SAYLORSBURG – The first inning between Hellertown and the Birches in their NORCO Legion baseball game Tuesday afternoon was not easy on the eyes to say the least.
Fortunately for the Birches (2-7), they straighten out their play and came from behind to get the win.
The two teams combined for 13 runs thanks to five errors in a first inning that took just under an hour to complete. Only six RBIs were recorded by the two teams, as six other runs scored either on an error or a wild pitch. Although the Birches surrendered sevens runs in the top of the first, they responded with six runs of their own in the bottom of the inning to nearly even things out.
The Birches' play in the field after that was steady for the most part, while their bats picked up the pace and plated five runs on eight hits the rest of the way. They would hold on to win just their second game of the summer, 11-10.
"We have been starting out like that all year long," admitted Birches manager Allen Faust. "We dug a big hole. (Monday) night we played Freemansburg and we were down five before we knew it.
"We have a young team and 12 new ball players that didn't play for me last year. Still, I think we are going to start coming together."
As Faust said, things definitely didn't start out well for his club. Starting pitcher Dylan Pasnak retired the first batter he faced, but didn't get much support behind him after that. Pasnak allowed a single and a walk before the first run scored on a throwing error by his catcher. Another run scored a better later on an error by his right fielder. A wild pitch then brought in a third run as the flood gates began to open.
Following a strikeout and a double, another run scored on a throwing error by the Birches' shortstop. By the time the inning ended, Hellertown had sent 12 batters to the plate and had scored seven runs on just five hits.
The Birches did not give up though. And through their resiliency the tides turned against Hellertown. Six of the first seven batters the Birches sent to the plate eventually came around to score as Hellertown returned the favor by committing two errors of their own. On top of that, starter Matt Orban was overly wild and loaded the bases before recording an out.
Tom Agosta picked up a sacrifice fly to plate the Birches' first run. Adam Raseley then singled to center to score their second run. Another run scored on the play thanks to an error by the fielder. Troy VanHouten, who ended the day 3-for-3, singled in Raseley two batters later to cap the scoring.
"The kids haven't given up," said Faust. "Even though we have been on the losing end, we lost to Stroudsburg by one and to Palmer by one, they haven't given up. They are here every night and they battle."
The Birches' Jordan Caffrey scored on an error in the third to tie things up at seven. He then tied the game up again in the fourth with a RBI fielder's choice. After Hellertown retook the lead in the fifth, Aaron Cetnar helped his own cause by lacing a RBI double to deep left-center. He scored two batters later on a double steal to give his team a lead they would never relinquish.
Things got interesting in the top of the seventh when Hellertown's Brandon Shuck tripled with two outs to drive in a run. That was when Faust brought in hard-throwing Dan Hrbek, who recorded the last out via a strikeout.
Hellertown 700 110 1 – 10 9 4
Birches 601 130 x – 11 10 5
Orban, Johns (5) and Stahr; Pasnak, Cetnar (5), Hrbek (7) and Agosta, Raad (7). W – Cetnar. L – Johns. S – Hrbek.