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Blazers Eliminated From ACBL Playoffs
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2019-08-07

            Nolan Graber started Quakertown's ACBL playoff opener without a feel for either of his off speed pitches. Trenton took advantage, scoring three runs in the first inning. The host Generals added a run in the bottom of the sixth inning to post a 4-3 semifinal round victory on Friday, Aug. 2.

            Cory Joyce and Andrew Fisher each delivered run-scoring singles in the top of the seventh inning to get the Blazers within one run. But Joe Preciado retired them in order in the eighth and ninth innings to record a three-inning save and deny their bid to repeat as league champions.

            "The fact that we made the playoff, considering the way we struggled with injuries, was pretty impressive," said Graber, an Upper Hanover resident.

            Colin Hartey finished with two hits for Quakertown, which ended the season on an eight-game losing streak. Joyce added two hits.

            Graber, an Upper Perkiomen High School graduate, absorbed the loss. He went six innings, permitting four runs (two earned) on five hits while striking out two and issung three walks.

            Most of his trouble came in the first inning, when he could only throw his fastball for a strike. Graber came out of the bullpen unable to control his changeup and his curve.

            "I didn't know where either of them were going," said the pitcher, who finished the season with a 4-3 record and a 4.41 earned run average in nine starts.

            An infield error with one out triggered Trenton's rally. The team followed with three straight hits and a double steal, and took advantage of an outfield error to go ahead 3-0.

            According to Ray, the Generals sensed Graber's wildness and swung at fastballs early in counts. He said the pitcher continued to throw both his off speed pitches during the inning.

            "Nolan wasn't going to abandon them," Ray said. "That tells you the kind of competitor he is. When you only throw your fastball is when things get a whole lot worse. He was eventually able to navigate his way through it."

            In the second inning Graber, who will be starting his junior season at Ursinus College in the spring, found the command on both secondary pitches. He tossed four consecutive shutout innings, allowing just two hits.

            Trenton added its fourth run in the sixth inning. Chris DeClerico, who was hit by a pitch with one out, scored on a wild pitch.

            "I was getting tired," said Graber, who posted 33 strikeouts and allowed 52 hits in 51 innings for the Blazers. "I lost control of my pitches."

            According to Ray, the second year player emerged as a leader among the pitching staff. The coach said Graber discussed the craft with the less experienced members on the bench, and led by example.

            "Nolan was a joy to coach," Ray said. "I would love to have him back next year."

            Grant Templeton, a catcher from East Greenville, played in 23 games. The player, who will become a sophomore at Montgomery County Community College this month, .163 (8-for-49) with one double and drove in six runs.


 

 

 

 

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