Bullskin takes Pony League title
During the Connellsville Pony League regular season, Gerrys Western Shop and Bullskin were the top two teams in the league. So it was no surprise that the two clubs met in the championship series.
But of these two clubs, one clearly established itself as the dominant club. After winning 12-2 on Monday, Bullskin wrapped up the best-of-three series with an 8-4 victory on Tuesday.
‘To win a championship on any level is the greatest feeling in the world,’ Bullskin coach Mike LoNigro said after his players showered him with water from a cooler. ‘This is what we play for, and it doesn’t get any better than this. These kids make me feel young again.’
Chris Pepe struck out 10 batters and worked a complete game five-hitter to lead Bullskin to the title. But the title didn’t come easily.
Bullskin jumped out to an early 1-0 lead as Pepe singled and scored when Mike Brooks doubled off of Gerrys pitcher Bobby Fulton. Then in the third, the lead jumped to 3-0 as Casey Eutsey and Sean Lewandowsky each singled. Eutsey scored, along with pinch-runner Adam Stone. Eutsey and Brooks each had an RBI in the frame.
But just when it looked like Bullskin would run away with the game, Gerrys made a move in the bottom of the fourth.
Fulton reached on an error and Cody Adanitch doubled him in. Then Adanitch came home on a wild pitch to make it 3-2. It was at this point that the game could have gone either way.
‘When we came back and made it 3-2, I think we had them on the ropes, if we could have held them,’ Gerrys manager Frank Rosenberry said. ‘But they came back and scored four runs, and that was the turning point.’
Bullskin showed the mark of a champion by reclaiming the momentum in top of the fifth.
Lewandowsky and Andrew Rulli started the inning with back-to-back doubles. Eutsey followed with a single and later, Andrew LoNigro came through with a two-run single to make it 7-2.
Still, Gerrys didn’t quit as Andrew Spargur blasted a two-run homer to center to make it 7-4 in the bottom of the fifth.
‘They were without a couple of key players,’ Mike LoNigro said of Gerrys. ‘But they came to battle.’
However, the battle was won by Bullskin as Josh Ridenour singled and scored on an RBI single by Eutsey in the sixth.
Then Pepe settled into a groove, retiring nine of the last 10 batters he faced to clinch the championship.
‘Chris threw an excellent game,’ Mike LoNigro said. ‘He’s been doing that all season.’
In fact, Bullskin has done plenty of excellent things all season.
‘We kept telling our team that we had the best hitters, the best defense and the best pitching,’ Mike LoNigro said. ‘I’m not sure that they believed us all the time, but now I think they can trust our judgment.’
Despite the loss, Rosenberry had plenty of praise for his players.
‘Fulton pitched a heck of a game,’ Rosenberry said. ‘But Bullskin deserved to win. We played better in this game (than in the first game) and I’m proud of the effort. This is the best group of kids I’ve had here in a long time. They were a good mix and they came together well. They had a good season.’
The Connellsville Pony League All-Stars will begin play this weekend.
Bullskin 12, Gerrys 2
Chris Pepe blasted a two-run homer, ripped a two-run single and was the winning pitcher with four strikeouts in Bullskin’s win over Gerrys in Game One of the championship series. Andrew LoNigro collected two singles and a double.
Bobby Fulton homered for Gerrys. Nathan Pritts took the loss.