Manheim VFW bows to GS in LNP quarters

By on July 29, 2015

 

After fielding a ground ball up the middle, Manheim VFW shortstop Hunter Bruckhart (left) feeds an underhand toss to teammate Taylor Lyons (21) to complete a fifth inning force-out at second base. (Photo by Mike Shull)

After fielding a ground ball up the middle, Manheim VFW shortstop Hunter Bruckhart (left) feeds an underhand toss to teammate Taylor Lyons (21) to complete a fifth inning force-out at second base. (Photo by Mike Shull)

Taylor Rohrer did his job.

The Manheim VFW lefty delivered a nasty 3-1 slider to Garden Spot’s Connor Finkey in a crucial sixth-inning situation last Thursday.

“Taylor threw the perfect pitch and the kid (Finkey) caught it off the end of the bat and put it in an area where we just couldn’t get to it,” Manheim skipper Todd Lyons said. “That’s baseball.”

With runners at the corners and two outs, Finkey ended up hitting the ball between the pitcher’s mound and second base. Manheim’s Tyler Lyons fielded the ball, but Finkey beat it out, allowing Anthony Torreulla to score the go-ahead run.

That was the difference in what proved to be a 3-2 victory for Garden Spot in the 70th LNP Midget Tournament quarter-finals at Clipper Magazine Stadium in Lancaster.

“It was one of those no-man’s land (balls),” Lyons said. “The interesting thing is we’ve probably gotten three or four of those balls, so we’ve been on the good end of them and tonight we just happened to be the victim of one.”

Entering the tournament, Manheim had won six of its past seven games. But they couldn’t quite close the deal with GS and ended the season at 8-7-1.

“They’re a great group of kids and I didn’t talk much about the game (afterward),” Lyons said. “Obviously, being involved in baseball as long as most of them have, there’s not much you can say except to tell them to keep their heads up. But more than anything, I just told them that I appreciated the way they played, the way they were so coachable, the way they were a great group of kids and I hope to watch them at least the next two years in high school ball until my son (Tyler) graduates.”

In a low-scoring affair, Manheim struck first off of GS starter Noah Dippolito. With one out in the first Tyler Lyons and Kevin Starner worked back-to-back walks and then Bryce Eberly stroked an 0-1 pitch to center field for an RBI single.

The 1-0 lead held up through three, as Rohrer escaped a bases-loaded two-out jam in the bottom of the first inning

Manheim threatened in the top of the third, as leadoff batter Tyler Simon ripped a double to left-center. One out later, he got caught going to third on Starner’s ground ball, and after Bryce Eberly singled, the VFW stranded two on base.

But then in the bottom of the fourth inning, two throwing errors proved costly for Manheim. Leading off, Torreulla (2-for-3) reached on the first of those and went to second on Cameron Heilman’s sacrifice. Following Josh Leid’s ground out, Jordan Petersheim was hit by a pitch. Rohrer, though, appeared to be out of the inning when Finkey hit a grounder to shortstop Hunter Bruckhart, but the throw got away, enabling Torreulla and Petersheim to score to put Spot up 2-1.

GS was victimized by a throwing error of its own in the fifth, when Manheim’s Nate Loser reached on shortstop Brock Kauffman’s miscue and scored the tying run on Simon’s RBI ground out.

Dippolito was back in trouble in the sixth as Manheim loaded the bases with no outs on BJ Fisher’s four-pitch walk and back-to-back singles by Chad Neely and Bruckhart.

The next batter, Caleb Weaver, hit a fly ball to right field, but Fisher was unable to score from third.

“(BJ) said the umpire was in his way and he just couldn’t get a view of the right fielder enough to figure out when he caught the ball to be able to go,” Lyons recalled.

From there, Dippolito struck out Loser and Jake Novak to escape the jam. For the game, Manheim left 12 runners on base.

“We didn’t get that one hit that we needed,” Lyons said. “We made a couple of mental mistakes … It was a tough one. We had them beat for five, six innings and couldn’t pull it out.”

The missed opportunities loomed large when GS rallied in the bottom of the sixth. Torreulla singled to center leading off, Heilman sacrificed, Leid coaxed a six-pitch free pass, and then after Petersheim popped out, Finkey followed with his infield hit.

It was a tough-luck loss for Rohrer, who allowed just one earned run on five hits, while striking out three and walking two.

“(Taylor) pitched a whale of a game and we tried as much as possible to stay away from Kauffman and Torreulla and he did a great job with them,” Lyons said. “He did a great job keeping them off base except for the sixth inning when AT got on and scored what turned out to be the winning run.”

Spot lefty Ryan Smith got the win in relief, striking out three and walking one. He yielded four hits, including back-to-back singles by Tyler Lyons and Starner in the top of the seventh. But Smith then got Eberly and Fisher on fielder’s choice ground balls to seal Garden Spot’s victory.

“Not a lot to say at that point,” Lyons said. “We’ve gone through five, six losses, so they’ve heard everything I’ve had to say and they know losing in the bottom of the sixth was a tough one. We just kept it short (in the post-game huddle) and told them to thank their parents for their time and getting them to practice and we told them we appreciated their effort.”

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