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Hempfield East Legion defeated in state tournament

August 2, 2018

Late errors and a missed scoring opportunity in the bottom of the sixth inning hurt Hempfield East in a 3-0 loss to Swoyersville in a Pennsylvania State Legion Tournament winners’ bracket game Sunday night at Bear Stadium in Boyertown.

Hempfield East (27-6) will try to remain alive in the double-elimination tournament today at 3:35 p.m. when it faces Ephrata, a 7-2 winner over Uniontown. Swoyersville will face Souderton, a 2-1 winner over Spring-City, in the winners’ bracket final at 7:05.

“They scrapped like we did,” Hempfield East manager Harry Shamberger said about Swoyersville, which won the state title two years ago and defeated Boyertown, 6-1, on Saturday. “That’s a pretty good team. A couple calls either way, and it’s a different ball game, but they won it fair and square.”

East starter Shane Stuchell threw shutout ball through five innings. But Swoyerville scored one in the top of the sixth on a walk, an error on a pickoff attempt and a two-out infield throwing error.

Hempfield East loaded the bases in its half on three straight walks with one out. Then Dom Carrera lined one to the third baseman, who dropped the ball, picked it up and threw low to the plate. But catcher Steve Banas managed to pick up the ball for the out before the runner could cross the plate.

Swoyersville added two in the seventh on a walk, a wild pitch, a sacrifice, a grounder to short, a single and a throwing error from the outfield. Stuchell, who hit the Legion maximum pitch count of 105 with two outs in the seventh, allowed five hits and one earned run while walking three and fanning five.

“A great game by Stuchell,” said Shamberger. “We couldn’t get the bats going.”

East had a chance to score in the second when Reid Amunson ripped a double off the fence in right, but a fly to center and a strikeout ended the threat. Hempfield East stranded runners on second and third in the third when Swoyersville first baseman Jake Parker made a good grab on a hard chopper by Reno Brasili. Then a runner was thrown out at the plate to end the fourth.

East left 10 men on base and struck out seven times against a total of three pitchers. Dajuahn Hertzog reached base four straight times on a single and three walks and Amunson three consecutive times on his double, a hit by pitch and a walk.

Stuchell gave up a single to the first batter of the game but was helped by a diving catch by second baseman Noah Sweeney that retired the side.

“That was a tough one for sure,” Shamberger added. “The guys will be ready tomorrow.”

In the other game, host Boyertown remained alive with an 11-1 win over Meadville and will face Spring City today at 12:35 p.m.

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