Bux-Mont (PA) MSBL, 45+ Mid-Atlantic Division
Harleysville Angels 3, Franklin Red Sox 1 (Final game of series sweep)
‘Angels Finish off ‘Three-Peat’ in Bux-Mont (PA) 45+ MSBL with 6-0 Playoff Run’
Submitted by Karl Janetka, Angels pitcher
Guided year-long by the wisdom and experience of Co-Managers John O’Donnell and Joe Cattie, the Harleysville Angels capped off a perfect 17-0 season with a 6-0 run through three rounds of playoffs in the Bux-Mont (PA) MSBL 45+ Mid-Atlantic Division, capturing the title with a hard-fought doubleheader sweep of the Franklin Red Sox, 3-1 and 3-1 on a cool, sun splashed October day at Harleysville’s Vic Alderfer Field.
Offense was hard to come by in both games as both pitching and defense dominated. Ernie DeLany took the ball in Game one and set the tone early by shutting down a potent Franklin offense, throwing a complete game while scattering five hits and striking out four. The Angels got all the runs they would need in the first inning when Jim Whitlinger worked yet another leadoff walk, Scotty Malack reached on a fielder’s choice, and then both scored when Jeff Shieh contributed the game’s big blow – a clutch 2-out, 2-run single which gave the Angels a lead they would not relinquish. A Mike Groller double combined with an Ed Valentine SAC Fly tacked on an important insurance run in the fifth.
Game two turned out to be almost a carbon copy of Game one, with the Angels plating all three of their runs in both the first and second innings, paced by some timely hitting by Playoff MVP Valentine, Malack and Gary Turner, all of whom contributed clutch RBI hits. Catcher Cattie snuffed out a potential Franklin rally by cutting down a key base stealer with a laser to second base in the fifth inning. I was the winning pitcher and certainly appreciated the strong defense and the early lead provided by our offense. I fortunately made it hold up by matching DeLany’s Game one complete game effort. My record improved to 6-0 on the season by striking out five and taking a 1-hitter into the seventh before allowing Franklin’s only run. I was able to finish with a 3-hitter.
Both Cattie and Dan Coughlin were outstanding behind the plate all day and in fact all season, and the always rock-solid defense led by Malack, Whitlinger, James DeSpain, Pat Lynch, Dave Heinemann and Bob Wehr on the infield, and Valentine, Shieh, Turner, Dana Luscombe and Tavio Hunsicker in the outfield allowed DeLany and I to pitch to contact and keep pitch counts low for both games of the doubleheader.
Valentine, Lynch, Turner, DeLany, Groller, Malack and Whitlinger consistently led the Angels’ powerful offense all season, all while the pitching staff made up of DeLany, Wehr, Groller, Whitlinger and myself shut down opposing offenses all season, contributing to an overall team ERA of 2.77.
Having already won titles in both 2018 and 2019, the Angels’ won their third consecutive BuxMont 45+ Mid-Atlantic Division Championship and in doing so, became the league’s first undefeated champion since 1997. The Angels also boast a three-year aggregate division record (including playoffs) of 48-4, which includes overall winning streaks of both 19 and 15 games and a current regular season division winning streak of 29 games. The Angels have not lost a regular season division game since Father’s Day 2018.