By Anthony Mitchell
For The Daily Item
SHAMOKIN -- Gradon Feldmann stepped to the plate for Danville in the sixth inning with the Area I championship hanging in the balance.
Feldmann sent a 1-0 pitch back through the box and into center field, scoring the go-ahead run as Danville came from behind to beat Berwick, 7-5, for the District 13 10-11-Division Area I title on Monday.
The five-hole hitter had struggled at the plate through five innings, going down on strikes in his first three at-bats. When he put his foot in the batter's box as the last hope for Danville with two outs, however, the pressure seemed to melt away as he calmly put the bat on the ball to give Danville the lead.
"That was a big hit, " Danville manager Michael Webb said. "(Feldmann is) one of the better hitters on the team. That's why he bats fifth."
Down a run when the inning began, Danville's Garret Stigerwalt drew a four-pitch walk to put the tying run on first. After Alex Talanca struck out K.J. Riley and walked Colton Sidler, Danville had the go-ahead run on first with the tying run at second, a single away from scoring. A fielder's choice at third brought up Josh Kopelcheck, who worked a five-pitch walk to get to Feldmann.
Ironically, Feldmann's job in his sixth-inning at-bat, according to Webb, was to take pitches. He had a look at a ball high and inside before taking a rip at the next pitch he saw for a 6-5 lead.
"It feels good (to get the game-winning hit) by coming through from having three strikeouts," Feldmann said. "It feels really nice."
Feldmann's ability to push aside what happened in previous innings and focus on the current at-bat was something the entire Danville team showed.