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Monday, August 04, 2008

For The Patriot-News


Those wooden bats weren't silenced for long Sunday afternoon as coach John Williams and his rather aggressive set of American Legion East all-stars registered a 12-10 victory over the West at Commerce Bank Park.

Normally a celebration of the state's top pitchers, the annual Pennsylvania East-West Classic was anything but. The East contingent banged 11 hits, including a two-run triple by Southern Area outfielder William Miller that snapped a 9-all deadlock in the top of the ninth.

Abington's Michael Arcure followed with a sacrifice fly to right that ultimately sealed the East's eighth victory in the last nine games of the series.

Linglestown outfielder Tom Healy chipped in a broken-bat RBI fielder's choice in the fifth, when the East scored five times to erase an early 4-0 deficit.

Healy and Arcure were among a handful of 2007 qualifiers that wrestled away a 4-3 victory on City Island.

"This was the exact opposite," said Healy, the Mount St. Mary's recruit who again marched through five separate league, area and regional workouts to make the 21-man East roster. Over 2,000 American Legion baseball players in the state begin the selection process.

"There's so much talent on both sides. It's to a point where you can't expect what will happen next," Healy said. "The game was going back and forth the entire time. It just goes to show you what kind of game baseball is."

After Williams' crew opened the fifth by loading the bases on West hurler Addison Dunn of Warren, Arcure's RBI single and walk to Dunmore outfielder Mark Fortese brought Brandon Sady to the plate. The Fort Washington outfielder promptly delivered a two-run double to left.

Seconds later, Healy's groundout to short plated Fortese, handing the East an 8-6 advantage.

In the bottom half, West slugger Daniel Norris of West Hempfield righted the ship, slamming a three-run homer off Greater Pittston hurler David Bartuska. The East eventually pulled even in the sixth when Dry Run second baseman Joshua Jones scored third baseman Ben Miller, a Shippensburg University recruit from Quarryville, with a sharp single to right.

"By and large, we hit the ball today," said Middletown's Williams, who bumped his East-West coaching mark to 8-2.

"They were a fun bunch of guys again. Light and lively. The last couple of years, though, we had to pull everything we could to score runs. But these guys really hit the ball, and we had the right pitcher in there at the end."

Bartuska (2-for-2) and game-winner Thomas Admire of Catawissa got the East rolling in the ninth. William Miller, who grabbed MVP honors, and Arcure took care of the rest.

The West, struggling defensively with seven errors, added an unearned run in the bottom half. Admire, who allowed just one hit in three relief innings, struck out four down the stretch.

NOTES: Former Philadelphia Phillies scout and Newport High School head coach Ken Hultzapple read the Code of Conduct and threw out the first pitch. ... Arcure, the 2007 MVP, went 1-for-1 with two RBIs. ... Norris, headed to Penn State, won the Joe Caputo Sportsmanship Award. He shared four West hits with Plum shortstop Scott McGough, a University of Oregon recruit.