Patrick Welsh had a lot of fun pitching the Mountville Indians to the LNP Tournament Midget-Midget title in 2004.
He knew if he had the chance to pitch in the title game again, he wouldn’t be sorry.
As it turned out, he was right. It was Manheim Township that was sorry.
Led by Welsh’s effort on the mound, the Mountville Angels turned away Township 11-7 Tuesday night to capture the NET Junior-Midget championship at Mount Joy’s Kunkle Field.
It was the second title in three years for the Angels (17-6), most of whom were part of Mountville’s Midget-Midget dynasty from 2002-04.
Welsh was dominant early and had enough left late to pick up the win. He also helped himself with a solo home run in a four-run, first-inning outburst that proved key to the Angels victory.
“I’m kind of speechless right now,” said Mountville coach Ron Brubaker. “We came out hitting again tonight.”
While only half as damaging as the eight-run haymaker the Angels landed against Elizabethtown one night earlier, the rally was nonetheless effective.
“It’s 11-7, we spotted them four in the first inning,” said Township coach Neil Savage. “We never came back from that.”
Township starter John Savage came out throwing fastballs almost exclusively, and Mountville made him pay.
Mitch Bachman singled to open the game and Cullen Wolf brought him around with an RBI single up the middle.
After base hits from Brandon Hickey and Steve Remley loaded the bases, Mike Garner grounded into a double play that scored Wolf.
That was a break for Township, as it turned out. After a wild pitch scored Hickey, Welsh smacked a 3-2 pitch over the fence in center to cap the rally.
“I’ve been kind of in a slump lately,” he said. “So I was just trying to make contact. When I hit it … I looked up and it was over.”
So was the game – or so it seemed.
Welsh overpowered Township early, striking out five of the first six hitters he faced. But Township (23-9-2) broke through in the third on Cameron Gallagher’s two-run double.
Earlier in the third, rightfielder Andrew Weitzel saved a run for Welsh by gunning down John Chieppor, who was trying to go from first to third on a single at the start of the inning.
Later, Welsh wound up getting himself out of a jam when he hit Adam Yuninger with a curveball to load the bases.
Yuninger was Township’s most potent hitter in the tournament, going 4-for-6 with seven RBIs and two homers.
Welsh then got Ben Woratyla on strikes to end the inning, but Township was back in it.
Chieppor hit a check-swing home run over the scoreboard in the fourth inning to cut Mountville’s lead to 5-3, and Neil brought Township to within a run on an RBI single to right.
But Welsh escaped further damage by coaxing a fly ball to center from Gallagher with two on and two out.
The Black left five runners on base in the third and fourth innings and stranded 10 total.
As Township fought back into it, Mountville’s bats were suddenly silent as Savage went to his curveball to keep the Angels off-balance.
Between the second and fourth innings, Mountville managed two hits – but both were damaging. Steve Remley hit a solo homer in the third and knocked in a run with a single in the fourth.
After an unearned run gave Mountville a 7-4 lead in the fifth, Justin Sisbarro helped Township pull close again by crushing a two-run blast to right-center to cut the margin to one.
“They kept coming back but we kept that lead,” said Brubaker. “I think, had they taken a lead, it would’ve been a lot of trouble for us.”
Mountville extended its advantage to 8-6 in the sixth on Wolf’s RBI single, and Welsh pitched out of trouble in the bottom of the inning, getting Gallagher to fly to left with a runner on second and one out.
“They wanted me to walk Cameron,” revealed Welsh. “I said no, I want him. It ended up working.”
As did Brubaker’s decision to have big John Longsderff pinch hit in the seventh inning.
After Savage got the first two outs easily, Welsh singled and Weitzel walked. When Savage went 2-0 to Longsderff, he was replaced by Darren Yoder.
Yoder got a strike, then threw a ball. His next offering was redirected into the darkening night by Longsderff for a 3-run blast that wrapped up the title.
Township scratched out one more run in the bottom of the inning on Yoder’s RBI groundout, but nothing was going to deny Welsh, or the Angels.
“I got a little excited there towards the end and made a couple mistakes,” Welsh said. “When you make a mistake in this ballpark, say goodbye.”
There were a total of five home runs in the game. In what is believed to be a LNP Tournament record, there was also a total of six hit batters. Yuninger was victimized twice.