Behind Book, Barons turn the page

By on April 10, 2019
Manheim Central’s Colton Book barrels a pitch from the Blue Streaks’ Colin Yablonski last Saturday. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

Manheim Central’s Colton Book barrels a pitch from the Blue Streaks’ Colin Yablonski last Saturday. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

After back-to-back losses, MC knocks off Catholic

Mentally, Manheim Central needed a break.

Getting shut out by Manheim Township pitcher Colin Yablonski in a 9-0 loss last Saturday — just two days after managing only one run in a setback to Octorara — will do that to a team.

Thankfully, Sunday came at the perfect time.

“A day off is not a bad thing for them to just mentally get away from the game,” Barons’ skipper Jason Thompson said.

The rest seemed to help Monday, as Manheim Central got back on track with a 7-1 victory over Lancaster Catholic in a Section Three-Four crossover game in Manheim.

Sophomore Colton Book went 3-for-4 with two runs scored in the cleanup hole, in addition to throwing a complete-game five-hitter, and Hunter Hess was 2-for-3 with an RBI to lead the way.

“They stayed within their plan and their approach,” Thompson said. “(Catholic’s) pitchers all threw a bunch of curve balls and we tended to stay off of it and get the straight pitch, which we preach, and it’s nice to see when they put it into action.”

The victory, in a battle between Section leaders, kept the Barons (6-1 Section Three, 6-2 overall) tied for first place with Octorara (5-1 L-L) in the loss column. It was Catholic’s (5-1) first loss.

Thompson, though, isn’t scoreboard-watching just yet.

“I don’t look at standings, I don’t know if these guys do,” he said. “I look for progress and getting better each day. This was an important win for us mentally because of Thursday’s loss and Saturday’s loss, and that’s the top of Section Four. So that’s one if we can get, we get it.”

Book did his part to help get it for the Barons.

The left-hander needed only 28 pitches to retire the first nine batters he faced.

“I knew the second half wasn’t going to be easy,” Thompson said, “but when you can start out with less stress, it’s good for your arm later on in the game and he did a nice job.”

In all, Book threw first-pitch strikes to 21 of the 28 Crusader batters he faced, finishing with seven punch-outs and just two walks.

In 18 innings this spring, he has allowed just one run.

“That’s a good hitting team over there,” Thompson said, “and I had plans of going with Colton right away. He throws strikes, he pounds the zone, he can throw three pitches in the zone and he does a really good job of not putting himself in trouble by putting guys on base.”

Lancaster Catholic’s pitchers weren’t as efficient. In addition to the Barons getting seven hits, four Crusader pitchers combined to walk seven and hit a batter.

In the bottom of the second, facing Catholic starter Anthony Savillo, Book got an infield hit to deep shortstop, Cole Lastinger doubled to left, Cam Eberly walked to load the bases, and then Cody Gibble worked a five-pitch free pass to force in the game’s first run.

Garrett Bruckhart then followed with a sacrifice fly and Eberly scored on a balk to make it 3-0.

Alex Kukic relieved for the Crusaders in the third, but early control problems set things up again for the Barons. Hess was hit by a pitch, Drew Mummau walked, Book singled to left, and Lastinger walked. Eberly’s RBI single and Gibble’s sacrifice fly pushed Manheim Central’s lead to 5-0.

Lancaster Catholic, meanwhile, got its first base hit in the fourth when Cam Barto (2-for-4) doubled to center and later scored on Devin Atkinson’s sacrifice fly, cutting the Barons’ lead to 5-1.

They threatened again in sixth, when Barto led off with a single and Luis Correa flared a hit to left. Then with one out, clean-up hitter Bryce Behmer slugged a shot to deep left-center, but MC center fielder Curtis Kroesen tracked it down and the Barons escaped.

“We actually decided to move our outfielders back because they tend to come in on the ball better than they go back,” Thompson said, “and that just happened to work in our favor there.”

The Barons’ offense added a run in the top of the fourth on Hess’ RBI single, driving in Kroesen, who walked, and they completed the scoring in the sixth, when Book reached on a Crusader fielding error, allowing Kroesen to score to make it 7-1.

“I always tell the guys to take it a game at a time,” Thompson said, “and the only thing you can control is who we play that day.”

***

Last Saturday in a non-league game in Manheim, Blue Streaks’ pitcher Colin Yablonski struck out 14 in five innings to lead Manheim Township to a 9-0 shutout of the Barons.

Manheim Central managed only two hits off of Yablonski and reliever Colin Fitzgerald and the Blue Streaks broke things open with a five-run sixth.

Wyatt Becker suffered the loss for the Barons.

***

In other action last Wednesday, Manheim Central suffered its first loss, dropping a 2-1 decision in a Section Three game at Octorara.

Trailing 2-0 in the sixth, the Barons got one back on Cody Gibble’s RBI hit, but the Braves held on.

Hunter Hess scattered just five hits in six innings, but suffered the tough-luck loss.

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