Comeback kids: Barons rally off of E-town’s Stoner for District playoff win

By on May 24, 2017
With one out in the top of the seventh at Elizabethtown on Monday, the Barons’ Bryce Eberly (right) celebrates as he scores the tying run on a single by pitcher Taylor Rohrer. Photo by Mike Shull

With one out in the top of the seventh at Elizabethtown on Monday, the Barons’ Bryce Eberly (right) celebrates as he scores the tying run on a single by pitcher Taylor Rohrer. Photo by Mike Shull

Manheim Central ace Taylor Rohrer is known for making an impact with his left arm.

On Monday night, the Baron junior also did it with his bat.

Rohrer’s RBI single in the top of the seventh inning off of Elizabethtown flame-thrower Nick Stoner highlighted a three-run rally, as 12th-seeded Manheim Central notched a thrilling come-from-behind 4-2 victory over the No. 5 Bears in a District Three 5A first-round game at E-town.

“It’s definitely the biggest one (of my career),” Rohrer smiled. “I haven’t been hitting very well this season and that felt great to make nice contact.”

With the victory, the Barons (14-5) advanced to the District quarterfinals, slated for today (Thursday) against the winner between 4th-seeded Lampeter-Strasburg and No. 13 Greencastle-Antrim.

It also avenged a 13-9 loss to Elizabethtown in the L-L playoff quarterfinals, a game in which Rohrer and Stoner also started for their respective teams.

“As much as every one of us wanted those seven innings back (in the L-L playoffs),” MC coach Matt Huber said, “there wasn’t a thing we could do about it. So we talked about today and making the most of each pitch, making the most of each play, and I’m glad they made the most of their opportunity.”

The odds weren’t great for the Barons entering the top of the seventh trailing 2-1 against Stoner.

But clean-up hitter Tyler Lutz didn’t receive the memo, beating out a ground ball to shortstop for an infield base hit to get the Barons started.

“I was thinking I didn’t want to ground out,” Lutz recalled. “Something happened, I got a burst of speed and I beat it out, so I was just as surprised as everybody else.”

Next, Bryce Eberly worked a six-pitch walk to put two runners aboard. Lutz was forced at third on a bunt by Tyler Lyons, and that brought up Rohrer, who worked the count to 2-2 against Stoner before lacing a game-tying RBI single to center field.

“That was his biggest hit of the year, by far, and of his career,” Huber said. “He picked a good time for it.”

Rohrer said he was looking for a curve from Stoner, but got a fastball, and he didn’t miss it.

“It never broke and I swung hard and put it up the middle,” Rohrer said.

“That was great,” Lutz added. “(Taylor)’s a heck of a hitter and he’s a little timid sometimes at hitting that inside fastball, but tonight he actually went after it and he had a solid hit, so good for us.”

Lyons advanced to third on an error by E-town’s center fielder, then scored the go-ahead run on a two-out wild pitch. Two Stoner offerings later, Rohrer scored on a wild pitch to make it 4-2.

Huber, getting emotional after the game, said, “It’s this time of year when you see the seniors step up. It’s just a great thing to see their leadership. Coaches can speak and that helps, but when players speak and back it up with actions on the field, you saw what happened.”

With the Bears down to their final at-bats, Rohrer retired the first two batters he faced before reaching his pitch count. Reliever Drew Mummau then needed just four pitches to retire Justin Shelly on a lineout to second base to end the game.

Rohrer pitched 6 2/3 innings for his fourth win of the season, striking out nine, walking two and yielding just one earned run on five hits.

“He kept pounding the outside,” catcher Lutz recalled. “When Rohrer is on, it is a lot of fun to catch for him. He’s a heck of a pitcher. He just kept pounding the outside and we were working that corner all day long and it kept falling for us.”

The Bears took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Stoner stroked a leadoff double and scored on a Baron fielding error. E-town threatened for more, putting runners at second and third with no outs, but Rohrer got out of it.

“To get out of that kept us in the game,” Huber said. “Getting out of that 1-0 was a moral victory.”

Manheim Central got another victory in the top of the fourth when Eberly singled with two outs, stole second and scored on two wild pitches.

But base runners were at a minimum against both Rohrer and Stoner, who K’d 12, walked one and yielded only four base hits in the losing cause.

“It’s rare that Stoner’s not on,” Lutz said. “He was pounding the strike zone.”

So when E-town scored in the bottom of the sixth to go up 2-1 on Austin Denlinger’s leadoff double and Ryan Rupp’s sacrifice fly, it didn’t look great for the Barons.

Manheim Central, though, had other ideas.

“We have that thing on the team that we just say, ‘Pass the bat,’ make sure the next guy behind us is doing their job,” Lutz said, “so it was just great teamwork from everybody.”

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