Crazy Finish to American Legion Game

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   On 7/16/07, Olney met Rhawnhurst in a first-round playoff game. Though Olney was the home team, the game was played at Rhawnhurst's field, at McArdle Rec Center. Olney won, 4-3. Go through the photos below to see what happened.
   The photos were graciously provided by Bill Achuff, who works as a free-lancer for the Northeast News Gleaner and is a constant at Northeast-area sporting events. Thank you, Bill!
    Also thanks to News Gleaner sports writer Stuart London, Olney player Edwin "Tito" Rohena (Frankford HS) and Father Judge player Jim DiLisio (not on either team) who helped to untangle what happened and/or provide ID help for the photos.
    Bill Achuff may be reached at bill@achuffphotography.com. He takes MANY pictures at the events he covers and is working on setting up a site where people could make purchases. We'll keep you informed on that matter.
    Go to the bottom of this page to see Stuart's story for the News Gleaner.  


Bottom of the seventh. Score tied, 3-3. Two outs. Olney's Jeffry Bru is on first base. The first
baseman for Rhawnhurst is Ryan Kreider. The pitcher is Brian Nolan. 

Edwin "Tito" Rohena smacks a liner to left-center.

LF Tom Carey attempts to make a diving catch as CF Kyle Mellon looks on. (Notice the white
spot between the two, about equal with Mellon's head, and above Carey's. We're guessing that
was a piece of trash lodged against the bottom of the fence in the background. Those two fences
form the border of the RF corner on the softball field beyond the baseball field.)

Carey slides to a stop and starts to show umpire he has made the catch. However, note that Mellon
is looking down at the ground where . . . there's a baseball. ("White spot" hasn't moved.)

Carey triumphantly holds up the ball. And Mellon reaches for the ball. Huh?

Mellon picks up the other ball (maybe a practice ball that just happened to be sitting on the field?,
or maybe Carey's is the "other ball"? ha ha) as Carey starts to realize something VERY goofy is
happening.

Mellon winds up to make relay throw. Carey reacts. (In this photo, we're guessing Mellon's
glove is covering the "white spot." Wow, this is like dissecting the Zapruder film -- smile.)

Rohena roars toward 3rd. (Bru has already scored.) Note the activity behind.

Rohena heads for home. (His run meant nothing. He said he was excited and unsure of exactly
how everything was going to play out, so he just kept rollin'.)

Rohena "scores" as plate ump gestures.

Happy Olney players rush toward Rohena.

Umps confer as Kreider, assumedly, points out the two-baseballs thing.

Nolan pleads for a rational decision.

And pleads some more . . .

Olney's contingent wants to take its win and go home.

That's Carey, No. 18, with HIS ball.

One last look at mound conference . . . Umps ruled that no catch was made and declared Olney
a 4-3 winner.

Controversial call ends Olney-Rhawnhurst playoff

 

By Stuart London

News Gleaner Sports

 

When it comes to baseball, Rhawnhurst discovered that two balls are definitely not better than one.

In a thriller of a game that ended on a controversial call, the Olney Redbirds defeated Rhawnhurst, 4-3, in a Philadelphia American Legion baseball first round game on Monday night at McArdle Recreation Center.

Olney, the third-place team during the regular season, now plays second-place Bustleton in a best-of-three semifinal beginning Wednesday. The winner will then take on the winner of the other semifinal between Ivy Ridge and the Senators for the championship and a spot in the regional playoffs.

Despite the name, Olney is almost entirely composed of players from Frankford High School. Most of Rhawnhurst’s players come from Father Judge.

The winning run came in the bottom of the seventh inning on a two-out double by Edwin “Tito” Rohena to score Jeffrey Bru, who had singled with two outs.

That, at least, is what officially occurred — but Rhawnhurst has a far different version of events.

Playing what manager Ed Evanitsky called “our best game of the year”, Rhawnhurst, which had finished sixth during the regular season, had been pulling off defensive gems all game.

Right before Bru singled, rightfielder Brian Whelan had gunned down Olney’s Esteban “Shortie” Meletiche trying to stretch a double into a triple on a perfect throw for the second out of the inning.

But Bru then got a hit and Rohena followed with a line drive into the left-center field gap.

Rhawnhurst leftfielder Tom Carey ran to his left and dove, and he then stood up triumphantly with the ball in his glove for what appeared to be the third out and it looked like the game was going to extra innings.

However, the umpires ruled the ball had hit the ground and Bru, who had kept running, scored the winning run.

Rhawnhurst’s coaches and players vociferously argued the call and the umpires walking away from the field heard an earful from the Rhawnhurst fans as well. The umpire who made the call simply told everyone as he walked off the field “I saw the ball on the ground”.

According to Evanitsky, near the spot where Carey made his diving catch there was an old ball from practice laying there that confused the situation.

“It was underneath (Carey) when he rolled over and the other outfielder picked it up, thinking he had dropped it, not knowing the left fielder had it in his glove,” said Evanitsky. “He had it the whole time.”

Although it was a very disappointing way to end the season, Evanitsky was proud  how his heavily-underdog team responded in a big game.

“That was our best game of the year,” he said “To play a game like that; we did a great job in the field against them. A couple more clutch hits and we’d be going to the next round.”

Rohena did not see the catch as he was running full out.

“I just ran, I kept hearing ‘run, run’ and cheering,” said Rohena, who will be a junior at Frankford in the fall. “I run everything out as hard as I can. My team needed it and I had to deliver.”

Rohena got the start for Olney. He went 5 1/3 innings before being replaced by Meletiche following a triple by Ryan Kreider and a double by Anthony Mirabella.

A single by Joe Ashdale tied the score at 3-3 but Meletiche then walked Kyle Mellon (who had two great assists in center field) to load the bases but Meletiche struck out the next two batters to keep the score tied.

“They wanted me to go as long as I could and then bring Shortie in,” Rohena said. “It was always planned he would come in.”

Rohena picked up the interest of a lot of scouts with a big performance for the Public League in the Carpenter Cup and playing with mostly guys going into college or those who just finished their freshman year of college has helped his development.

“Looking at them tells you what kind of talent you have to have (to succeed),” said Rohena. “You have to be dedicated and you always have to work hard to improve.”

Rohena is especially glad to be throwing to catcher Ramon Reyes, a former News Gleaner Player of the Year at Frankford, who played for Salem (N.J.) Community College in the spring.   

“It’s very comfortable,” Rohena said of working with Reyes. “Knowing I just have to throw the ball in there and he’ll call a good game, block everything and not too many people would try to run on him.”

Rhawnhurst: 010 002 0 = 3    7 0                  

Olney: 020 010 1 = 4 5 0      

WP- Shortie Meletiche. LP-Brian Nolan

3B: R-Kreider. 2b: R-Mirabella, O-Rohena, Meletiche.