The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

July 22, 2013

American Legion playoffs: Aggressive running pays off for Milton in Region V tournament win

Daily Item

---- — By Tom Robinson

For the Daily Item

HANOVER TOWNSHIP -- Michael Jacobs did not hesitate to assess the score or his decision's impact on the game.

There was no time for him to get any feedback from Milton manager Dave Byers.

Jacobs took off from second on the pitch and never stopped until he had made it home on an infield single, putting Milton ahead and scoring the winning run in a 5-3 victory over West Scranton in an elimination game of the Pennsylvania Region 5 Senior American Legion baseball game.

"I didn't really know the score," Jacobs said. "I just saw the play and took it."

Milton trailed, 3-2, with the bases loaded and two out in the fourth inning.

Taylor Porter hit a slow groundball to shortstop and got a good jump out of the box.

Porter barely beat the throw on a close play at first.

By the time anyone could react, Jacobs had rounded third and was well on his way down the line from third base behind Daniel Bridge, who had scored the tying run.

"There were two outs so I was running the whole way," Jacobs said. "I was basically on third before he made the throw."

Byers had his concentration on trail runner Damian Moyer, who was rounding second and did not even realize his team was about to regain the lead.

"It was all Michael," Byers said. "He just hustled his way through it.

"He saw how the play developed behind him."

The win sends Milton into today's losers' bracket game against the loser of Sunday's Jersey Shore/Greater Pittston game. A field of eight teams was trimmed to six Sunday and will be down to four survivors in the double-elimination event when today is over.

Byers said he encourages to team to be aggressive on the bases, particularly a player like Jacobs who has the speed to take advantage of an opening.

"You've got to know your limit, but Michael is quick," Byers said. "He surprised me."

Porter's own hustle on the play wound up turning his routine-looking groundball into a two-run single.

Milton regained the lead it had lost in the bottom of the third on a two-run triple by Cole Stetzar. The hit was the fourth in six at-bats to start the tournament by West Scranton's 14-year-old shortstop.

Mark Artley made sure to protect his second lead of the day.

After Stetzar's triple, the Milton pitcher gave up just two hits over the final 6 1/3 innings. Artley retired 14 of the final 15 batters to complete his six-hitter.

"I felt more confident with my command," Artley said. "I felt like I could control any pitch.

"I had a couple of games like that in high school where I had a rough inning or two then came back to finish the game."

Milton added the final run in the fifth inning.

J.T. Fogleman singled, stole second and scored on a Tylor Moyer single with one out.

The first four Milton runs were scored with two outs. In both the third and fourth innings, West Scranton pitcher David Boyle retired the first two batters.

Hits by Porter and Brandon Stokes led to two unearned runs to open the scoring in the third.

Bridge and Jacobs had consecutive singles before Damian Moyer walked in the fourth.

Damian Moyer finished 2-for-4 with a walk.