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Braves Jr. Legion Eyeing Regional Tourney Appearance
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2021-06-23

            Upper Perk's Jr. Legion baseball team faced perhaps the best team in Pennsylvania last weekend, but couldn't quite measure up. Still, the team has a

Jack Schramm, Upper Perk's first baseman, leaps for a 

throw during the second inning of a 9-5 loss to the Boy-

ertown Bear-Cubs on Saturday.

legitimate chance to qualify for a regional tournament, according to manager Rick Rossiter.  "Overall, we're playing well in all aspects right now," he said.

            The Braves started strong, winning 12 of their first 13 games. However, a 9-5 loss to the Boyertown Bear-Cubs on Saturday, June 19 in the Berks County Youth League at Bonekemper Field was their second straight loss following an eight-game winning streak.

            The Bear-Cubs maximized 11 hits, took advantage of two Upper Perk errors and played flawless defense to build an early 6-0 advantage. Rossiter considers them arguably the top program in the state.  "You can't give away outs and runs against a team of that caliber," the manager said. "We needed to play better defense."

            Connor Moyer and Ty Schultz each finished with three hits for Boyertown. Moyer drove in three runs, including a two-run single in the sixth inning. Schultz, the winning pitcher, allowed two runs over five innings.

            The Bear-Cubs took control of the game with four runs in the second inning off Upper Perk starting pitcher Aidan Keyser. They loaded the bases with no outs and delivered three run-scoring hits. An infield throwing error allowed the final run of the frame.

            Zane Saeger finished with two hits for the Braves (13-3). Isaac Bugman delivered a two-run single in the bottom of the seventh inning. They sent 10 hitters to the plate, and brought the go-ahead run to the plate in their final at-bat.  "The seventh inning shows that that team won't quit," Rossiter said.

            On Friday, the Braves lost 5-4 to Daniel Boone on a steal of home in the bottom of the eighth inning. Zach Mayza's RBI-double in the seventh inning snapped a 3-3 tie.

            Despite the consecutive losses, the Braves remain in first place atop the East Division. The manager said his team's next goal is to excel in the league playoffs. According to Rossiter, Upper Perk will likely need to finish in the top four to qualify for regionals since Boyertown and Lower Macungie will host two of those tournaments.

            The Braves shook off their first losing streak of the season with a 9-2 victory over Muhlenberg on Sunday, June 20. Gavin Weiss earned the victory on the mound, permitting two runs on just three hits while striking out eight in five innings. Bugman, who finished 3-for-4 at the plate, delivered an RBI hit during the flurry.

            On Wednesday, June 16, the Braves rolled to a 10-0, five inning victory over Post 625. Jack Schramm allowed only one hit and struck out six to earn the victory. Bugman, Kyle Mazzie and Tommy Saeger each registered multiple hits.

            The following day, Jack Schramm and Hunter Henry led them to an 8-0 win. Rieg went the distance on the mound, allowing three hits and posting nine strikeouts. Henry delivered four of their 13 hits.

            Rossiter described pitching as the team's main strength. He said all but three players can be utilized on the mound. The manager identified Keyser, Rieg and Weiss as the top three hurlers.

            The Braves are led by a large group of 16-year-olds, including Bugman, Drew Graf, Mayza, Henry, Rieg, Weiss and Keyser. According to Rossiter, no players have left the team to play travel baseball.  "They all want to be here," the manager said. "They all want to play for Upper Perk."


 

 

 

 

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