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Sports Article
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Blazers Rally to Reach ACBL Playoffs
Written by Bradley Schlegel Staff Writer

Quakertown's Joe Sheeran scores from third base on a wild pitch in the first inning of the second game of a doubleheader against Allentown on Friday, July 29. The game was the Blazer's final regular-season home game.

                The Quakertown Blazers needed to win four of their final regular season games to qualify for the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League playoffs. They clinched a post-season berth with a 6-1 victory over Allentown in the second game of a doubleheader on Friday, July 29.

                "Luckily, our guys showed up and pushed their way into the playoffs," Manager Dewey Oriente said.

                Quakertown scored five runs on four hits in the bottom of the first inning. Dan Morrin, a junior from Moravian, earned the mound victory by allowing one run on four hits in four innings.

                However, the Blazers were quickly swept out of the best-of-three series with a pair of road losses against the Allentown Railers on Tuesday.

                In the first game, they lost 7-6 in 12 innings. Mike Gulino's single in the bottom of the 12th, off Quakertown reliever Robbie Welhalf, snapped a 6-6 tie. Allentown strung together three hits off Welhalf in its final at-bat.

                Anthony Rinaldi finished with three hits and scored twice. Bob Barnett and Justin Jacko each registered two hits for the Blazers, who rallied for four runs in the top of the ninth inning to go ahead 6-5. Rinaldi delivered a two-run double during the inning. Jacko's single capped the rally and staked them to a lead.

                But the Railers rallied for a run off Welhalf in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings.

                In the nightcap, Allentown parlayed a seven-run outburst in the top of the first inning into a 14-5 victory.

                Guilino delivered a two-run double and Sam Flamini added an RBI-double off Quakertown starter Michael Hunter to highlight the inning.  Rinaldi led the Blazers with two hits. Jacko drove in two runs.

                Jacko also drove in both of Quakertown's runs in the bottom of the third inning with a double.

                Angel Lopez, a graduate of Perkiomen School, emerged as the team's primary catcher. Oriente described him as one of the top two defensive catchers in  the league.

            Lopez gets "a lot of pitches called strikes that would otherwise be balls," the manager said. He does a great job controlling the opposition's running game with his great throwing arm.

                After a slow start, Lopez's offense picked up down the stretch, according to Oriente. He finished the season hitting .261 (24-for-89) with three doubles and 12 RBIs.

                Chris Kachmar, an Upper Perkiomen graduate, threw just one inning for the Blazers. Oriente said the pitcher was plagued by soreness in his right arm due to the unusually large workload he logged during his freshman season at Farleigh-Dickinson University.

                "Chris has been trying to throw a few bullpens during our season," the manager said. "But he has not been able to get back to the point where we can use him in a game."

                The Blazers played the entire season without Jimmy Herron, a Lower Salford resident who excelled this spring as a freshman for Duke University.

                Herron opted to play in the Cape Cod League, a prestigious summer wooden bat league based in Massachusetts, according to Oriente.

                "It was a bit of a surprise," the manager said.






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