth, including another RBI from Seilhammer and a suicide squeeze by Jen Ortega.

The Trojans will play Neshaminy in the quarterfinals Thursday at a time and place to be announced today.

Chambersburg 6, Central Bucks East 1

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Alff and Darreff; VanBrakle and Cook. WP-VanBrakle. LP-Alff.

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