Oddfellows advance to LNP Tournament semi-finals

By on July 26, 2017
Lititz starting pitcher Dagen Young (5) gets congratulations from teammate Kaden Hunt (3) after tossing a scoreless inning against Solanco on Tuesday. Looking on for the Oddfellows is assistant Todd Shertzer. Photo by Missi Mortimer

Lititz starting pitcher Dagen Young (5) gets congratulations from teammate Kaden Hunt (3) after tossing a scoreless inning against Solanco on Tuesday. Looking on for the Oddfellows is assistant Todd Shertzer. Photo by Missi Mortimer

Josh Farina was already having a nice game by the time he stepped into the batter’s box in the bottom of the fifth inning on Tuesday night.

In his previous two at-bats, the Lititz Oddfellows’ number two hitter had walked twice and scored a run.

Then Farina, with Lititz up 4-1, added a big blow while facing Solanco lefty Corey Stively, slicing a two-run double over the third baseman’s head.

It got the scoring started in a five-run inning by the 4th-seeded Oddfellows, helping them finally pull away to a 9-2 win over 5th-seeded Solanco in an LNP Midget Tournament quarterfinal-round game at Lancaster’s Clipper Magazine Stadium.

“That’s when it felt like the game kinda broke open and then we just kinda went from there,” Lititz skipper Bill Weismandel said.

For Solanco, the deficit had to seem particularly disheartening, considering that Lititz pitchers Dagen Young, Adam Kurtz, and Colin Beech were working on a combined no-hitter with one out in the seventh.

Solanco leadoff batter Tim Fetterman eventually spoiled it with an infield single, and then Mike May followed with a base hit, but it wasn’t enough.

Although Lititz’s pitchers walked six and hit a batter, they K’d five and were effectiving in keeping Solanco at bay in the two-hitter. Young pitched 4 2/3 innings for the win.

“They kinda hung around until the middle of the game there, but our guys on the mound, Dagen and then Adam, they did a good job making pitches when they really, really needed to,” Weismandel remarked. “They were minimizing the free ones they were putting on.”

The victory sends Lititz (12-3) to Thursday’s semi-finals back at the Clip against top-seeded and unbeaten Hempfield (15-0), who pulled off a come-from-behind 3-2 win over Manheim.

“Big test Thursday,” Weismandel said. “Hempfield’s as quality a team as anybody and we will need to play our best to beat them. And that’s OK. We challenge our guys to play their best in the biggest moments and it wouldn’t be right to not have to play the League champion. So we’ll get after them and see how it goes.”

John Murray had a big moment for Solanco in the top of the first when he dropped a suicide sqeeze bunt to give his team an early 1-0 lead.

But Lititz quickly answered. Brendan Martin, who was 2-for-4 with two runs in the leadoff spot, blooped a Texas League single in center, then Farina and Colby Martin worked back-to-back walks off of Solanco starter Zach Wiker. Young then stroked an RBI single to left, Adam Ricketts hit a sac fly, Martin scored on the back end of a double steal, and John Seibert clubbed an RBI base hit, putting the Oddfellows up 4-1.

Solanco reliever Stively came out of the ‘pen in the second and righted the ship.

Finally in the fifth, though, Lititz put the game out of reach. Max Bright, who earlier made a stellar running catch from his first base position, started it when he reached on an error. After Zach Shertzer sacrificed, Martin put down a bunt single, and that’s when Farina flared a two-run double to shallow left.

“We have a lot of trust in our offense — we think that’s our strength,” Weismandel said. “I don’t think there’s many teams or arms that are going to hold us down a whole game, so sometimes we have to be patient. We kinda made some base running mistakes there in the inning prior to that, so it was good to see that we took advantage of their mistake. And like I said, our offense will eventually get going.”

The offense kept going when Colin Brubaker hit a Texas League RBI single, then Colin Beech smashed an RBI double to left-center and Ricketts added a run-scoring single, extending Lititz’s lead to 9-1 and chasing Stively.

Solanco scored its final run in the seventh inning on Dawson Kreider’s RBI ground out.

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