HANOVER TWP. — The Berwick American Legion team composed a recipe for disaster that ultimately caused its Region 5 playoff run to end Sunday.
Five errors, base running miscues, a lack of clutch hitting and just plain bad luck all were ingredients in a 6-1 defeat to South Scranton. With the win, South Scranton will advance in the losers’ bracket and play this morning.
“We couldn’t get a break … at all,” Berwick manager Joe Papada said. “Not to take anything away from (South Scranton), but we just couldn’t get a break. They hit balls that bounced over our heads. Balls were falling in, too many double plays, baserunning mistakes. We just didn’t play well, bottom line.”
Things started off well enough for Berwick in the top of the first. T.J. Lashock singled up the middle with two outs, then Joe Favata followed with a line drive that sliced down the left-field line to drive in the game’s first run.
But South Scranton was quick to answer in the bottom of the first. With one out, John Joe Griffin singled. Sheamus Lunney, who produced both at the plate and on the mound, roped a double to left-center that tied the score against Berwick starter Kyle Miller.
For the next three innings, both pitchers settled in and kept the score even. But it was Berwick that had the better scoring chances.
In the second, Dan Curtin led off with a single and stole second. But he was stranded there as Berwick couldn’t get a ball out of the infield.
In the third, Berwick produced a two-out rally that loaded the bases. Curtin got a good swing on a Lunney fastball, but lined out to right to halt the threat.
That was be a recurring theme for Berwick, which stranded eight runners through six innings, and 11 total.
Miller got into trouble in the bottom of the fifth. Back-to-back singles by Jimmy Petrucci and Matt Harte put runners on first and second, and Griffin drew a walk to load the bases with one out. But Miller pitched his way out of it to minimize the damage. Lunney’s sacrifice fly to left gave his team a 2-1 lead. Cody Talanca then made a nice defensive play on a ground ball to first with Miller covering to keep it a one-run lead.
“He only allowed three earned runs,” Papada said of Miller. “He’s been solid all year. He throws hard. He’s probably our No. 1. But he’s efficient too. Every year he has gotten better. We just have to play defense. Our team is about defense and pitching. (Sunday) we had the pitching, but didn’t have the defense.”
Once South Scranton went ahead, Lunney continued his solid pitching. The Scranton High School senior pitched around two errors in the sixth to avoid trouble. Lunney went the distance, allowing one run on eight hits while striking out five and walking two.
Trailing 5-1, Berwick put two men on in the seventh with one out after an Eric May walk and a Lashock single. Harte made a running catch of a pop-up to shortstop, and was able to double May off of second base. Miller would reach on an error to start the eighth, but was doubled off first on Curtin’s line drive to second.
S. Scranton`100`013`01x`— 6
Pitchers: Berwick — Kyle Miller, Jeremy Clausen (8) and Dan Curtin. South Scranton — Sheamus Lunney and Jimmy Petrucci.
W — Lunney. L — Miller
Top hitters: Berwick — Joe Favata, double, single, RBI; T.J. Lashock, 2 singles. South Scranton — John Joe Griffin, 2 singles; Matt Harte, 2 singles; Lunney, double, 2 RBIs.