Odd Fellows get past St. Leo, 8-1
BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor
, Staff Writer
As the Lititz Odd Fellows continue down the path of their unbeaten season, there is still room where they can improve.
With timely hitting, in particular.
On Monday night, despite getting nine walks from St. Leo’s pitchers Shawn Henry and Ressdano, Lititz led just 2-1 through five innings.
Finally, in the top of the seventh, Tyler Shirk delivered a bases-loaded triple and the Odd Fellows went on beat host St. Leo 8-1 in Lancaster County Midget League action.
With just five games left in the regular season, Lititz improved to 9-0-1, good for 19 points, just one behind first-place Hempfield (10-2, 20 points), who has played two more games. St. Leo, meanwhile, fell to 2-6.
Solanco Gray and SWS are close behind, tied for third at 8-3-1 (17 points).
"We feel pretty good where we’re at," Lititz skipper Bill Weismandel said. "Obviously, I can’t say mathematically, but we’re probably pretty close to securing a top spot in the (New Era) tournament. Really, it looks at this point like we’re going to be battling Hempfield for the top spot, but we don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves because there’s a few teams only a few games behind us too."
Lititz took a 1-0 first-inning lead off Henry, as Luke Hackman and Chase Gilbert walked, advanced on stolen bases, and Grant Zimmerman had an RBI single to left. That was only of only six hits by Lititz, including two bunt singles.
Matt Cover doubled the lead in the second, earning a free pass and later scoring on Cole Adams’ sac fly to right field.
St. Leo’s got one back in the fourth. James Huber stroked a leadoff double off Lititz pitcher Drew Keller and scored on Henry’s RBI ground out to second base.
In the top of the sixth, Thomas Elliot doubled to left-center for Lititz and Michael Perezous beat out a bunt single, putting runners at the corners. Elliot scored on a passed ball, and after Justin Smith walked, Perezous stole third and scored on a throwing error by the St. Leo catcher.
Those two runs looked big when St. Leo loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the sixth. But then Luke Mariano fielded a ground ball at third, stepped on the bag and fired to first to complete a key double play, one of three turned by Lititz in the game.
"Defensively, we played really well," Weismandel said. "The big double play was in the sixth inning … It was 4-1, bases loaded, one out, so that was a big double play."
Having survived that scare, Lititz tacked on four insurance runs for Keller in the top of the seventh to break it open. Mariano and Adams walked, followed by Chase Martin, who legged out a bunt single. Shirk then ripped his three-run triple and scored on Kyle Weaver’s RBI single up the middle.
That was enough for Keller, who benefitted from a third-to-second-to-first double play in the bottom of the seventh to end it.
For the game, Keller allowed just one run on four hits in the complete-game decision. Having not thrown for more than a week while on vacation, he struggled at times with his command, walking two and hitting two batters, but he battled through it.
"Drew pitched pretty well, Weismandel said. "He was strong. It just took him a few innings to get his command. But he did pretty well."
More ODD FELLOWS, page B-2