Manheim keeps hopes alive in the New Era
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor firstname.lastname@example.org, Staff Writer
B.J. Fisher is one of those players that the Manheim VFW baseball team has looked to when needing a key hit this summer.
On Tuesday, he delivered once again.
With Manheim protecting an 8-5 lead in the top of the fifth inning, Fisher launched a grand slam home run on the first pitch he saw from Donegal reliever Brady Steinman and the VFW went on to win 14-5 in an elimination game in the 68th New Era Tourney’s Midget-Midget series at Mt. Joy’s Kunkle Field.
Fisher, who finished 2-for-4 with six RBI’s including a two-run double, is now approaching 40 RBI’s this year, which easily leads Manheim in that category.
"(B.J.)’s come a long way since I coached him three, four years ago," Manheim skipper Jeff Mummau said. "He’s got some key this year … That kid is incredible. He hit a ball to the fence and then he hits one over at 12U."
Certainly, there were other heroes on this night for Manheim as well. One pitch after Fisher’s blast, Dawson Good made it back-to-back dingers for the VFW, ripping a first-pitch strike over the left field wall to cap a seven-run inning for Manheim (21-10-1), which handed Donegal (31-9) three of its nine losses this year.
"As coaches, we knew this was going to come (for Dawson), and tonight was his breakout party," Mummau said.
Overall, Manheim belted out 11 hits in the win, and that included a big night for leadoff batter Jake Novak, who finished 4-for-4 with a walk, six stolen bases and four runs scored.
"Jake Novak is the epitome of a leadoff hitter," Mummau said. "If he doesn’t get a hit, he gets a walk. His average has come up more as the year’s gone along. But he is a great leadoff hitter — patient, fast, aggressive, feisty."
Manheim’s seven-run outburst in the fifth sealed the decision for starting pitcher Garrett Bruckhart, who scattered seven hits over 3 1/3 innings with two K’s and two walks. Evan Hosler pitched 2 2/3 scoreless frames to nail it down.
With the score tied 1-1, Manheim took the lead for good with a four-run third inning, highlighted by Fisher’s two-run double and Todd Heisey’s run-scoring single. Another run scored on an error on a grounder by Tyler Simon, who also had a nice catch in center.
Donegal, paced by Kyle Hess (3-for-3, 2 runs), scored two in the third and two in the fourth, cut Manheim’s lead to 6-5. But they would get no closer.
The win not only kept Manheim’s hopes alive, but also erased the memory of their tough one-run loss to Mountville in the opener.
"Any time it’s the New Era, there’s a little bit of magic behind it," Mummau remarked. "For them to do it in a big game was huge for our confidence and I know we’ll play well tomorrow."
Waiting for them in Wednesday’s game was the Warwick Phillies, who dropped an 8-0 loss to Mountville. While the losing team finishes its season, the winner advances to the finals on Friday against Mountville. If necessary, they would also play next Monday, July 16.
Mountville’s Ryan Moffatt capped a 3-for-3 night on Monday with a seeing-eye RBI infield single in the bottom of the fifth inning, driving in courtesy runner Ken Katelan with what proved to be the game-winning run in an 8-7 win over the Manheim VFW in opening-round NET action at Mount Joy’s Kunkle Field.
On a night when the two teams’ pitching staffs combined to throw 258 pitches over six innings in a two and a half hour game, Manheim had early leads of 1-0, 4-3 and 6-4, but couldn’t hold onto them.
"We haven’t played for almost two weeks, so that really hurts," Mummau said.
Still, Manheim’s skipper acknowledged that his pitchers needed to do a better job of getting ahead against Mountville’s hitters. B.J. Fisher and Drew Mummau threw first-pitch strikes to just 15 of the 29 batters they faced.
"We didn’t get ahead," Mummau said. "We’re 3-0, 2-0, 2-1 seventy-five percent of the time and it’s advantage Mountville. Our pitchers have good stats, but we didn’t do it tonight."
Jake Novak was hit by a pitch and scored on the back end of a double steal with Tyler Simon to put Manheim up 1-0 in the first. But early wildness by Fisher, coupled with three errors behind him, led Mountville to grab a 3-1 lead.
Manheim regained the lead in the second inning, courtesy of a three-run opposite field blast by Evan Hosler which hit the scoreboard above the outfield fence.
"(Evan)’s a first-year player and he’s going to be something special," Mummau said. "He can drive the ball a long way."
After Mountville pulled even on Moffatt’s RBI double in the bottom of the second, RBI singles Garrett Bruckhart and Dawson Good (2-for-3) in the top of the third put Manheim ahead by a 6-4 score. But that would be their final lead.
Moffatt, who finished with four RBI’s, hit a two-run double to highlight a three-run third by Mountville and Fisher’s RBI double to left-center in the fourth got the equalizer for Manheim to make it 7-7.
That was all Moffatt gave up, however, as he picked up the win with 2 1/3 innings in relief of starting pitcher Jeremy Brubaker.
Meanwhile, Mummau, who entered the game with a 10-1 record, pitched four innings in relief duty for Manheim and was hoping to notch his 11th win of the year.
"He doesn’t really start games for us, but he comes in when we need him," Mummau said. "He’s comfortable with that role. He was high, high, high tonight — I don’t know if the mound was giving him problems. But he’s got a lot of wins out of the bullpen, so to speak."
Unfortunately, however, Mummau hit Josiah Snyder with a pitch with one out in the bottom of the fifth, and then he advanced to third on a pair of wild pitches. There was daylight at the end of the tunnel when Keith Hollinger snagged a shot to left field, but Moffatt’s roller forced third baseman Matt Lowe to range far to his left and Katelan scored on the infield hit.
"It was a little too far to (Lowe’s) left … a seeing-eye hit," Mummau said. "(Moffatt) is only a first-year player and he’s a real tough player. He puts his bat on the ball."
From there, Mountville reliever Logan Givler pitched a perfect sixth inning to get the save. Mummau, who gave up just one earned run on five hits and one walk, suffered the loss. More MANHEIM, page B-4