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Dornes leads MT Black past Manheim in NET semis
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor, Staff Writer
When the Manheim Lions were just 5-5 at one point, skipper Jeff Flanagan didn’t know what to expect this season.
So when he was standing at Kunkle Field on Monday night for the New Era Tournament junior-midget semi-finals, he was elated.
Unfortunately for Manheim, though, their remarkable run ended at the hands of Ryan Dornes and Manheim Township Black. Township’s star was a one-person wrecking crew, as he slammed two home runs and tossed a four-hitter while striking out 10 in a 9-3 conquest under the lights in Mount Joy.
"My hat’s off to (Dornes)," Flanagan said. "He pounded the zone. He’s a nice pitcher. He did a nice job."
Considering how far his players came this year, however, Flanagan could not have been more proud of his team. They ended the season with a 19-12-1 record while taking home the Lancaster County Youth Baseball League championship along the way.
"To start the way they did and to come back and win a league championship to be here, I have nothing to be sad about," Flanagan said. "They played their hearts out. I told them I’m so impressed with the way they turned their season around and put their nose to the grindstone and battled through the rest of the year. It makes me very proud to be their coach."
After beating a couple of tough pitchers from Hempfield and Strasburg/Willow Street for the league title, Flanagan was confident coming into the New Era Tournament.
And they reached the flame-throwing Dornes for two unearned runs in the first inning to take the early lead. Manheim leadoff batter Jared Siegrist got on board on a fielding error, Blake Reiff stroked a one-out single just out of the reach of MT shortstop Nolan Sachs and Justin Flanagan sliced a two-out two-run single just inside the right field foul line to make it 2-0.
"In the first inning, I thought, ‘Hey, here we go again,’" Flanagan smiled. "And then (Dornes) just kinda took over and took control and we couldn’t get the hit when we needed it. So my hat’s off to him. He deserves it. He’s a good ball player."
Manheim was certainly aware of Dornes, as he also pitched in relief and clubbed two home runs against them in a game earlier this year. And in the bottom of the first, Dornes got one of those runs back when he swatted a 1-2 pitch from Manheim starter Siegrist over the wall in center field to cut their deficit to 2-1.
In the bottom of the third, Siegrist again got two quick outs on comebackers. But then Sachs doubled to right, Dornes (2-for-3) was intentionally walked, Mark Kambic (3-for-4) hit an RBI double to right, and Kevin Bushong slugged a three-run blast over the wall in left-center to give Township a lead it never lost, 5-3.
"It hurts (giving up two-out runs)," Flanagan acknowledged. "When you get two quick outs and then (they) get two guys on and then all of a sudden, bam, one goes out of the ballpark, you can’t defend the home run and you can’t defend the walk and that came back to haunt us. If you take those three home runs away, they had a double in the corner where they got two runs and that was it. We’ve been down before — we were down 9-4 against SWS and came back and won — and we had a shot, but the bats just went cold."
Dornes, who threw 114 total pitches, mixed a dominant heater with a tight curve ball to retire seven in a row before issuing back-to-back walks to Reiff and Daniel Weiderrecht to start the fourth inning. Following a double steal, Preston Kimmel hit a one-out sac fly to right field to drive in Reiff, making the score 5-3. But then Township left fielder Jack Hankin made a tremendous running catch in the left field corner to prevent further damage.
"I told the kids, ‘(Dornes) throws hard and he’s going to pound the strike zone,’ and we just couldn’t catch up to him," Flanagan said. "He was on tonight."
That made the task even tougher when Township added two insurance runs in the bottom of the fourth. MT leadoff hitter Tyler Russell hit into a fielder’s choice, and then following a nice play by Manheim shortstop Reiff to retire Sachs on a grounder deep in the hole, Dornes followed with a two-out blast to left-center to stretch the lead to 7-3.
In the fifth, Sachs worked a bases-loaded free pass from reliever Preston Kimmel and then Township scored its final run in the sixth on an RBI fielder’s choice by Ben Wirth. From there, Dornes did the rest, retiring the final eight batters he faced with six K’s.
"I take my hat off to (my kids)," Flanagan said. "They really battled back (after a tough start) and practiced hard. Sometimes, the other team plays better than you."
Last Friday, Kimmel and Reiff each slammed a home run to support pitcher Weiderrect, who tossed a one-hit shutout to lead the Manheim Lions to a 9-0 whitewashing of Penn Manor in the NET quarterfinals.
Reiff, batting out of the three-hole, finished 2-for-3 with three RBI’s, while Frank Bowman and Peter Breit chipped in with two hits apiece to pace the offense against Comets’ pitchers Whiteside, Dickerson and Groff.
The Lions took command with a six-run first and then they added two more in the second. That was more than enough for Weiderrect, who finished with 12 K’s while walking five in the complete-game masterpiece. More MANHEIM, page B-6