Burlington County's tough loss in Carpenter Cup finals

Burlington County catcher Joey Frey tags out Lehigh Valley's Davin Pagan during championship game. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Hey, it's never easy to lose a title game.

It's never easy to lose a title game of a nine-day, 16-team tournament that stretched from FDR Park to Coca Cola Park in Allentown, Pa., to Citizens Bank Park.

But Tuesday's 5-3 loss to Lehigh Valley in the championship game of the 26th annual Carpenter Cup Classic was particularly tough to swallow for Burlington County.

The South Jersey team just couldn't take advantage of opportunities. BC had the leadoff man on base in the fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth innings without scoring a run.

"Frustrating loss," said BC manager Marc Petragnani, the coach at Cherokee.

Double plays killed BC. They hit into three of them in the final five innings.

They had the bases loaded with one out in the sixth when Holy Cross junior Tim Gallagher, a fast runner, rapped a hard grounder back to LV pitcher Karl Keglovits.

Keglovits whirled and fired to second to start an inning-ending 1-6-3 double play.

"I think the ball was at second before Tim even got out of the box," Petragnani said.

The eighth inning was a killer. Down 4-3, BC got the leadoff man on base as Holy Cross' Mark Zagunis walked.

But on a hit-and-run, Lenape's Jeff McGarry hit a foul pop to the first baseman. Zagunis was past second before turning back and was doubled up.

What's worse, the next two BC batters rapped singles.

It was a great run for BC, a great showing for all three South Jersey teams. Olympic Colonial won its first game, Tri-Cape won its first two and Burlington County won its first three.

BC was in prime position to win its third Carpenter Cup title. BC also won in 2006 and 2009.

But the team just couldn't close the deal on Tuesday morning in the Phillies' home park.

"The kids took the coaching staff on a great ride," Petragnani said. "The only was it could have been better would have been to get a win today."