Favored Trojans play spoiler

Chambersburg feels good in bouncing Cinderella Neshaminy

Chambersburg feels good in bouncing Cinderella Neshaminy

June 04, 2002|by DAN SPEARS

SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. - The Neshaminy baseball team was the feelgood story of the Pa. Class AAA State Tournament. The Redskins were the 15th seed out of District 1, but fought their way to their first state appearance since 1992.

But in Monday's first-round game at Shippensburg Memorial Park, playoff-savvy Chambersburg broke their hearts with their bats and their backs with their defense.

The Trojans spotted the Redskins a two-run lead early, then turned on the jets in all phases of the game for an 8-3 victory and advance to Thursday's state quarterfinals against Williamsport.


"They were hyped up in the beginning of the game," Chambersburg shortstop Mark Olson said. "But we didn't let it get to us. We just hit the ball and played good defense."

Neshaminy (18-8) scored twice in the top of the first on three hits and an error, but the Trojans (21-5) tied it in their half. Olson was hit by a pitch, Drew McGwin tripled and Brandon Boyd's groundout made it a 2-2 game.

The reprieve buoyed Chambersburg starter Irvin Sleighter (9-1), who allowed just two hits and three walks the rest of the way. He struck out five straight in the scond and third, giving his offense a chance to work out the kinks against Neshaminy's arsenal of off-speed pitchers.

In the third, the Trojans sandwiched four singles around a walk for three runs to score three times despite having a runner thrown out at the plate. Two more runs and four more hits in the fourth made it a 7-3 game.

"We've had that kind of hitting up and down the lineup lately," Chambersburg coach Bob Thomas said. "(Designated hitter Ryan) Hinkle didn't hit, but he's hit well the last two games."

After that, Chambersburg's defense, and Sleighter, slammed the door. Olson personally took out the Redskins in the fifth with three great plays - the last two after balls hit off the glove of third baseman Bo Cook turned into 5-6-3 putouts.

"Olson's really played well in the second half," Thomas said. "Since we moved him to leadoff, he's been better offensively, but he's also played better in the field."

Neshaminy's threat in the sixth was wiped out on R.J. Seibert's sliding catch at second base and Sleighter struck out the side in the seventh.

"You go out and play good defense, and you'll win," Olson said. "And hitting the ball like we have helps."

For the fifth straight playoff game in 2002, Chambersburg had at least 12 hits. McGwin led the way with three and Chip Brown, Andy Carter and Lascelles Riley had two each.

The only downside came in the fourth, when third baseman and Mid Penn Commonwealth player of the year Aaron Burke injured his left shoulder diving on a groundball. Thomas said the shoulder "popped out some time last year," and that his status won't be known until tomorrow.

Chambersburg 8, Neshaminy 3



M. Tenaglia, Kraus (4), Catzin (6) and T. Tenaglia. Sleighter and Carter. WP-Sleighter (9-1). LP-M. Tenaglia (9-4).

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