Rohrer’s walk-off hit lifts Lititz in the 10th

By on July 3, 2018
Lititz shortstop Kris Pirozzi scoops up a ground ball before firing to first for the out in the Post 56ers’ win over Columbia last Thursday. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

Lititz shortstop Kris Pirozzi scoops up a ground ball before firing to first for the out in the Post 56ers’ win over Columbia last Thursday. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

Taylor Rohrer was ready to go home.

No doubt, so were many others.

And in the bottom of the 10th inning, with Lititz deadlocked 2-2 against Columbia, the Post 56ers’ first baseman was in the perfect position to end it.

Sure enough, Rohrer rocketed a one-out RBI single to right-center, driving in Kris Pirozzi from second base, and Lititz went home with a 3-2 win in a District 10 American Legion game in Lititz.

“I was just looking to hit the ball hard somewhere,” he said. “The infield’s kinda bumpy and they can make an error, you never know what’s going to happen, so just put the ball in play.”

Columbia had already made six errors in the game, which contributed to Lititz rallying from deficits of 1-0 and 2-1.

That set the stage for the bottom of the 10th with Columbia reliever Nick Bair on the hill. With one out, Pirozzi smacked a double down the left-field line, bringing Rohrer to the plate with shadows getting longer in the infield. Then on a 1-0 heater, the recent Manheim Central grad made no mistake.

Justin Byler got the win for Lititz with four innings one-hit, four-strikeout relief.

“It’s hard to adjust to wood bats, it takes me awhile, and I’m starting to feel more comfortable with it now,” said Rohrer, who went 2-for-5 out of the number three hole. “As soon as it left the bat, I knew that was game.”

Lititz starter Bryce Eberly and his Columbia counterpart Eric Sipling didn’t make things easy on the batters either. In fact, neither team could break through in the first five innings in the pitchers duel.

Sipling gave up a two-out triple to Rohrer in the first and back-to-back one-out base hits by Ryan Aukamp and Travis Kraft in the fifth, but escaped trouble both times. He punched out eight, walked none and scattered five hits in 7 2/3 innings.

Eberly, meanwhile, retired 13 of the next 14 batters he faced after Columbia leadoff batter Martinez reached on an error in the top of the first inning. He had five K’s and two walks, while giving up just two hits and one earned run in six innings.

“Bryce is always around the strike zone and he rarely walks anybody,” Lititz coach Jeff High said.

Finally, in the top of the sixth, Rosario’s two-out RBI triple to right-center plated Martinez, who walked, to put Columbia up 1-0.

The Post 56ers tied it in the bottom of the inning without a base hit. Byler and Pirozzi got on board on back-to-back Columbia errors leading off. One out later, Pirozzi stole second base, and when the catcher’s throw went into center field, Byler scored.

It remained tied until the eighth inning, when Columbia pushed across the go-ahead run. A two-base throwing error by Lititz sent Martinez to second base, and then after Rosario was intentionally walked with two outs, Cevicio’s RBI single to left put the visitors up 2-1. Sipling was then hit by a pitch to load the bases, but Byler coaxed a ground out from Metzler to end the threat.

The Post 56ers were down to their final out in the bottom of that frame, but Rohrer and Ethan Kile reached on defensive miscues and Evan Clark’s RBI single to right field knotted things 2-all and chased Sipling from the game.

From there, Byler went on to pitch back-to-back perfect innings while retiring the final seven he faced.

“Bryce and Justin pitched really well,” High said. “That’s the best I’ve seen Justin pitch and that was probably Bryce’s best too. Justin, if he throws strikes — you obviously see the velocity and he has a good breaking ball. He has a live arm, so if he’s around the zone, he’s going to be tough to hit.”

Bair wasn’t easy to hit either, but Lititz found a way to pull out the win in the bottom of the 10th. The victory avenged an 8-7 loss to Columbia on Friday, June 22 in a game in which Lititz led 7-4.

“Taylor’s been swinging the bat really good,” High said. “I figured when Kris got that double, we had a good chance. He had hit some hard balls and Kris was swinging the bat well, and if (Taylor) didn’t do it, I figured Ethan (Kile) would pick him up. They guys are playing loose, which is good. They’re enjoying themselves.”

In other action last Tuesday, June 26, Lititz suffered a 6-1 loss to Ephrata. Post 429 pitchers Nate Young and Hunter Johns held Lititz to just one run in the loss.

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