Four in a row Streaking Lititz Post 56′ers improve to 5-4
BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor
, Staff Writer
Except for the first inning against Penn Manor, Ryan Braundmeier has been sharp on the mound for the Lititz Legion baseball team this summer.
That continued on Sunday against Strasburg-Willow Street, as the right-handed pitcher pounded the strike zone and allowed just one run while notching his first win of the season.
Of course, it didn’t hurt that his teammates supported him with plenty of offense against SWS pitchers Matt Greenwood and Collin Willard. Ian Hart, batting cleanup, went 3-for-3 with a double, three RBI’s and a walk, Ben Gingrich finished 2-for-2 with a double, two RBI’s and a walk and the Post 56′ers broke things open with an eight-run fourth-inning rally, leading them to a 12-1, five-inning victory in District 10 American Legion action in Lititz.
It was the fourth straight win for the Post 56′ers, who improved to 5-4.
"We’ve been hitting pretty well since the CV game," Lititz coach Steve Chretien said. "I just thought we did a good job of putting the ball in play, making something happen. Obviously, with the wood bats, you’re going to get some bloop hits. And I think we have a pretty good base-running team too. So when we do get those bloop hits, they’re good enough base runners that they can be scoring on a little bloop over the shortstop."
Greenwood gave up nine runs in 3 2/3 innings and took the loss for SWS. Braundmeier (1-1), meanwhile, scattered just five hits, struck out two and walked none, as he lowered his ERA from 9.00 to 5.40.
"(Ryan) did great," Chretien said. "His first inning was a little rough at Penn Manor, and then he settled down and threw well in that game. But pretty much from the start tonight, he was throwing strikes. He easily could have gone seven (innings) because the pitch-count was low. That’s what we need because I think we’ve got a pretty good defense behind him."
That defense turned two double plays against SWS, which helped Lititz protect an early 1-0 lead. In the bottom of the first, Grant Zimmerman led off with a walk and scored on Ben Keyser’s two-out RBI single.
Strasburg-Willow Street got the equalizer in the top of the third. Joe Long stroked a leadoff base hit and Avery Reynolds delivered an RBI fielder’s choice.
The tie game didn’t last long, however. Lititz’s first three batters reached base in the bottom of the third on Adam Marshall’s walk and back-to-back hits from Chris Wentzel and Hart, loading the bases. Keyser plated the go-ahead run with a sac fly to center and then Derek Acaley had a two-run single to make it 4-1.
That was enough for Braundmeier, who retired SWS in order in the top of the fourth. But the Post 56′ers pulled away in the bottom of the frame, sending 10 batters to the plate against Greenwood and Willard. Zimmerman was hit by a pitch, Marshall walked and both runners scored on a two-run double by Hart, who was batting cleanup for the first time this season for Lititz.
"I’ve pretty much had (Ian) leadoff or batting second (before Sunday)," Chretien said of Hart, who raised his average from .267 to .389. "I’m trying to maintain that Little League philosophy where kinda throw your best hitters at the top of the order and get them up (to bat) more often. He swung the bat pretty well."
Keyser was hit by a pitch to put two runners on base, and then Gingrich chased Greenwood with a two-run single to stretch the Post 56′ers’ advantage to 8-1. Gingrich raised his batting average from .231 to .333.
"(Ben)’s improved a ton," Chretien said. "He’s got a lot more reps and he hit the ball pretty well for Catholic this year (in high school ball). He’s like to drive the ball the other way and he smoked that (second-inning) double."
Garret High greeted Willard with an RBI double, and then Willard lost command of the strike zone, issuing four straight walks, including bases-loaded free passes to Marshall and Wentzel. Hart then collected his third RBI of the game with a run-scoring single to drive in Seth Earle, which completed the scoring.
More POST 56′ERS, page B-4