Plumstead Legion manager Art Ehlo has been battling a numbers game with his players all season long in the Bux-Mont American Legion League, but the veteran manager slowly has been getting the better of the situation.
His team entered a doubleheader against Doylestown with an overall 4-6 record. It has been a vast improvement since they didn’t officially win a game last season, but were credited with two forfeits.
This year’s team has 10 Palisades players, six from New Hope-Solebury and two from Central Bucks West.
“When we have a full team of 18 guys, it is difficult to make out a lineup,” he said. “We have a number of talented players, but we have been getting anywhere from 10, 11, 12 players per game.
“But I have been very happy with the way we have been playing this year. Every team is going through the same type of problems, and the league appears to be pretty wide open this year.”
Ehlo likes his pitching staff, which has plenty of depth.
Julio Ermigiotti, a recent CB West grad who has committed to play at Lehigh next year, has been at the top of their rotation.
Recent Palisades standout Kyle McGrath and Michael Wallbillich, and New Hope-Solebury’s Nate Wiseman and Matt Jermyn have been prominent in the Plumstead rotation.
In addition, current Palisades pitcher Nathaniel Appiotti and Pirates 2021 grad Bela Pavlinsky also have figured in Plumstead’s staff. Mike Boyle, a 2021 CB West grad, is expected to see some time on the mound.
“Ermigiotti threw 70 pitches in a recent win over Nor-Gwyn, and has been throwing well so far,” said Ehlo. “He is on a travel team, and we don’t have him for every game.
“The rest of the guys give us a deep staff. We’re fortunate to have a number of guys who can help.”
Offensively, consistency seems to be Plumstead’s biggest issue, but the team has had its share of big hits.
“We haven’t had a number of bats like we have arms for each game,” added Ehlo. “But we have gotten our share of timely hits.”
Ehlo noted Ermigiotti, McGrath and Wiseman, along with Jon DeNato (Palisades), Kyle Campbell (New Hope-Solebury) and Chase Kimbel (Palisades), have been steady contributors with their bats.
The manager stated one of the team’s biggest issues has been close games.
“For the most part, our games have been tight,” said Ehlo. “We have lost too many one- or two-run games. We have been right there, but we haven’t been able to pull them out.”
This likely will be Ehlo’s last season at the helm, as he has guided the team for the past 13 seasons. Under Ehlo, Pumstead had missed the playoffs only one season, and they lost to Pottstown in the 2013 league championship game.
Ehlo, who is 67 and has been a fixture for a number of years on baseball and football fields with his coaching stints, thought he was going to retire after last season, but the players’ demeanors have convinced him to stay.
“I thought about retiring over the last few years,” said Ehlo. “I have had really responsible kids. This group has given me zero trouble. They all get along, and the kids are so relaxed and funny.
“It has been a joy, and it keeps me going.”