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Coplay defeats Allentown

Coplay’s Senior Legion game against Allentown last week had them seeing red.

Allentown starting pitcher Jahtee Bennett wears a bright red glove, positioning it directly in front of his face as he begins his delivery. He and his crimson mitt held Coplay scoreless until the top of the third when they plated three runs to take a 3-1 lead.

They added another run in the fourth, but Allentown put up their own crooked number, scoring four runs in then bottom of the fifth to take the 5-4 lead. That lead held until the top of the seventh as Coplay erupted for five runs to take a 9-4 advantage into the final frame.

However, Allentown stormed back, scoring two runs to trim the lead to two runs, but Jake Lisicky, who started the game, got a called third strike to end the game.

“It was a good game for us,” said first-year manager Ed Foster. “We battled back and forth, and we prevailed by two runs.”

Coplay got two hits and three RBIs from Jake Lisicky, while Andrew Torres delivered a hit and two RBIs in the win. Zachary Bilder also had a good offensive game, collecting a double and two walks, and scoring two runs.

With the Legion baseball season rounding third and heading home, Coplay finds itself trying to climb back to .500 in the Lehigh Valley Senior Legion Baseball League.

They’re currently 4-6-1, splitting four games last week, with wins over Allentown and Salisbury, while dropping games to Lower Macungie and Northern Valley.

That puts them in fifth place among the seven teams in the LVSLBL. South Parkland currently sits atop the league with a 10-0 mark.

This year’s Coplay team features: Andrew Martinez, Jacob Lisicky, Jason Schneck, Ayden Dunbar, Connor Paashaus, Jacob Paashaus, Luke Gilbert, Joe Lisicky, Zachary Bilder, Mason Schlofer, Austin Miller, Connor Foster, Devon Olsovsky, Conner Nejad, Cole Schiffer, Antonio Capille and Andrew Torres.

Dunbar is among the league leaders in batting average and slugging percentage. He’s fourth in the league in hitting at .417, and fourth in slugging at .500.

Jacob Paashaus also appears among the league leaders in a pitching stat, tossing first-pitch strikes a little over 71-percent of the time. That ranks second among LVSLBL pitchers.

Foster said that their talent isn’t really indicative of their record. As with most summers, players are pulled in lots of directions and maintaining a full roster is a challenge. He said that was the case in Sunday’s game against Northern Valley which they lost 7-0.

He said that they’re a winning team when all their players are available. It took him some time to adjust to his players strengths and weaknesses, but after four games he feels he knows their abilities. He said once all 17 players come together, it’s a tough team to beat.

“We have a real good team, we’re firing, we’re hitting the ball,” said Foster.

He’s also impressed with the level of competition and talent in the league, noting that it features the best of the best, and

Foster is a fierce advocate of baseball and would like to see a see change in how the coaches approach players’ commitment to the sport. He’s observed that football and basketball coaches demand that their student-athletes attend summer league games or practices, and he would like baseball to follow suit. Baseball shouldn’t take a back seat to those other sports and is hopeful that baseball will assert itself once again.

“One of my longterm goals is to have baseball first and other sports second so you’re not neutralized by another sport,” he said.

He believes it will benefit baseball in the long term.

For him it’s “baseball pride.”

Press photo by Linda RothrockFormer Catty player Zach Bilder and the Coplay Legion team are looking to get back to .500.