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Post 56’ers ousted by Penn Manor
BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor
, Staff Writer
At times, Lititz hit the ball hard off of Penn Manor pitcher Collin Whiteside on Monday night.
Unfortunately for the Post 56’ers, they got nothing to show for it.
Ultimately, Whiteside prevailed in a pitcher’s duel with Lititz’s Travis Reapsome and Braidy Weiler, as Hunter McVey scored on Anthony Knight’s walk-off free pass in the bottom of the eighth inning, lifting Penn Manor to a 1-0 win in the American Legion District 10 double-elimination playoffs at Ephrata’s War Memorial Field.
"Like all the kids and stuff were saying, we’d rather lose that way than lose 1-0," Lititz skipper Steve Chretien said. "It was a hard-fought game."
While the Post 56’ers ended their season with an 11-9 record, Penn Manor advanced to the finals hoping to knock off two-time reigning District 10 champion Ephrata.
If Penn Manor continues to get the kind of pitching that it did on Monday night, they will have to like their chances. Whiteside, a sophomore-to-be at Penn Manor who pitched mostly for the Comets’ JV team in the spring, held the Post 56’ers to just four hits while striking out one and issuing two walks.
Chretien was lonely in the third-base coach’s box with no Lititz base runners reaching third base and only two advancing as far as second.
"It seemed to be a lot off-speed pitches that (Whiteside) threw," Chretien said. "He didn’t really have a lot of velocity, but he was moving it around the plate. When he threw that fastball, it had some movement on it and we weren’t able to connect directly with it. We hit the ball hard once again, however, it was at somebody. It was pretty much the story of our season."
Reapsome and Weiler combined on a four-hitter in the losing cause. Reapsome struck out three and walked one in five innings while leaving with a no-decision. Having pitched for his club team last Friday, the ace lefty was on a pitch-count Monday night, finishing up with an efficient 49 pitches.
"Travis threw very well," Chretien said. "He had thrown on Friday, so we were really looking for only three innings out of him and we got five, so that was huge."
Weiler also pitched huge for two shutout innings, keeping the game scoreless. But then in the bottom of the eighth, McVey legged out an infield hit, Brad Snyder reached when Lititz was unable to execute a force out at second base, putting two runners on board. Then when Cameron Dickerson singled to center field, Penn Manor had the bases loaded with one out. That set the table for Knight, whose four-pitch walk forced in the game’s lone – and winning – run.
"Braidy threw the ball pretty well," Chretien said. "He started to miss his location and stuff in the last inning, and they didn’t make the plays behind him, but he did pretty well too."
Last Sunday, the Post 56’ers kept their hopes alive with a 5-3 win over Marietta in an elimination game at Ephrata. Ben Keyser was 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI’s in support of a solid outing from pitcher Ryan Braundmeier, who scattered four hits and five free passes over six innings for the win.
"That was huge," Chretien said of Braundmeier’s outing. "And the bullpen … I thought today he looked real well and his change-up was going good. After the first inning, we made an adjustment where (Ryan) just went from the stretch and he was a lot more comfortable."
Marietta took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first as leadoff batter Austin Martinez walked and later scored on Dalton Garrett’s squeeze. But after leaving the bases loaded in the first, the Post 56’ers took a lead they never relinquished off of Marietta reliever Garrett on a two-out, two-run rally. Grant Zimmerman was hit by a pitch and Chris Wentzel walked, then they pulled off a double steal and scored on Keyser’s two-run single to right-center.
"Ben swung the bat pretty well all season," Chretien said. "He made good adjustments with the wood bat. I moved him up in the lineup. He was hitting leadoff a lot this year because he was stroking the ball pretty well. We wanted to move him down in the lineup some to get a little more opportunity (to drive in runs). But the first game against New Holland, he really stroked the ball and I was like, ‘We’ve got to put him at two. Do the Little League philosophy and get him up there a little more often. He put good swings on the ball the entire day."
Keyser certainly put a good swing on a 2-0 pitch from Martinez in the top of the fifth, smacking a leadoff home run over the fence in left field for a 3-1 lead. Marietta got one back in the home half of the sixth, with Austin Mellinger walking and scoring on a Lititz throwing error.
But then in the top of the seventh, the Post 56’ers added two insurance runs. Ian Hart singled to center with one out, Weiler worked a two-out walk, and then Reapsome delivered a two-run double to drive in courtesy runner Adam Rohrbach and Weiler to make the score 5-2.
Adam Marshall relieved for Lititz in the bottom of the seventh and allowed an unearned run before slamming the door on the Post 56’ers win.
Last Saturday, Lititz opened the tournament at War Memorial Field with a 6-0 shutout loss to defending champion Ephrata.
The Post 429ers sent nine men to the plate and scored five runs in the bottom of the second to take control.
That was more than enough for pitcher Evan Young, who struck out nine Lititz batters and scattered just three hits in a complete-game victory.
Lititz threatened to score in both the third and fourth innings, but Young struck out Ben Keyser to end the third-inning trouble, and then whiffed both Adam Marshall and Garrett High with two on in the fourth to escape the jams. Young pretty much cruised the rest of the way.
Weiler (1 K, 2 BBs) was tagged with the Lititz loss. Rohrbach tossed the final three innings in relief of Weiler, and allowed just one Ephrata run with three Ks and just one walk.
In other action last Thursday in a play-in game, Lititz erupted for eight runs in the second inning en route to a dominant 11-1 win over New Holland in Ephrata.
Keyser was 3-for-4 with two runs scored in the five-hole, clean-up hitter Ben Gingrich finished 2-for-3 with a walk, double and two RBI’s, and Reapsome and Seth Earle each chipped in with pair of hits in the onslaught.
Gingrich stroked an RBI double, while Keyser, Reapsome and Earle all delivered RBI base hits in the second hits, helping the Post 56’ers jump to a commanding 9-1 lead in the second inning off of New Holland starter Vince Borja.
That was more than enough for Lititz starter Marshall, who allowed just five hits and struck out five in six innings for the win.
"I think we had a real good approach (in the second inning)," Chretien said. "Obviously, we hit the ball pretty well. I mean, we just put the ball in play. It kinda happened to us a few times this year where we didn’t make the plays and then it kinda compounded. To our credit, we stuck after it."
More POST 56’ERS, page B-2