EDEN — Top-seeded Eden Post 880 is not familiar with walking off the diamond, after a loss. Eden had only lost twice, in 18 regular-season games, after falling three times, last summer. The Eden-based team had to take that walk, after falling to McKeever Post 6 – 4 on July 22, in the second round of the playoffs.
McKeever did not hold the lead, in the game, until the seventh inning. For six innings, it was a pitcher’s duel, between McKeever’s Zack Glowacki and Eden’s Kyle Crotty. Heading into the seventh, Crotty had allowed three hits, during the entire ball game, and needed three outs to get the win, for Eden Post.
Crotty got the first batter, to ground out, but the tide turned for Crotty and Eden, as McKeever loaded the bases with one out, in the top of the seventh, as a result of two bloop singles and a walk. Crotty walked in a run, that forced Eden head coach Gordy Karstedt to make a pitching change and give the ball to Nick Iskra of Silver Creek.
McKeevers’ Quinn Danahy had a 2-run single that just got past the outstretched glove of Kyle Sherman. Dan Dallas, a Springville native and a student at Canisius High School, added another run for McKeever, on a sacrifice, to extend the lead to 6 – 3. Bubba Boutelle tracked down a fly ball, in center field, that ended the seventh for Eden, but the damage had been done.
“One hard-hit ball, and they score 4 runs,” Kartstedt said. “That’s baseball.”
CRACK THAT BAT — Brad Palmerton takes a hack at a pitch, during a game between Eden Post 880 and McKeever Post. Photos by Dave DeLuca.
Eden was down to its last out in the bottom of the seventh, but Iskra drove a single up the middle. Tyler Conklin then drew a walk and Brad Palmerton’s single plated Iskra, from second base, to make the score 6 – 4. With Palmerton the tying run, on first base, Sherman popped out to McKeever’s shortstop, to end the game.
“This group of guys here have been resilient,” said McKeever Coach Matt Glowacki, about his team. “They’ve never giving up; whether it was [a] regular season game, our tournament, down in Cincinnati [where the team finished as runner-up], anywhere. We’ve come back, in a lot of games; I’d rather it not be like that, but we just keep fighting and that’s all you can ask for.”
After falling behind 2 – 0 early on, McKeever scored 2 runs in the third. The game remained deadlocked at 2 – 2, until the sixth, when Dan Karstedt doubled home Dave Baskerville, to give Eden the brief 3 – 2 advantage. Eden stranded 10 runners on base, during the loss.
“We stranded way too many runners,” Karstedt noted. “I mentioned it to the umpire, after the third inning. I said, ‘We’re leaving way too many runners on; this is going to come back to haunt us’ and that certainly did.”
Eden had the bases loaded, and Karstedt at the dish, but Zack Glowacki got him to pop-up to shortstop, to get out of the jam. Glowacki pitched a complete game, for McKeever.
“He was spotting his fastball,” said Glowacki, about his younger brother.
“Normally, he can throw his change-up and his curveball for strikes, but not every game is he going to be able to throw all of his pitches, so you have to make it work. He worked out there. It didn’t come easy. He got the big outs, when we needed him to.”
On Eden’s side, Crotty allowed 1 earned run, through six innings, but gave up a few key hits, in the seventh.
“Kyle pitched excellent,” Kartstedt said. “He really fought hard and did a nice job. I’m really proud of him.”
At the plate, Palmerton led Eden going three-for-five, while Baskerville added two hits. Eden was slated to give the ball to Drew Scharra, against Orchard Park. The winner of that game will have to beat McKeever twice, to advance to the final.