Royals rally after losing first two games
The Hellertown Royals took the first two games of their BML semifinal series game against the Iron Financial Orioles, putting them in a commanding position in the best-of-five series. Before game three, Hellertown manager Bob Zerfass talked about a playoff series years ago when he was part of a team down 2-0 that knew it needed just one win to catapult it to a win in the series, and told his team to stay ready because the Orioles would be looking for a catapult of their own, and found it with a 7-6 win in game three.
The Orioles gave themselves a nice lift, scoring three runs in each of the first two innings to take a 6-1 lead over the Royals. Mike Tenaglia, a 2010 Parkland grad, delivered a two-run single in the first that capped the scoring for the Orioles.
“Just looking to get the bat on the ball, because I had two strikes,” said Tenaglia. “I just wanted to hit the ball hard and put it in play.”
Hellertown got its run in the first when Parkland product Zach Merkle was hit by a pitch and moved to second on a base hit from Elias Gross, later scoring on a throwing error.
If the O’s thought they could coast with a five-run lead, they were wrong. The Royals turned it up a notch against starting pitcher Justin Jachowicz.
The Royals put up a three-spot of their own in the fourth, with three singles and a walk to start the inning. One out later, Ian Burley delivered a two-run single, cutting the lead to 6-4. The next inning, Hellertown agains played small-ball with two singles and a double, getting an RBI groundout from Dan Blugis and an RBI single from Mike Mittl to chase Jachowicz, and tie the game.
Paul Roth, who relieved Royals starter Brandon Kulp in the second inning, settled in after giving up a walk and a two-run single to the first two hitters that he faced, allowing two inherited runners to score. Roth bent but didn’t break, even loading the bases in the fourth, but getting defensive help when the Orioles Ryan Bonshak was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
The game went to the seventh inning with the two teams knotted in a 6-6 tie. Ryuta Amnike, who went 4-for-8 with a double, a home run and four RBI in the first two games of the series for the Orioles led off the seventh with a blast to dead center field for what would prove to be the game’s winning run.
Buck Schwab, who came on in relief of Jachowicz in the fifth, got the win, finishing out the game by retiring seven of the eight batters he faced.
“Great pitching performances and good defense were big for us today,” said Tenaglia. “Ryuta has been lights out in the batter’s box, so a tip of the cap to him, because he’s been huge in the playoffs. Everybody is motivated to take the rest of the games, and I think it’s going to be the Orioles in five.”
Tenaglia may be right, and Zerfass may find himself on the opposite end of his pregame story, because the Orioles took game four of the series back on their home field in Egypt to tie the series and force game five tonight in Hellertown.