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Which Of These Teams Has The Hometown Bragging Rights -- and the Playoff Edge?

Jul 13, 2017 11:00 AM
Douglas B. Brill

Game of the Week: Macungie Grizzlies vs. Macungie Expos


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Photos by Meagan Ybarra


 

The Grizzlies hold bragging rights in Macungie -- for now.

The Macungie Grizzlies and Macungie Expos split a doubleheader Sunday at Breinigsville Road Park in in Breinigsville in 18 American Division action in the Lehigh Valley Men’s Baseball League Game of the Week.

The split, featuring a big Grizzlies comeback in Game 1, gave the regular season series to the Grizzlies, who also defeated the Expos way back on May 28 in their first meeting.

But that's a distant memory. The teams now have bigger goals in mind as they close in on playoff berths with a third of the season to go. If the playoffs started today, these teams wouldn't just have Macungie bragging rights on the line -- they would be battling for the MSBL Championship.

Out of Hibernation

After falling behind 5-0 in Game 1, the Grizzlies stormed back with nine unanswered runs.

The 9-5 win secured the victory in the regular season series, which is worth not just bragging rights but can become a crucial tiebreaker if these tightly packed teams finish the season tied in the standings.

Matt Boccella had four hits and Conor Healy added three.

"Our bats definitely won us the game with a nice comeback," said Grizzlies Manager-Player Josh LeMaster, who will appear in the July 22 LV MSBL All-Star Games at Coca-Cola Park as both a manager and a pitcher. "I'm confident we have some of the top offense in our divisionm, and pitching wise we are solid with 3 good leftys and one good righty. The first game today was a nice uplifting comeback."

The Expos ran out in front with a four-run second inning helped in part by Luigi Rosario, who finished the game with a stuffed stat sheet -- a single, a double, a stolen base, and a run scored -- as well as Andrew Yetter, who finished went 2-3 with 2 singles and a walk.

But the Grizzlies matched it with a four-run third.

Sometimes You Have It, Sometimes You Don't

Expos Manager-Player Josh Fritz, also named to the All-Star Games as both a manager and a pitcher, said defense made the biggest difference.

Early on in Game 1, the squads exchanged defensive highlights with Grizzlies secondbaseman Berto Pimental and the Expos Logan Mondschein turning in diving plays.

But the Grizzlies took advantage of some Expos miscues to pull into a sixth-inning lead they wouldn't relinquish.

"Errors on our part and the Grizzlies capitalizing on the chances they were provided," Fritz said.

The Expos flipped the tables in Game 2, taking advantage of Grizzlies miscues to win 12-2. LeMaster didn't want to talk about his club's Game 2 defense. "I can't keep it nice about the second game," he joked.

Six. Packed.

Both Macungie teams are in good shape with the final third of the season to play. They're in strong position among six teams packed tightly together atop the eight-team division.

The Game 2 win left the Expos in a particularly strong fourth place: one game out of first with a tiebreaker over one chasing team and a chance to earn a tiebreaker over the other. "We feel confident moving forward and like the position we're in," Fritz said.

The Grizzlies are tied for second place with the Kings (8-3-1), who defeated and tied the Mariners (5-5-2) in a doubleheader. The Grizzlies and Kings each are half a game behind the division-leading Pink Sox, who swept a doubleheader against the Black Sox (0-13).

The Royals (6-6) swept the Cubs in a doubleheader to stay within striking distance.

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