It took exactly three hours. But when Zach Shoemaker singled through a drawn-in infield to plate Blake Doherty in the eighth on Saturday, Plumstead walked off as a 10-9 victor over the Lansdale Cannoneers.
“Coach gave me the bunt sign for the first two pitches. I didn’t get them down,” Shoemaker admitted. “I pulled back. With two strikes, I knew I had to put the ball in play.”
It was Plumstead’s first win of the 2019 Bux-Mont Legion season.
And it was not the cleanest game Plumstead will play in the ’19 season.
Lansdale (1-4) got runs in the first and second, and three-spots in the
third and fourth, on just four hits. An unholy gumbo of Plumstead walks, errors and hit batsmen fueled the damage.
“We were booting the ball left and right,” Plumstead skipper Art Ehlo stated. “But the good thing was the kids never gave up. They kept coming back and coming back down two runs, three runs and managed to do it.”
Plumstead heeded Ehlo’s advice. “No more Christmas,” as he exhorted his troops to stop giving away runs and start taking instead. Derek Smith’s two-run single in the second knotted it at 2.
“I don’t like sitting curveball until I’m down two strikes,” Smith shared. “I like to hunt the fastball. Once I was down 0-2, I went into battle mode and kept fouling pitches off. I got a curveball inside that I got a pretty good piece of and sent foul to right field, so I was expecting fastball. I got fastball and stayed up the middle with it.”
Zach Wyllie’s two-run third inning double tied it at 5. “I haven’t been hitting well,” Wyllie explained, “so that hit was big for me as well as the team because that is what got us going.”
Wyllie proved to be the game hero through his mound work. Coming in relief in the fourth, he faced the minimum through 1.2 innings.
Lansdale loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth, but Wyllie posted a bagel. Shoemaker gunned down a runner at home, catcher Kyle Oeschle snagged a pop up and Wyllie induced a ground out.
“This is my first year pitching for Legion,” Wyllie said. “Coming into this game, I was a little worried because I didn’t get any warm-ups. But my offspeed stuff was working, and my curve was good, especially in the last two innings when my fastball was wearing down. We had a great group of guys out there playing defense.”
Shoemaker twice connected with Oeschle to force out a runner at home. “As a team, Coach had us all up in the infield,” Shoemaker said. “Wherever the ball hits, we’re just trying to get that guy out at home.”
Connor Campbell’s two-run double gave Plumstead a 9-8 lead through six. Lansdale tied it on a seventh-inning sacrifice fly.
Wyllie’s perfect eighth set the stage for Shoemaker’s heroics.
Oeschle had three hits for Plumstead. Gabe Schleiden drove in a run on his third hit-by-pitch of the day.
“Wyllie did an awesome job,” Ehlo praised. “He kept us in the game.
Shoemaker is stepping it up. These are young kids who didn’t get that much playing time at Palisades. But they are performing. And Smith is pounding the ball all over the place.”
Plumstead was 2-3 at press time after Sunday’s dominant 13-1 win over Doylestown and Tuesday’s 4-3 loss at Hatfield-Towamencin. Regardless of record, Ehlo is enjoying the journey.
“I’m going to be 64 but I keep doing it because I have great kids to work with,” the skipper said. “They are funny, respectful and they give you 100 percent.”