Woolley pitches gem, as Lititz clinches division title Manheim falls just short of playoffs
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor, Staff Writer
Early last week, Lititz’s Andy Woolley was hobbled with a leg injury.
Last Saturday, though, he used his arm to slow down the Hempfield lineup, pitching five strong innings in an 11-0 win for the Post 56’ers in District 10 American Legion action.
"(Andy) did a really good job," Lititz skipper Steve Chretien said. "We were sort of out of pitching, so we needed him to go (deep in the game). He threw really, really well."
Thanks to Woolley’s pitching and Andrew Geraghty’s three-hit day at the plate, Lititz clinched the West Division crown with an 10-5 record, one game in front of runner-up Bainbridge (9-6). The Post 56’ers will now prepare for the District 10 playoffs, which get underway today (Thursday) at Ephrata’s War Memorial Field. Lititz, the 2nd-seeded team in the tournament, will play the 7th seed (either Penn Manor or Conestoga Valley) at 8 p.m. at Lampeter-Strasburg.
The Post 56’ers’ victory over Hempfield also snapped a three-game skid for the Post 56’ers, who lost to Ephrata (5-4) last Wednesday, June 29, Conestoga Valley (13-5) on Thursday and Marietta (6-3) on Friday night.
But despite finishing just 3-4 in their final seven games of the regular season, Chretien isn’t concerned about his squad heading to the post-season.
"I think it was a good test for us playing (seven games in seven days)," Chretien said. "If we would make it far in the playoffs, we have that experience. I think it’s an advantage for us. We had the bases loaded in a lot of those games and we couldn’t capitalize. It is what it is. We could’ve easily been 6-1."
With four days of rest before the playoffs, Chretien now has an opportunity to set up his pitching staff.
"I think as long as everyone is there and we get some timely hitting, I don’t see any reason we can’t contend for the title," Chretien said. "I think we have a pretty strong team and we have plenty of arms, which is key."
Indeed, the Post 56’ers can actually go 10 deep on their pitching staff. Chretien said that Adam Marshall, Alex Myers and Cody Snyder have pitched the bulk of the innings for Lititz so far this summer. But Geraghty, Woolley, Cody Pannebecker, Louis Casanova and others are also options.
With playoff seeds still to be determined, Chretien wanted to see who their first-round match-up would be until he decided on his starting pitcher.
Offensively, cleanup hitter Brian Eshleman and leadoff batter Derrick Shields are among Lititz’s most consistent sticks, but they are surrounded by other quality hitters.
"Cody Pannebecker has been hitting the ball real well all summer too and Evan High’s had a pretty good summer as well," Chretien said.
Pannebecker, Eshleman and Geraghty had RBI base hits last Friday, as Lititz cut Marietta’s early five-run lead to 5-3. But Marietta added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth and held on for the 6-3 victory.
In other action, Manheim shut out Conestoga Valley 10-0 on Tuesday night behind the two-hit pitching of Andrews, improving their record to 8-7. Unfortunately, however, they narrowly missed qualifying for the District 10 playoffs. Manheim, the third-place team in the East Division, was edged out by Bainbridge (9-6) in the West Division and Conestoga Valley (9-7) and Penn Manor (9-7) in the South Division.
In its victory on Tuesday, Manheim scored eight runs in the fourth inning to break open a 2-0 contest, then held Conestoga Valley scoreless in the top of the fifth to invoke the 10-run rule.
Last Thursday, Manheim kept its playoff hopes alive with a 4-2 conquest of Bainbridge in a District 10 game in Manheim. Andrews also picked up the win in that game, striking out two and walking two in the complete-game decision. He was supported by a three-run fifth inning which gave them a 4-0 lead.
Other first-round match-ups for Thursday night include top-seeded New Holland facing 8th-seeded Penn Manor or Conestoga Valley at 5 p.m. at Ephrata’s War Memorial Field; 4th-seeded Ephrata hosting 5th-seeded Strasburg/Willow Street at 7:30 p.m.; and 3rd-seeded Quarryville facing 6th-seeded Bainbridge at 5:30 p.m. at Lampeter-Strasburg. More LEGION, page B-3