By Scott Dudinskie
The Daily Item
MILTON -- Milton's baseball team has more seniors than a retirement community, so the Black Panthers' junior starters have to do something to stand out from the crowd.
In Wednesday's season-opener against Selinsgrove, Brady Chappell roped a tie-breaking hit with two outs in the last of the sixth inning, and then Mark Artley put a period on the 7-5 win with one of the game's best defensive plays.
It was strikingly confident comeback by the Black Panthers, one more likely seen in late April with a month of baseball in the rear-view rather than in the season's first try on a damp, brisk afternoon.
Selinsgrove scored the game's first two runs and led 5-3 after 4 1/2 innings. Milton scored a run with a two-out Jordon Bordner single in the home fifth, and struck again with two down in the sixth when Chappell came through with the bases loaded.
"I was just up there looking for the first good pitch," said Chappell, who was 2-for-4 after dealing with an illness that included a 102 fever early in the week. "I was swinging."
The junior clean-up hitter got a chance because the bottom of the Panthers' order set the table. Seven-hole batter Taylor Porter (2-for-2) worked a five-pitch walk to start the inning, and DH Neal Hoover ripped a liner through the left side of the infield. Mike Jacobs then sacrificed the runners into scoring position.
Artley, filling the leadoff role vacated by 2012 Daily Item Player of the Year Reynaldo Adames, reached for a 2-2 curve and dribbled it to the left side. A moment of hesitation over where to go with the ball allowed Porter to score the tying run and Artley to beat the throw.
Chad Diggan walked to loaded the bases and, after Damian Moyer's grounder forced out Hoover at home, Chappell, the seventh hitter of the inning, took a letter-high 2-2 fastball to left field to score a pair.