Heartbreak for MC in District semi-finals

By on May 31, 2017
Manheim Central’s Jake Novak hustles through the bag on a close play at first base in Tuesday’s District Three 5A playoff semi-finals. Photo by Missi Mortimer

Manheim Central’s Jake Novak hustles through the bag on a close play at first base in Tuesday’s District Three 5A playoff semi-finals. Photo by Missi Mortimer

Manheim Central’s baseball team battled the rain, a stadium blackout and No. 1-seeded Daniel Boone at War Memorial Field in Ephrata Tuesday evening.

But behind sophomore right-handed pitcher Drew Mummau, the Barons held a 1-0 lead through five innings.

That’s when baseball’s “game of inches” turned on the 12th-seeded Central nine, as Daniel Boone rallied for two runs in the bottom of the sixth and held on for a 2-1 victory.

In the top of that inning, with one out and a man on first, junior right fielder Nate Loser drove the ball deep to center field. But when Blazer outfielder Matt Stevens raced back and snared the drive, MC saw one of many opportunities fall short.

In the bottom of the frame, a one-out liner by Boone third baseman Carson Zuber tipped off Baron first baseman Bryce Eberly’s glove for a single. Then catcher Brendan Rivoli stroked a single to left-center, setting up the bizarre game-winning play.

After Rivoli stole second, Mummau worked a ground ball to drawn-in shortstop Cody Gibble, who threw to first for out number two. Zuber slid home with the tying run as the throw from first was on the dugout side of home plate. The Barons then went for Rivoli at third base, and when the throw skidded down the left field line, Rivoli dashed home with what would be the winning run.

The Blazers will now play the winner of the Cedar Cliff vs. Red Land game, which had to be finished on Wednesday, for the District Three Title. The Barons play the loser of that same game on Thursday in the third and fourth-place seeding game for the PIAA State Tournament.

“It’s a tough loss,” Manheim Central coach Matt Huber said. “You have a chance to get to the District title game. To get here is hard enough. To be on the doorstep, with the door partially open and then have the door slam shut is tough.”

Huber had high praise for Mummau, who suffered the tough-luck complete-game loss. Mummau yielded just one hit through the first five innings and finished with a three-hitter, striking out three and walking two.

“I thought he did a fantastic job,” the Barons’ skipper said. “You are going into the sixth inning with one hit and no runs. You’re thinking, ‘Wow, he’s pitching his tail off.’”

The difference on this soggy night might have been the 11 Baron runners left on base, compared to three stranded by Daniel Boone.

“We squandered quite a few opportunities, beginning in the first inning (bases loaded, one out),” Huber said. “When you leave a great team hang around, one or two things can be the difference.”

The Barons offense was paced by Tyler Lutz (three hits, RBI) and aided by six walks, as Blazer starter Luke Heffner was forced out of the game after three innings, using up 73 pitches.

“We couldn’t get that one punch,” Huber said. “That one blow. We just couldn’t get that today.”

District Quarterfinals

MC 5, L-S 0

Manheim Central ace lefty Taylor Rohrer struck out a career-high 15 and tossed a complete-game no-hitter, leading the Barons in a 5-0 shut out of L-L League rival Lampeter-Strasburg last Friday.

The Pioneers managed just three base runners off of Rohrer, on two walks and a Baron error.

But with the junior star mowing down the L-S lineup, Manheim Central’s three-run third-inning rally off of L-S pitcher Todd Shelley proved to be plenty of offensive support.

In all, MC had eight hits and capitalized on three Pioneer errors to punch their ticket the District playoff semi-finals.

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