Conrad/Lilly continues GCBL dominance
Make it 11 out of 12 for Conrad Chiropractic/Lilly American Legion in the Greater City Baseball League championship playoffs.
The Lilly entry continued its domination of the GCBL with a 6-2 win over ProActive Sports on Thursday at Veterans Memorial Field, clinching the best-of-five series in four games.
“(Championships) started before I got here,” Lilly player-manager Lucas McCoy said when told his team has won the title 11 of the last 12 seasons.
“I didn’t know what we could get out of (pitcher Gregg) Bandzuh,” McCoy said. “I don’t know if he’s thrown seven innings all season, but he pounded the zone and did a good job.”
Bandzuh, who played at Portage High and Clarion University, said he usually gets to games late because of work, but the 6:30 playoff starts enabled him to get to the field on time, and he lobbied McCoy for the start Thursday.
It paid off.
“I’ve been pretty much a closer or late-inning guy,” Bandzuh said. “I bugged him for a start, he gave it to me, and it worked out.”
Bandzuh took a line drive off his foot during ProActive’s two-run third inning, but he was unhittable after that.
“It still hurts,” he said, laughing. “I was just gutting it out, and going as long as I could.”
Bandzuh was able to spot his fastball and change-up.
“It kept them off balance,” he said.
ProActive was limited to two runs in all three losses.
“We had four hits all in the same inning,” ProActive manager Tom Smith said. “Again, that’s the key to the game.
“They jumped on us early (Brent Davison’s homer), we had to play from behind,” he said, “and that doesn’t suit our game.”
Davison crushed his homer over the left-center fence, a drive of over 360 feet.
“Not too many teams have the luxury to have a guy who can hit the ball 370 feet,” McCoy said. “He can swing the bat. He’s a powerful guy.”
After Davison’s two-run shot gave Lilly the early lead, ProActive had a chance in the bottom of the first when Lilly shortstop Landon Sinclair committed two errors. However, Bandzuh escaped the trouble.
“They had us on the ropes,” McCoy said, “but he was able to get out of it.
“He battled the whole game,” McCoy continued. “Maybe it was that line drive.”
P.J. Holberg’s single plated Brock Porter in the second to make it 3-0 and the champs tacked on three more runs in the third with Davison contributing a RBI double and Porter a RBI single.
ProActive got its two runs in the third, but left the bases loaded and never threatened again. In fact, the losers didn’t get a hit the last four innings.
“They held us down,” Smith said. “They’re really deep with their pitching. You’ve got to be near-perfect if you want to beat them.
“We had a real good season, though,” Smith noted. “We finished 26-6 and five of the losses were to Lilly. We have nothing to be ashamed of.”
CONRAD CHIROPRACTIC/LILLY AMERICAN LEGION (6): Matish 2b 312, Gallaher 1b 311, Sinclair ss 300, Davison rf 423, McCoy 3b 311, Porter c 412, Olsavsky lf 201, Bandzuh p 000, Holberg dh 402, R. Ickes cf 200. Totals – 28-6-12.
PROACTIVE SPORTS (2): Ja. Klausman rf-1b-lf 401, Hargreaves 3b 310, Snyder cf 411, Saxman 1b-p-1b 301, Ballas ss-2b-p 300, Neff dh-1b 200, Plummer p 000, Farabaugh 2b 000, Pincherri c 301, Clancy lf 300, Jo. Klausman 2b 200, Gority ss 100. Totals – 28-2-4.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Conrad/Lilly213 000 0-6 12 2
ProActive Sports002 000 0-2 4 0
E-Sinclair 2. 2B-Davison. HR-Davison. RBI-Davison 3, Porter, Holberg, Ballos, Neff. Sac – Gallaher, Sinclair, McCoy, Olsavsky, Holberg. WP-Bandzuh. LP-Plummer. SO-Bandzuh 1, Plummer 0, Saxman 1, Ballas 1. BB-Bandzuh 1, Plummer 0, Saxman 1, Ballas 1. HBP – Neff (by Bandzuh).
Umpires – Brandon Hoover, Larry Stitt, Roger Oswald.