WILCOX – The Fox Township American Legion baseball team forced a championship game with Wilcox in the Elk County American Legion Baseball League after a 5-2 victory Monday night at Jones Township Community Park.
The deciding game for the league title and a berth in the Region 8 tournament will be at 5:30 p.m. tonight and will again be at Jones Township Community Park.
Fox Township has now come all the way back from losing its first playoff game to Smethport to play for the league title and a berth in the Region 8 tournament this weekend at Berwind Park in St. Marys. It was Wilcox's first loss of the season.
Fox Township opened the scoring in the second inning. Brian Merritt started things off with a 1-out walk and scored on a long double to deep left field off the bat of Brandon Vollmer. Vollmer moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Lucas Lovenduski which put Fox Township ahead 2-0.
Fox Township added another 2-run inning in the third to double the lead. Luke Schreiber led off the inning with a walk and Justin Quiggle singled past third base. Justin Beimel walked which loaded the bases and prompted a pitching change as Cole Peterson went from shortstop to the mound. Branden Tyger smoked a single which scored Schreiber and Quiggle and gave Fox Township a 4-0 lead.
In the fifth, Merritt walked and then stole second with one out. Vollmer hit a sharp single which would score Merritt and push Fox Township to a 5-0 advantage.
While Fox Township's offense was able to gain some headway on Wilcox pitching, Fox Township starting pitcher Brandon Schlimm had a strong effort in the victory. Schlimm threw a complete game as he allowed two runs on four hits. He walked two and struck out six.
Schlimm worked out of a jam in the second inning as Wilcox left two runners on. Ben MacDonald singled with one out past third base. After a popout to Schlimm, Quinn Luhr walked to put runners on first and second. Schlimm was able to get a groundout to second to end the inning. That was a common occurrence throughout the game as Wilcox grounded out to second nine times in the game, including three times in a row in a 1-2-3 third inning.
Wilcox cut into the margin in the sixth inning. Joe Holmberg singled for his second hit of the game with two outs in the inning and Josh Mitchell then launched a home run to left field to trim the lead to three at 5-2. Holmberg finished with two of Wilcox's four hits. Mitchell and MacDonald were the other Wilcox players to record hits.
Wilcox threatened a 2-out rally in the seventh inning. Frank Kocjancic drew a walk and Cole Peterson reached on a Fox Township error to bring the tying run to the plate. But Schlimm was able to get a swinging strikeout to end the game.
Alexx Tyger was 2 for 4 with a double from the leadoff spot for Fox Township. Vollmer also had a pair of hits for Monday's winners as he was 2 for 3 with a double, two RBI and a run scored.