First-place showdown

By on April 25, 2018
Warwick’s Brendan Martin gets in a rundown in the Warriors’ 9-8 extra-inning win over Ephrata last Wednesday. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

Warwick’s Brendan Martin gets in a rundown in the Warriors’ 9-8 extra-inning win over Ephrata last Wednesday. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

MC prevails over Dutchmen in battle of Section leaders

Manheim Central’s Taylor Rohrer thought he had his second home run of the season.

At least, that was his first reaction upon making contact in the third inning Monday.

“It felt great off the bat,” the Baron senior DH said. “I honestly thought it was gone.”

Rohrer settled for an RBI double to left-center in Manheim Central’s three-run third-inning rally off of Annville-Cleona hard-throwing pitcher Salvadore Biondollo.

But that was all the Barons needed, as they rode the pitching of Tyler Simon and Bryce Eberly to a 3-1 crossover victory over the Little Dutchmen in a battle of Section leaders.

Simon yielded just one run on five hits in 5 2/3 innings and then Eberly got the final four outs to nail down the save, as Manheim Central improved to 7-2 L-L (8-3) atop Section Three, including a forfeit win against Lebanon Catholic last Friday.

Although MC managed only five hits, it was enough to get back on track following a 4-1 loss to Lancaster Catholic and ace Dillon Marsh last Wednesday, April 18.

“These guys were anxious to get back on the field,” Baron skipper Matt Huber said, “they love playing baseball, they love winning and they’re a great group of guys.”

The Section Four leading Little Dutchmen (8-2 L-L, 9-2 overall) threatened in the first two innings, getting their leadoff batter on base, but Simon stranded them at third with inning-ending K’s.

“First inning, I walked the first guy,” said Simon, who whiffed eight and walked two, “I had to find the arm slot and then I got my rhythm and just started throwing my pitches.”

“(Tyler)’s a competitor, he doesn’t like to lose and he doesn’t like to lose each at-bat,” Huber said. “His goal is to win every at-bat and then by the end of the game, get the job done.”

Meanwhile, Manheim Central got two runners on base in the top of the first inning, but came up empty against Biondollo.

Then in the third, Nate Loser led off with a single to right, went to second on Jake Novak’s sacrifice, and scored on Simon’s RBI base hit.

“He gave me one inside right off the bat,” Simon recalled, “and I was like, ‘He’s going to keep pitching me inside,’ so I just moved back in the box a little. He gave me another and I just put it up the middle.”

Simon then stole second base and scored when Rohrer laced a first-pitch heater from Biondollo for an RBI double. Rohrer went 3-for-3 from the clean-up spot for the Barons.

“I felt like I was seeing the ball well and I just wanted to hit one hard,” Rohrer remarked. “And I knew he was going to throw me one down the middle and I took advantage of it. I could see he was throwing first-pitch fastball a lot, and I figured I’d get on top of that.”

Next, Drew Mummau smashed a 2-2 pitch for an RBI single to left-center, which pushed the Barons’ lead to 3-0.

The Little Dutchmen got a glimmer of hope in the bottom of the fourth when Adam Long worked a five-pitch walk, but MC turned a key Cody Gibble-to-Mummau-to-Eberly double play to get out of it.

Catcher Garrett Bruckhart also threw out an A-C would-be base stealer in the game to help Simon.

“We played great defense today,” Huber said.

At times, though, the Barons struggled putting the ball in play. After striking out 16 times against Marsh last Wednesday, MC had 12 whiffs against Biondollo and A-C reliever Tyler Long — seven of those in the final three frames.

“We need to put the ball in play and put pressure on the defense,” Huber said, “so that’s something we need to figure out.”

The Little Dutchmen got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth, as Noah Pfautz legged out a swinging bunt base hit and scored on Mason Moore’s two-out double off the left-field fence.

“I thought it was gone, actually,” Simon recalled. “I was a little nervous. At first, it looked like a routine pop up and then it just kept going and going and I was like, ‘Oh no.’ It was a good hit, so props to him, honestly.”

Simon avoided further trouble with an inning-ending fly out and then lefty Eberly retired all four batters he faced to close the door on the Dutchmen.

“Coming up here to Annville-Cleona is a tough place to play, Sal is a tough pitcher and the margin was slim, but we’ll take it,” Huber said.

*****

Last Wednesday, Lancaster Catholic pitchers Dillon Marsh and Cam Barto combined on a two-hitter, leading the Crusaders in a 4-1 win over Manheim Central in Lancaster.

Catholic scored three in the first inning and never trailed. The Barons scored their only run in the top of the fifth.

Drew Mummau started and took the loss for the Barons. He struck out five and walked one.

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