It may not have been the best weather for baseball this past weekend, but the Hallam Express didn't mind.
Playing in the Reno Powell Memorial Day Tournament in Hagerstown, Maryland, the defending Susquehanna League champions downed the Brunswick Orioles, 4-1, in the championship game Monday morning to capture the crown.
“They (Brunswick) were probably the favorite to win the tournament going in," Hallam manager Rich Day said. "They had a lot of guys that were recruited. They were pretty strong.”
The action this weekend took place at the home of the Hagerstown Braves, who actually play in the six-team Harrisburg-area West Shore Twilight Baseball League. The tournament was held in honor of Powell, who was a manager for Hagerstown for more than 35 seasons, compiling more than 1,000 victories.
"It was a nice tournament," Day said. "The tournament folks did a great job dealing with the field. The weather was just miserable all weekend until (Monday). Things were up in the air all the time. There was discussion of whether or not the game would even be played (Monday)."
The Orioles actually defeated the Express during action Saturday in the six-team draw. Day, however, was able to hand the ball to off-speed specialist Randy Stewart for the final contest Monday. The right-hander, who Hallam picked up from Conrads for the weekend, tossed five innings while keeping a strong fastball-hitting Brunswick squad off-balance.
"Brunswick has a pretty talented and athletic team," Day said after this team finished the weekend with a 3-2 record. "And they were geared to hit the fastball. When we played them on Saturday, Alex Tucci actually pitched against them. I wouldn't say they handled him, but they had success. But facing Stewart on Monday for five innings was really helpful."
Stewart handed the ball over to the left-handed Tucci with a 4-1 lead to start the sixth. The former York Catholic standout completed the save with two scoreless frames.
Day said that all 13 of the players he had this weekend contributed to the championship. Matt Ruth and Xavier Bonilla had big hits at the plate, with Bonilla hitting a game-tying home run Saturday against Frederick.
A couple of Jacobus standouts, Anthony Ferrell and Kerry Clark, joined Stewart as pick-ups for the weekend to provide pitching depth.
With the Express playing five games this weekend, East Prospect skipper Mark Toomey agreed to move Tuesday's originally scheduled contest back a day to Wednesday to give the Express a day to rest. That was something that Day, who is in his first year managing the team, was happy about.
"I asked Mark if we could move the game to Wednesday," Day said. "I didn't really want to burn all my pitching by Monday, which I kind of did, and then have to play Prospect on Tuesday. And fortunately Toomey supported that."
Stoverstown 4, Jefferson 1: At Jefferson, Daryl Harang got the complete-game Central League victory. Austin Rickrode doubled twice and drove in two runs for the winners. Levi Krause tripled for the winners, while Austin Botts doubled. Jordan Witmer doubled for Jefferson.
Pleasureville 1, Manchester 0: At Manchester, Andrew Parks threw a Central League shutout, striking out three, walking two and allowing no extra-base hits. Also for the winners, Scott Ream went 3 for 4, including a double, and the lone RBI of the game, when he knocked in Adam Reed in the top of the fifth. Devin Dellinger also doubled. For Manchester, starting pitcher Jason Kelly threw six innings, striking out two and walking two in the losing effort.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.