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Surging Pemberville Methodist cuts lead at mid-point

Pemberville Methodist extended its winning streak to eight games thanks to its second sweep in as many weeks in Wood County Dartball League competition. 

PM, winners of eight consecutive contests and 11 of 12 affairs dating back to mid-November, now stands just one game back of league leader Bethlehem No. 1 at the half way mark of the season.

Todd Kurfess of Bowling Green St. Mark’s leads the league in batting average (75-for-138, .543), while Pemberville Methodist’s Daniel Binion and Darren Pash are tied for the lead in hits (87) at the midway point.

Rick Welson (Zion Lutheran) has the lead in doubles (45) and total bases (129), Ken Rahe of Bethlehem No. 1 leads in triples (23), Ron Curtice of Pemberville Presbyterian and Rick Traver of BG Cloverdale are tied for most home runs (14), Jody Yowler of BG Nazerene leads in runs scored (35), and Yowler’s teammate, Mike Barbour, leads in slugging percentage at .893

In the last week before break, PM took all three encounters at home from Bethlehem No. 2 by the scores of 7-6, 7-4, and 8-1.  Bethlehem No. 1 won twice at Salem-Grace United, but saw its league lead cut in half by virtue of PM’s sweep.  After 11 weeks of play, Bethlehem No. 1 owns a 22-11 record, while PM stands at 21-12.  Zion Luckey, winners of two games at BG St. Mark’s holds down third at 20-13.

Only two other clubs, Bethlehem No. 2 and Pemberville Presbyterian, have winning records.  PP dropped all three of its games at New Rochester to fall into tie for fourth with Bethlehem No. 2.

In other games around the WCDL, Stony Ridge registered the other sweep of the week, turning the trick at home against BG Nazarene, while BG Trinity United Methodist took two games on the road at BG Cloverdale.

At PM, the hosts batted a mere .479 as a team and pounded out 69 hits, including 63 singles.  Every player in the PM lineup had at least six hits on the night.  Rick Ward and Darren Pash paced the winners with both going 9-for-16 at the line.  Pash scored five runs, stroked one triple, and drove home two runs.  He went a perfect 5-for-5 in the third game with a two-run three bagger.  Ward had one RBI over the series.

Chris Soals (15 AB), manager Paul Spicer (16 AB), Tom Jividen (16 AB, 2-2B), and Daniel Binion (17 AB, 2-2B) each collected eight hits on the night, while Jim A. Jividen (16 AB) had seven.  Tom Jividen and Bob Jividen (3B) led PM with four RBIs apiece.  J.A. Jividen was close behind with three, while Soals, Spicer, and Binion each chipped in two.

Bob Jividen and Steve Spahn were the “slackers” of the group with 6-for-16 nights.  Bob Jividen’s two-out, two-run triple in the sixth inning of the opener erased a 6-5 Bethlehem No. 2 advantage and stood up as the final margin of victory.

Bethlehem No. 2 manager Mike O’Brien was his squad’s top hitter going 6-for-15 with a double and two RBIs.  Ken Gerwin (3-2B, 2 RBI), Roger Kahlenberg (2-2B, HR, 4 RBI), Ken Finley (RBI), and Travis Ford (2B, RBI) all contributed five hits.  Ford (9 AB) spread his hits over two full games played and a pinch appearance (single) late in the finale.

NR broke a five-game losing skid with its sweep of PP.  Jim Dobson sparked the home standers with a 7-for-12 night.  Among his hits were a double and a home run.  He finished with two RBIs.  Not to be outdone, Gary Chamberlain drove in a series and league-high seven runs on four triples and a HR.  He went 5-for-12 over the series and amassed 16 total bases.  Chamberlain’s triple total was also best in the WCDL for the week.

Manager Steve Bockbrader was 6-for-12 on the evening with three doubles and three RBIs.  Dave Snyder drove home four runners thanks to a pair of HRs, including a three-run center finder in the last game.  Lyle Schroeder (2B, HR) added two RBIs.

PP, which edged NR in the hit category, 33-32, was led by Tom Swartz who went 7-for-14.  Manager Jim Jones (6-14, 3B, RBI), John Troutt (5-12, 2-HR, 3 RBI), Jake Bussler (2B, 2-HR, 2 RBI), and Dr. Tom Bowlus (four hits including two doubles) assisted the cause.

SR hit a healthy .395 in its series against the Nazarenes and scored a league-best 24 runs for the week.  John Schulte turned in a stellar 10-for-14 night at the tape with five runs scored, a double, and a RBI.  His .714 batting mark (and total hits) were tops in the circuit for Week #11.

Mark Swihart went 5-for-10 in his two games played.  He had four doubles (all in the third game) and knocked home two teammates.  Ed Boelkens had his team’s second-highest hit total for the night with seven in 15 at bats.  He doubled twice and had two RBIs.

Also collecting five hits each were manager Earl Hagg (2-3B, 3 RBI), Fred Swihart (HR, 3 RBI), and Jerry Sandwisch (2-2B, 2-3B, 5 RBI).  Fred Swihart’s solo bomb to start the last of the ninth inning of the opener won it in walk-off fashion for SR after Chris Brunner had tied it in the eighth with a solo HR of his own for the Nazarenes.

Tom Smiczek (2B, HR) and Steve Kurfess (3-HR) also drove in three runs each on the night.  Kurfess hit a solo HR in each game.

Brendan Yowler and manager Mike Barbour were BGN’s leaders with both going 5-for-12.  Yowler had two doubles, while Barbour hit four two sackers en route to a pair of RBIs.  Lish McIntosh paced the team with five RBIs on his team’s next best hit total of four, including a double and two HRs.

Well over half of Trinity’s 36 hits on the night at BGC were for extra bases (23), including 17 doubles.  Trinity effectively spread its hit production around with manager Andy Janes leading the way with six in 14 attempts.  He had three doubles and drove in two runs.

Ivan Carter stepped up with a 5-for-12 series as did Gary Manning.  Carter also had three two baggers and added a HR.  He had two RBIs, three back of Manning’s team-leading five.  Manning hit a pair of doubles and center shots on the night.

Mike Farr (3-2B) was next in line with three RBIs.  In all, every player in the Trinity lineup had a least one RBI over the series, including Joyce Stearns (3B, HR), Brad Kratzer (3-2B), and Dana Kratzer (2-2B) who each had two.

Jerry Charles led BGC with his 7-for-13 night.  He nailed three doubles and a HR, and finished with one RBI.  Four others had the next highest hit count with three, including manager Rick Traver (2-2B, HR) who had a team-best three RBIs.  Paul Wachter and Seth Peters drove home two runs each.

Five BGC players had at least two doubles and a HR on the evening.  Of BGC’s 22 hits, 19 were for extra bases, including six long balls all by different players.

Bethlehem No. 1 came up shy in its bid for three wins against SGU despite more than doubling the visitors hit total (42-20) en route to a .350 average.  Bethlehem No. 1 was the victim of the HR dart in the finale which saw Salem belt five of its eight on the night.

Mel Karns and Bob Kreienkamp both turned in 7-for-13 performances for the hosts.  Karns had two RBIs over the three games, while Kreienkamp had a team-high five.  Kreienkamp doubled once, triple twice, and added a HR for good measure.  He was a perfect 5-for-5 in the middle game with four RBIs and completed the cycle with a double in the ninth.

Mark Clark (6-13, 2B, 2 RBI), Mark Melcher (6-15, 3B, RBI), and Dave Apgar (5 H, RBI) were Bethlehem No. 1’s next best hit personnel.  Ken Rahe, the league’s top triple hitter, added three more to his season total (23) and finished the series with four RBIs.  Jim Fields (3B) drove in two runs in his two games played.

Manager Gene Fairbanks was the hitting star for Salem.  He went 7-for-13 with two doubles and four center finders en route to 21 total bases and a 1.615 slugging percentage, both of which were WCDL highs for the week as was his HR production.  Fairbanks hit two homers in the finale, a game SGU led from start to finish.

Don Young (4-13, 2-2B, 2-HR, 2 RBI) was the only other player in the SGU lineup with more than two hits.

At BGSM, the hosts came from behind to win the opener in dramatic ninth-inning fashion, but saw Zion take the final two contests, including the finale in 10 innings.  ZL held a 37-30 advantage in the hit department due to its 18 doubles over the series.

Manager Rick Nelson had six of those two sackers as did Brian Burrell to lead the loop.  Nelson also added a triple and finished the series at 8-for-13.  His seven RBIs was a series high and shared the league lead for the week along with NR’s Chamberlain.  Burrell continued his hot had going 8-for-14.

Jim Hansen (2-2B, RBI) was 4-for-9 in his two games played.  Dan Meyer had five RBIs on the night and drilled three long balls (and a double), including a clutch two-run bomb with one out in the ninth inning of game three that forced extra frames.

It was Nelson’s sixth double of the series in the 10th that proved to be the game winning hit.  Zion had trailed 4-0 entering the eighth after BGSM’s Keith Miller lined in a three-run HR with two down in the seventh.

Erick Linhart (2-2B) also had three RBIs on the night for Zion.

Todd Kurfess was BGSM’s top hitter going 7-for-14 with a RBI.  Mickey Gore went 4-for-10 (2B, 2-3B, 2 RBI) in two-plus games of action.  He had a pinch-hit double in the ninth inning of the finale.  Jerry Bruns and Mark Kunstmann (3B) added five hits each with Kunstmann driving in three runs along with his father, John (2B, 3B), and Miller.

Down to its last strike in the opener, it was John Kunstmann’s two-run triple that tied the game.  Mark Kunstmann promptly ended it with a single on the next dart.

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