Company Montgomery Twp. Connie Mack misses state finals – thereporteronline

LIMEPORT >> As Trevor Lugaro settled into the batter’s box, the wind began to blow at Limeport Stadium.

Behind the tall old wooden fence in left field, the rows of cornstalks began to sway in the breeze and looked almost like a packed crowd waiting for the big moment. Lugaro’s swing of the bat brought it about as Montgomery Twp emerged victorious and earned a spot in the Connie Mack state tournament finals.

Ultimately, Montgomery Twp would come up short on Saturday, dropping the championship to Moore Twp 12-11. but the team’s 4-3 win over Northern Valley earlier in the day was the highlight of a successful season.

“We know we had to keep fighting,” said Lugaro, who split time between the infield and the mound. “We kept picking each other up and kept playing.

Left with just 10 healthy players Saturday and needing three wins to clinch the state title, it was certainly a tall order for Montgomery Twp. Of course, the Spartans had to win Saturday morning’s tilt with Northern Valley before even thinking about the state title game.

If the past few weeks have taught this group anything, it’s how to play in a tight spot. Montgomery, which missed just two regular-season games in an early playoff loss to BuxMont, found itself in a similar spot, needing two wins over Nor-Gwyn on the same day to earn the title.

Knowing his team was short, Ryan Kantz pitched a gem on the mound against Northern Valley and then used every last delivery he had left later in the day against Moore Twp.

“We’ve been shorthanded the whole tournament, so we knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” said Kanz, a sophomore at La Salle College High School. “I am proud of this team. We fought throughout the tournament, even without players, and I was happy to see how far we came. It so happened that we ended up staying for a short time.”

In the morning, Kantz threw 82 pitches to get the win, and the left-hander allowed just one earned run in the three he gave up due to several errors in the field. He would come on as a reliever later in the day and use the final 18 innings of his daily allotment to help Montgomery get out of a tough sixth inning against Moore Twp.

Lugaro started the second game and pitched very well before exhausting his tally in the fifth inning to continue the late-game drama that led Montgomery Twp to the championship. Despite the exhaustion of playing with a short bench and needing two wins to reach the final, decisive game, Lugaro, a rising sophomore at North Penn, felt his team had a ways to go to match the more complete lineups. other teams. in the tournament.

“Our energy on the bench was a major part,” Lugaro said. “We are noisy, a lot of people don’t like it. When that energy is high, then our punches are stronger, or we can focus on getting the next punch.”

Montgomery had a first down in both games and also had to deal with the opponent coming back to tie the score in both cases. In the first game, Kantz drove in a run with a ground ball, Lugaro hit an RBI single and Michael Capillato hit a sac fly as part of a three-run third inning where Montgomery Twp took advantage of three North Valley errors.

Northern Valley, coming off a win-or-go-home game Friday night, was able to rally and battle back Kantz with single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to tie the game at 3-3.

Making it to the final day of the tournament, which began on July 21, was no easy feat, and Montgomery wasn’t going to let a couple of mistakes stop him from playing for the title.

“You just have to keep your head on it the whole time, that’s such an important factor,” Kanz said. “We’ve played a lot of games in hot weather, some doubleheaders, even some rain delays, so always keeping your head in it helps you win the game that starts and that’s what allows you to move on to the next one and focus on this”.

In the bottom of the seventh, Keegan Connelly walked with one out and Kantz followed with a free pass of his own, marking his third time on base for the contest. Lugaro, who has also reached that point three times, drove the ball up the first base line.

The ball took a hard hop, eluding the first baseman and sending Connelly home. It was a no-brainer from there, as the Northern Valley right fielder made a great throw at the plate, but Connelly was able to slide in to score the game-winning run.

“I’m hoping to take advantage of this, recover and have an even better year with my high school team,” Lugaro said. “There are always things you need to improve on and I saw some of that playing with these guys this summer.”

Montgomery Twp took advantage of a slow start by Moore Twp pitching in the afternoon to score in the first inning, but fell behind 2-1 after a full frame. The Spartans used four walks, two errors and two runs by Capilato in the second to regain the lead and added two runs in the third and three in the fifth.

Moore Twp, which edged Montgomery on Friday to earn a spot in the finals, clawed back bit by bit until Lugar ran out of shots in the fifth. Through the serve, Moore, taking advantage of free passes and errors, took six points and tied the score at 11-11.

In the seventh, Sam Erschen hit a grounder down the third-base line to give Moore Twp the state title.

While it was disappointing to come up one win short of a state title, Lugaro and Kantz agreed it was still a good summer that included a league title and a lot of determination from their entire team.

“I think this team had a very successful season,” Kanz said. “We fought back a lot of times, so I’m very proud of what this team did.”

Company Montgomery Twp. huddle before the Connie Mack State Championship game on Saturday. (Andrew Robinson/For MediaNews Group)
Company Montgomery Twp.  accepts the Connie Mack state tournament runner-up trophy.  (Andrew Robinson/For MediaNews Group)
Company Montgomery Twp. accepts the Connie Mack state tournament runner-up trophy. (Andrew Robinson/For MediaNews Group)
Ryan Kantz and Trevor Lugaro
Ryan Kantz and Trevor Lugaro

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