,TREVOSE -- Game 13 in American Legion baseball's postseason format has been called a lot of things.

Corbin Stoltzfus chose not to add to that list Tuesday night, moments after his NorChester ball club dropped a 17-12 decision to host Lower Southampton in the Pennsylvania Region 3 Tournament.

The Bulldogs, who breezed through their first three games here and were already guaranteed a spot in today's final, nonetheless appeared to be a little flat in the early going against the Marlins. They gave up eight runs in the first inning and three more in the fourth, and despite repeated comebacks -- and an offense that would produce 18 hits by night's end -- the Marlins put it away for good by scoring six times in the seventh inning.

"This game's been called many things all right, but I'm not going to say it's the throwaway game," said Stoltzfus. "I know we don't approach it as a throwaway game. You have to play it, and you want to win because that means somebody's going to have to come back and beat us twice in the final day.

"We're always concerned about every game we play. We will be a little concerned (today), because now one loss, and you're done. But we have our pitching lined up, and I'm sure the kids

will be ready to go."

NorChester (27-9) will now await the survivor of today's 4 p.m. semifinal between the Marlins and Downingtown. The championship, which will decide who advances to next week's state tournament in Boyertown, is scheduled to get under way at 7 p.m.

What irked Stoltzfus perhaps more than anything was wasting yet another solid offensive performance. The Bulldogs scored in all but three innings and got at least one hit from every starter.

Shortstop George Kochu bounced back from an uncharacteristic 0-for-4 a night earlier by going 4-for-6. Teammates Tim Wiand and Ethan Yeager added three hits apiece, and Brandon Engelhardt and Tyler Setzler contributed two each.

But even that wasn't anywhere near enough to offset Lower Southampton's three big innings.

"It's disappointing," said Stoltzfus. "I mean that's bad when you get 18 hits and don't win. That should not happen."

NorChester actually led 1-0 after a half inning, but that lead was quickly erased when the Marlins (23-25-2) put an eight spot on the board in the bottom of the first. They sent eight more batters to the plate in the fourth, scoring three runs and chasing NorChester starter Kevin Rambo. Reliever Ryan Murphy kept the Marlins off the board until the sixth, when they batted around for the second time and scored six more runs to turn their 11-7 lead into a 17-10 cushion.

"I just didn't like our approach from the get-go," said Stoltzfus. "We just were not in the game mentally. There were a lot of little things that most wouldn't notice, but I noticed. We just weren't ready to play."

NOTES: Lower Southampton starter Ray Schmoltze went the entire way, giving up all 18 hits while walking three and striking out four. ... The Marlins finished with 17 hits. Joe McAnany and Andrew Napoli had three hits each while Mike Kusters had two hits and five RBI. ... NorChester turned two doubleplays.

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