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Bittersweet Blazer summer closes in semifinals


The Quakertown Blazers, for a variety of reasons, won’t soon forget the 2022 season.

After posting the best record in the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League (ACBL) at 29-8-1, the Wolff Division champions entered the postseason in hot pursuit of their eighth league title and their first since 2018.

Quakertown statistically had the best pitching in the ACBL and the second most prolific offense. The Blazers opened July with a 13-game unbeaten streak. They posted their second highest win percentage in their nearly 40-year history.

Their season ended in the Wolff Division finals Wednesday night in Leonia, N.J. With a 4-1 win, the Bergen Metros took the best of three series in three games.

With 15 homers and 51 RBIs – his next competitor had six and 33 respectively – CB South’s Owen Petrich (Delaware) tore through ACBL pitching like Babe Ruth in 1920. Petrich’s .362 average was fifth best in the ACBL. Cole Hertzler (Liberty) also ranked among ACBL leaders with five homers and 28 RBIs, four RBIs more than teammate Riley Davis (Lehigh).

Three Blazer arms ranked in the top six in ERA: Joe Valenti (Misericordia) took the title with a typo-like 0.19 ERA. Jake Reese (Alvernia) and Dominic Proietto (Kutztown) came in third and sixth at 1.58 and 2.50.

Last Wednesday coincidentally also marked the celebration of life for former owner and founder Tom Bonekemper. Appropriately, the 2022 ACBL champion team was awarded the Bonekemper Cup in Saturday’s final.