Good, Bucher go deep, as Central rallies past Warwick
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor email@example.com, Staff Writer
Andrew Bucher got out in front while clubbing a foul ball home run distance.
But with the score tied 6-6, the Manheim Central sophomore made no mistake when he got a second opportunity.
His two-run blast over the left field fence in the bottom of the fifth inning last Friday capped the Barons’ rally from a 6-1 deficit and lifted them to an 8-6 non-league win over back-yard rival Warwick in Manheim.
Josh Good also hit went hard, and his two-run shot to right field in the fourth inning pulled Manheim Central even, 6-all.
"We had a couple errors in the first two or three innings that led to runs that shouldn’t have been runs," MC skipper Jason Thompson said, "but we overcame them, which is good."
Unfortunately for Warwick, they haven’t been able to overcome their inability to hold leads early in the season. It happened to the Warriors again Monday in their Section One opener, as they took a 6-5 lead in the top of the seventh, only to suffer a 7-6 loss to Penn Manor, dropping them to 1-4 overall (0-1 L-L).
"We’re just not playing all seven innings," Warwick coach Matt Gale said. "We’ve still been very pleased with the bats. We just can’t get the critical outs and we always seem to come up against the meat of somebody’s lineup. The last time that we see the top of somebody’s lineup, we just struggle to get through it."
They weren’t struggling early on against the Barons, as they scored two in the first inning on RBI singles by Braidy Weiler and Cody Kimmel, and then they made it 3-0 off of MC starter Bucher in the top of the second on Derrick Shields’ sac fly.
Overall, the Warriors had seven hits off of Bucher and Ben Bomberger, led by Cody Kimmel (2-for-3) and Chris Wentzel (2-for-4).
The Barons got one back in the bottom of the second off of Warwick starter Tyler Morris on Colin Fry’s double and Bucher’s RBI single, but Warwick answered with three more in the third inning. After Kimmel worked a one-out walk, Weiler reached on an error, Reapsome walked, Wentzel delivered an RBI single, Korey Johnson walked and Shields hit a sac fly to center.
Central, though, began its comeback in the bottom of that inning, courtesy of Good’s two-run double and Bucher’s RBI double.
Still trailing 6-4 in the fourth, the Barons got a leadoff single by Caleb Walton. Two outs later, and with Walton at second base, Good smashed a two-run homer down the left field line to tie it 6-6.
"It was a no-doubt abouter," Thompson said. "I was actually shocked that they pitched to him. I would have walked him."
Gale said that the strategy was to try to make Good hit their pitch.
"I knew (Good) was a good hitter," Gale said. "I don’t think I was ready to put him on first, but I knew we had first open, so we relayed the message to be smart and make him hit our pitch. But we just didn’t execute."
In the fifth inning, Fry singled and Bucher hit his two-out, two-run homer to right field which proved to be the difference.
"It was another no-doubt abouter," Thompson said. "For the most part, a lot of our sophomores are carrying the hitting load right now."
Bucher and Fry each went 3-for-3 with two RBI’s and Good was 2-for-4 with three RBI’s to lead the Barons’ 11-hit attack. Weiler suffered the loss in relief for Warwick, while Bomberger pitched four scoreless innings out of the ‘pen to get the win for Central.
On Monday, Manheim Central (0-1 L-L, 2-3 overall) and ELCO each had five hits, but the Raiders capitalized on three MC errors while earning a 3-1 win in Myerstown in both teams’ Section Three opener.
"There was one earned run — that was it tonight for (ELCO)," Thompson said. "So it should be 1-1 and we’re still playing."
After ELCO took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third, Central answered in the fourth as Ryan Wilson stroked a leadoff double, took third on Fry’s ground out and scored on Travis Fisher’s RBI single to right. Dustin Fair then followed with a base hit, but the Barons could do no further damage.
"We didn’t get timely hits," Thompson said.
The Raiders completed the scoring with an unearned run in the sixth inning.
Fisher was 2-for-3 to lead the Barons’ offense and Walton started and took the loss. He walked four and struck out five in five innings.
The Warriors, meanwhile, gave two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning and suffered a tough 7-6 loss to Penn Manor on Monday in Millersville.
Trailing 5-1 after five against PM starter Joe Witmer, Warwick, led by Brian Eshleman’s 2-for-3 day at the plate, scored three in the sixth and two more in the seventh to go up 6-5. After Robert Gerofsky walked, pinch runner Tommy Garner went to second on a ground out, Travis Reapsome walked, both runners advanced on Korey Johnson’s sacrifice, and Shields hit a two-run single to give Warwick its first lead.
But the Comets answered with three straight hits off of starter Reapsome in the bottom of the seventh to pull even. Then after Austin Richwine singled off of reliever Caleb Metzler, Alex Quinn hit a sac fly to end it.
Reapsome pitched six-plus innings and took the loss. He struck out two and walked two while scattering eight hits. The Comets’ Hunter McVey got the win in relief.
Last Wednesday, March 28, Zack Hurst pitched five innings for the decision and went 2-for-3 at the plate with a double, triple and two RBI’s, as Warwick earned its first win of the season by defeating host Lancaster Mennonite 8-1 in non-league action.
Derrick Shields finished 3-for-3 with two RBI’s, while Cody Kimmel and Braidy Weiler chipped in with two hits apiece in support of Hurst, who allowed one earned run on just one hit. Caleb Metzler pitched two innings of no-hit relief, with four K’s and two walks.
Overall, the Warriors banged out 14 hits off of Blazers’ pitcher Hummel.
Manheim Central was also in action last Wednesday, suffering a 10-6 loss to Solanco in a non-league battle in Manheim. With the visitors leading 2-1 after two, the Mules scored three in the third and three more in the fourth to break the game open.
Mitch Burkholder pitched 3 1/3 innings in relief of starter Brandon Guffey and took the loss. Josh Good was 3-for-4 with a double to lead the Barons’ offense, and Dustin Herbert and Andrew Bucher added two hits apiece. More COMEBACK, page B-4