Playoffs up next for Coplay
Baseball great Ernie Banks famously said let’s play two, but with the way this season has unfolded for the Coplay Legion team, doubleheaders have become routine for them since the season started.
Bad weather struck over the weekend, forcing more cancellations. They played another doubleheader on Sunday, with this twin bill featuring league-leading Salisbury.
They lost both games of the doubleheader, dropping their record to 10-5-1. With those two losses, they finished the regular season in third place behind Northern Valley and Salisbury.
Manager Jim Murphy said that the two cancellations over the weekend would not be rescheduled so their season ended Sunday at Salisbury.
Murphy said it was a long season, made even longer by the five doubleheaders they had to play because of the rain impacting their schedule.
Now they’ll turn their attention to the playoffs which open on Thursday. Murphy said that he hopes he’ll have close to a full roster once they get rolling on Thursday. On Sunday against Salisbury they had only eight players for the first game and nine for the second. He said that’s just the nature of playing over the 4th of July weekend.
Last Friday evening they traveled to Limeport to play Southern Lehigh. They took an early 2-0 lead and then after Southern Lehigh cut the lead in half in the bottom of the second, Coplay manufactured a run in the third thanks to some nifty base running by Jeison Peralta. Peralta reached first after getting hit by a pitch, and then stole second base, putting him in scoring position. A slow roller to third should have ended the inning, but it was misplayed and Peralta scored from second, giving Coplay another run. His hustle put them up 3-1.
But the skies grew dark in the third inning and the game was halted as the rain began to fall.
But what didn’t fall was their spirits throughout the year which fueled their competitive desire.
“It’s been a good year,” said Murphy. “The kids played hard. I’m really proud of the boys.”
Murphy also likes the kids to have fun on the final game of the season. They choose positions that they normally don’t play and let them loose on the diamond. Their infield featured Alex Bruneio at second, while Matt Dobeck played shortstop. Additionally, Jack Kaintz was at first and Alejandro Monteverde was at third. Murphy said that game them an all-lefty infield.
Murphy said that it was a good accomplishment finishing in the top three. He was reluctant to use Bruneio and Zach Gilbert too much since they pitched a lot of innings for Whitehall this spring. Still, they finished third in the league and Murphy credits everyone for stepping up and helping out wherever they could.
Alex Bruneio was named Pitcher of the Week, while South Parkland’s Adam Mellinger was tapped as the Player of the Week. Bruneio was a factor in three of their wins as they went 4-2-1 during that stretch. He defeated the Carbon Monarchs 2-1, going seven innings for the win. He also went seven innings in a no-decision, giving up just hits while striking out three. He also earned a save in their come-from-behind win over West Allentown.
As they head into the playoffs, Zach Hamscher leads the team with a whopping .571 average. Bruneio is next with a .467 average, while Zachary Brodeur is right behind him at .423. Dobeck is hitting .371 this season, while Austin Dreisbach is batting .353. Zachary Bilder is having a good year at the plate as well, hitting .344, while Monteverde is batting .323.
Bruneio and Bilder are tied for the team lead in RBIs with nine, while Brodeus, Hamscher, Dobeck, Monteverde and Peralta each have eight. Bruneio is tops with two homers, while Hamscher, Monteverde and Peralta each have one.
Six different pitchers have won games this year for Coplay, led by Bilder who was 2-0 with an 0.58 ERA.