ROYERSFORD -- Michael Oczypok had precisely what Spring City needed against Spring Grove Monday night at Spring-Ford High School's Ram Stadium.

The right-handed pitcher threw a...

By BARRY SANKEY

ROYERSFORD -- Michael Oczypok had precisely what Spring City needed against Spring Grove Monday night at Spring-Ford High School's Ram Stadium.

The right-handed pitcher threw a five-hitter as the River Bandits won the winners' bracket final game of the 2008 Pennsylvania Junior Legion Eastern Regional Tournament, 6-1, over Spring Grove from the York area of the state.

The River Bandits made it easy for Oczypok by scoring five runs on three hits, two walks and one error in the bottom of the second inning.

Spring City is now in the final four teams of the eight-team field and is the lone unbeaten ballclub. The River Bandits will play Paupack, which eliminated J.P. Mascaro, 8-7, in a 7 p.m. game this evening.

In the 4 p.m. contest, Shillington, which won two extra-inning games Monday, will take on Spring Grove. The championship round is slated for Wednesday morning at 11 a.m. with the "if necessary" game to follow. Two teams will advance to the state tournament starting Saturday at Valley Forge.

Oczypok pitched a full seven innings and allowed one earned runs with seven strikeouts and four walks on 121 pitches.

"I felt strong," Oczypok said. "I had command of my pitches for the most part. I threw a fastball, curveball and changeup and just tried to get them to hit it in play and let my fielders do their job."

Allen Rohrbaugh pitched six innings for Spring Grove, giving up eight hits and five earned runs with four strikeouts and five walks on 132 pitches.

Kenny Pierson, Andrew Keys and Josh Mellon provided two-hit outings for the River Bandits (35-6). Ricky Gorrell rapped an RBI double during the five-run uprising.

Oczypok actually started the big rally himself. He worked the count to 3-2 and then fought off four pitches for foul balls before finally drawing a two-out walk. Eric Pizzico followed with another walk before Keys plunked a single into right field to score the first run. Pizzico and Keys executed a double steal for the second run. Keys took thrid base on a wild pitch and scored on a passed ball. Mellon singled and Gorrell jolted his run-scoring double to left field. The fifth run of the frame scored on a dropped fly ball in right field.

"We just had a few walks, a few clutch hits and scored us some runs," said Oczypok, who bats left-handed but throws right.

Spring City manager Rick Harrison was pleased with the effort by his host team.

"It was a nice game, really a well-played game by both sides," Harrison said. "You expect that in the winners' bracket final game to have a good game.

"Michael did a fantastic job. He threw three pitches for strikes and was able to keep the ball in play and keep them off balance. He was ahead in the count. That was a very strong team he was able to keep off balance."

Harrison also cited Oczy

pok's pivotal at-bat during the big outburst by the River Bandits.

"We scored five runs with good baserunning and different plays that we work on," Harrison said. "We are excited to keep going."

Shortstop Ben Reigart doubled for Spring Grove out of the leadoff spot in the batting order. Reigart also made an outstanding play in the field, ranging far to his left behind the second-base bag, to peg out Oczypok leading off the fifth inning.

Rob Aversa led off the Spring Grove sixth inning with a single, moved to second on a stolen base, took third on an error and scored on Cortlin Dell's squeeze bunt back to the pitcher with one down.

Spring City left nine runners on base and Spring Grove stranded eight men.

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