Phillies’ 10-9 win sets up game vs. Mountville Friday
By Dave Byrne
Baseball has always been, will always be, a funny game.
Holding a 10-4 lead, and having scattered two hits over two innings of relief, Nick Breznak was three outs away from pitching the Warwick Phillies into Friday’s New Era Tournament Midget-Midget championship game.
Across the Kunkle Field diamond, Manheim VFW coach Jeff Mummau was forming a mental first draft of his “Great season, you’ve been a joy to coach” speech.
Twenty minutes, 10 batters and five runs later, Mummau’s heart was in his throat — an experience shared by everyone in attendance — as, with the tying run on third and winning run on second, Evan Hosler scalded Breznak’s 53rd pitch of the inning toward the alley in right.
“I’m thinking, ‘Great. That’s into the gap’, ” Breznak would later recall.
“A shot,” Mummau shared. “We win the game.”
The hardest hit ball of the inning went right to the glove of second-baseman Brandon Perezous, who hardly had to move.
As Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”
Warwick 10, Manheim 9.
Having lived to play another day, the Phillies (18-15) get a day off before taking on the Mountville Indians at 7 Friday night at Kunkle.
A Mountville win gives the Indians their second straight NET M-M title, their ninth overall. A Phillies win and the teams will meet again Monday at 7.
Lititz will need the rest to regain emotional equilibrium as it rode the roller coaster of scoring five runs late in the game to take command to nearly giving it all back.
Not to mention collecting 10 hits on Monday, getting one-hit on Tuesday, then banging out 12 hits Wednesday.
“It’s like my golf game,” laughed Phils’ coach Dana Clark. “I never know what I’m going to get. I couldn’t be happier with the way we bounced back from (Tuesday) night.”
Warwick broke on top with three first-inning runs, but Manheim (21-11-1) wiped that out with Dawson Good’s two-run double in the first inning and Drew Mummau’s 2-run single in the second.
That’s where the game stood going into the fifth as Mummau relieved Hosler in the second inning and Breznak spelled Ryan Aukamp after the third.
Nate Hess sent a one-out homer over the scoreboard in the fifth and the Phillies came to life.
“That’s usually our golden inning,” said Carter Forney, who snapped a tournament 0 for 6 with a two-run double in the outburst.
His double plated Aukamp, and Gabe Cicala and Reed Martin added an RBI hit before Bryan Rottkamp scored Martin with a ground out to cap the scoring.
“Hitting is contagious,” said Clark. “It’s the oldest cliché in the book, but … it’s on the money.”
Cicala doubled in a run in the sixth and Forney delivered his fourth RBI of the night with an infield single.
Who knew that would be the winning run?
Breznak got the first out of the sixth, but Hosler doubled. Jake Novak walked and Mummau doubled both home.
Tyler Simon walked, then Breznak struck out B.J. Fisher. Down to its last strike on the next four batters — including a sweet 1-2 curveball to Good that just missed low — Manheim refused to lose.
“They just didn’t give up,” admired Jeff Mummau.
Good doubled in two runs. Bryce Eberly reached on an error.
Then Breznak made his pitch, in his spot, to Todd Heisey. Heisey blooped it into center, scoring the ninth run.
“I didn’t really know (what was going on),” offered Breznak. “I just kind of lost it. I just tried to move on and get it done. It took a while, but eventually, I got it.”
As, eventually, did Perezous.