Tulpehocken ends the season with district loss to Brandywine Heights

When a baseball team scores 10 runs in a game, that’s usually enough to secure a win. But in the case of the Tulpehocken High School baseball team, 10 was not enough in their opening round District 3-AA playoff game against Brandywine Heights on May 18. The two teams battled it out in a good old fashioned slugfest, but it was Brandywine Heights that came out on top, 11-10, eliminating the Trojans from the playoffs and ending their season.

“We hit the ball very well and had an excellent offensive game against Brandywine Heights,’ said Tulpehocken head baseball coach David Voigt. “A couple key defensive miscues and too many walks led to our loss, in what was an extremely hard fought and entertaining district game.

“I thought our overall season was a success. We lost six starting seniors and we ended up going 5-5 in the league and 9-12 overall, and making AA districts.’

The winning run was scored in the bottom of the seventh inning when Brody Lesher walked with the bases loaded to end the game.

With the game tied at 2-2, Tulpehocken exploded with five runs in the top of the third to take a 7-2 lead. Brandywine came right back with four runs in the bottom of the inning. The Trojans scored two more in the top of the fourth, but could not shake off the Bullets who scored two runs of their on to get back to within one again. Tulpehocken scored one more in the top of the fifth, but the Bullets tied the game with two in the bottom of the inning, setting up the last inning heroics.

Matt Kerber led the Tulpehocken offense with three hits and two RBIs in the game. Tom Ulrich added two hits and two RBIs.

Obviously the Trojans wanted to go further in the district playoffs, but considering what the team lost from last year’s squad, it was still a good season. Some of the highlights included a combined no-hitter for Kevin Berry and Matt Kerber in a 7-1 win over Kuttown, Matt Martin’s five-hit performance in a 3-1 Tulpy victory over division winning Oley Valley, and a great pitching performance fro Ben Wanner in a 5-1 win over Berks Catholic. Coach Voigt also pointed to a 9-2 victory over rival Annville-Cleona on senior night at Tulpehocken.

Martin was named to the All-Division team after going 3-3 with an impressive 1.45 ERA with 56 strikeouts in 43 innings. Berry was also named to the All-Division team at shortstop after hitting .406. Matt Kerber his .286 with 19 stolen bases on 19 attempts, and was named to the Berks all-star team in a game against the PAC-10 all-stars.

Jake Carles, a freshman, hits .397 at the lead-off spot, while second baseman Vince Gradwell sported a .382 batting average.

Next season should be an even better one for the Trojans They return pitchers Ben Wanner and Kyle Snyder, along with Carles, Berry, Gradwell, catcher Matt Eshbach, and IF-OF Devin Emerich and Josh Kiebach, who all who saw a ton of varsity playing time this spring.

The bad news is that ace pitcher Martin will be lost to graduation. He will be tough to replace, but the Trojans will be an experienced and talented team in 2016.

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