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Sports Article
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Schramm Preserves Braves Youth League Title
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
Upper Perk's Youth Legion League team enjoys its Berks County Area League Championship


            Upper Perk's Youth Legion team overcame some early anxiety in an elimination game last week, and Jack Schramm made sure his team could celebrate a Berks Area Youth League title.

            Schramm's eight-out save preserved a 5-1 victory over West Lawn on Thursday, July 14. His near flawless outing allowed the team to celebrate its first Berks League crown and qualify for the Avon Grove Regional Tournament, which begins Friday.

            The Braves (24-6-1) – who are guaranteed at least three games – will take on Taney (at 2 p.m. Friday), Myerstown (at 2 p.m. Saturday) and Swoyersville (at 9 a.m. Sunday) in pool play. The semifinals and finals are scheduled for Monday. The top two finishers advance to the state tournament in Homer City.

            Against the Owls in the league title game, Schramm allowed only one hit and one walk over the final 2 2/3 innings. Most importantly, he stranded a runner at third base after relieving Cole Pierce in the top of the fifth inning to preserve a 2-1 lead. A leaping grab by shortstop Evan Sands ended the threat.

            "I had confidence in Jack," Manager Rick Rossiter said. "He's been in some tough spots before. Our defense can really make you feel confident."

            Upper Perk – which last celebrated a league title in 2013, when it won the Twin County championship – extended its lead in the bottom of the fifth inning. Brayden Adam's RBI bloop single triggered a three-run rally. Rossiter admitted that the outburst allowed the team to relax.

            When West Lawn sent up two pinch hitters in the seventh inning, the manager said he knew his team's return trip to the state regionals was nearly secured. Rossiter said he didn't expect the Owls, who rallied for four runs in the seventh inning to defeat Shillington and advance to the title game the day before, to mount another comeback.

            Following the final out, the players formed a dogpile on the Bonekemper Field pitching mound. The manager described the moment as one they would never forget.

            According to Rossiter, his players were feeling the pressure of competing for a league title. The manager said they noticed they would be performing before their largest crowd of the season.  "The guys were a little scared," Rossiter said.

            Still, the Braves took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Pierce drove home Owen Williams from third base with a line single to center.

            West Lawn forced a 1-1 tie in the third inning. The team delivered two hits in the inning off Pierce.

            Upper Perk regained its lead in the fourth inning. Kyle Mazzie, who reached on an error leading off, stole second and was sacrificed to third. He scored on Brandon Godshall's bunt single.

            The Owls threatened in the top of the fifth inning against Pierce. Austin Snyder's triple to left field with one out forced Rossiter to make a pitching change.

            The manager toyed with the idea of relieving Pierce in the two previous innings. Rossiter said he came close to making a move in the fourth inning after the pitcher allowed a hit and walk. Pierce also stranded two runners in the third inning.

            Schramm, the Braves' ace, retired the next two hitters he faced. He struck out Chase Ulrich looking before Sands robbed Ben Kulp on a line drive up the middle.

            The Braves responded in the bottom of the inning by scoring three runs, one of which was earned. Adam's hit with the bases loaded extended the lead to 3-1. Courtesy runner Benjamin Godshall scored from third on a wild pitch. Mazzie's sacrifice bunt drove in the final run.

            The manager credited the contributions of his coaches, Bobby Saeger, Kevin Kramer, Evan Wickard, Ryan Rossiter, Aric Kressly and Conor Martin. Rick Rossiter wrote in a text message that they all have played a significant role in the team's success.






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