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Top-seeded Eden falls to McKeever, drops into loser’s bracket

Top-seeded Eden Post 880 is not familiar with walking off the diamond after a loss. Eden had only lost twice in 18 games played during the regular season after falling three times, last summer.

However, the Eden-based team had to endure that walk after falling to McKeever Post 6 – 4 on July 22 in the second round of the playoffs.

McKeever did not hold the lead in the game until the seventh inning. For six innings, it was a pitcher’s duel between McKeever’s Zack Glowacki and Eden’s Kyle Crotty.

Heading into the seventh, Crotty had only allowed three hits the entire ball game and needed threeouts to get the win for Eden Post.

Crotty got the first batter in the inning to ground out but the tide quickly turned for Crotty and Eden as McKeever loaded the bases with one-out in the top of seventh as a result of two bloop singles and a walk. Crotty walked in a run that forced Eden Head Coach Gordy Karstedt to make a pitching change and give the ball to Nick Iskra of Silver Creek.

McKeevers’ Quinn Danahy had the big hit in the inning; a two-run single that just got passed the outstretched glove of Kyle Sherman. Dan Dallas, a Springville native and a product of Canisius High School, added another run for McKeever on a sacrifice to extend the lead to 6 – 3. Bubba Boutelle tracked down a fly ball in center field that ended the seventh for Eden, but the damage had already been done. “One hard hit ball and they score four runs,” Kartstedt lamented. “That’s baseball.”

Eden put its rally caps on in the bottom of the seventh, looking for another comeback, which has not been an uncommon theme for the team the past two summers. Eden was down to its last out, but Iskra kept hope alive with a single up the middle.

Tyler Conklin then drew a walk and Brad Palmerton single-plated Iskra from second base, to make the score 6 – 4. With Palmerton the tying run on first base, Sherman popped out to McKeever’s shortstop, to end the game.

“This group of guys here all year have been resilient, “said McKeever Coach Matt Glowacki about his team. “They’re never giving up; whether it was regular season game, our tournament down in Cincinnati (where the team finished as runner-up), anywhere. We’ve comeback in a lot of games; I’d rather it not be like that but we just keep fighting and that’s all you can ask for.”

After falling behind 2-0 early on, McKeever scored two runs in the third to even up the score. The game remained deadlocked at 2-2 until the sixth when Dan Karstedt doubled home Dave Baskerville to give Eden the brief 3-2 advantage. Eden stranded 10 runners on base during the loss.

“We stranded way too many runners,” Karstedt noted. “I mentioned it to the umpire I think after the third inning — I said, ‘We’re leaving way too many runners on, this is going to come back to haunt us’ and that certainly did.”

Eden had the table set with the bases loaded and Karstedt, their clean-up hitter at the dish, but Zack Glowacki got him to pop-up to shortstop to get out of the jam. Glowacki pitched a complete game to get the win on the mound for McKeever.

“He was spotting his fastball,” Glowacki said, about his younger brother, Zack. “Normally he can throw his changeup and his curveball for strikes, but not every game is he going to be able to throw all three or four of his pitches so you have to make it work. He worked out there for sure, it didn’t come easy. He got the big outs when we needed him to.”

On Eden’s side, Crotty only allowed one earned run through six innings but gave up a few keys hits in the seventh. “Kyle pitched excellent,” Kartstedt said, about his right-hander. “He really fought hard and did a nice job. I’m really proud of him.”

At the plate, Palmerton led Eden, going three for five, while Baskerville added two hits. Eden was slated to give the ball to Drew Scharra the following day, against Orchard Park, in attempting to avoid being ousted from the double-elimination tournament.

The winner of that game will have to beat McKeever twice, on July 24 – 25, to advance to the best-of-three final.

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