Manheim VFW starts title defense with win

By on June 20, 2018
Manheim’s Brady Cunningham keeps his eye on the ball as he connects for a base hit in Monday’s win over the St. Leo Lions. Photo by Missi Mortimer

Manheim’s Brady Cunningham keeps his eye on the ball as he connects for a base hit in Monday’s win over the St. Leo Lions. Photo by Missi Mortimer

The Manheim 10-&-Under baseball team cleared the first hurdle Monday evening in its quest to repeat as Lancaster County Youth Baseball League Section One champions.

The 2nd-seeded VFW (13-3 League, 20-5 overall) outscored the 7th-seed St. Leo Lions (7-9, 8-9) by a 7-4 score at Snyder Park Field in Clay Township. Game time temperature was 93 degrees as even the slight breeze from left to right field felt like an open furnace door.

“We have four boys on the team from last year’s championship team,” VFW head coach Rob Kyle said. “They’ve been talking all year long that they want to repeat.”

Manheim struck first, plating four runs in the bottom of the second, keyed by an RBI single from Cody Hess and a two-run double off the bat of Chase Book, as all nine hitters came to the plate.

Following starting pitcher Carter Kyle’s third straight shutdown inning in the top of the third, the VFW pushed two more runs across in their half of the inning, giving them a seemingly comfortable 6-0 lead after three complete.

Jacob Hess led off the frame with a triple, then dashed home on a wild pitch. Sam Murray’s ground out drove home the second run of the inning.

Five of the team’s seven hits and three other hard hit outs were up the middle or to center field, as explained by coach Kyle.

“They’re staying on the ball and just driving it where the ball is pitched,” he said. “If they’re in the middle of the plate, we’ve got to drive them back up the middle.”

Carter Kyle and Colin Connelly each had two hits, while Book drove in three and Asher Martin scored twice to lead the offense.

The Lions did make things interesting in the top of the fourth as the first six hitters reached safely on an error, four walks and the only St. Leo hit of the game, a single to right field by Peyton Englert. The tough luck pitcher for much of the inning was lefty Jacob Hess.

Book relieved with the bases loaded, finally shutting down the threat with the lead at 6-4. Then when the Manheim VFW scored their seventh run in the bottom of the fifth on a bases-loaded walk, the final score was complete.

Book gave way to Cody Hess with two outs in the sixth, as Coach Kyle had his eye on the next round of the playoffs.

“He (Book) was one pitch away from being ineligible for Thursday’s game, so I took him out to save him,” he said.

That Thursday contest will also be at Snyder Park against the winner of Tuesday evening’s match -up between the 3rd-seeded Ephrata Merlins and 6th-seeded Mountville Cubs.

If it is Ephrata, Kyle acknowledges that the two clubs have already had several battles this season.

“We’ve played Ephrata four times,” he remarked. “Manheim was the Ephrata Tournament champs. Ephrata was the Manheim Tournament champs. I expect to see them at some point in these playoffs.”




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