Quarryville rallies from big deficit to beat Lititz, 13-9

By on June 17, 2015

 

Lititz shortstop Matt Cover forces Solanco base runner Tag Hess at second and fires to first looking to complete a double play last Sunday. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

Lititz shortstop Matt Cover forces Solanco base runner Tag Hess at second and fires to first looking to complete a double play last Sunday. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

For a moment or two on Sunday, Seth Earle’s drive to right field seemed to have a real shot of getting over the head of Quarryville right fielder Josh Kreider.

Lititz, trailing by a run, 9-8, but threatening with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the sixth inning, briefly got its hopes raised about re-capturing the lead.

But it wasn’t to be.

Kreider made a nice play to glove the ball, limiting Earle to just a sacrifice fly to drive in Matt Cover from third base with the tying run, and then pitcher Tag Hess escaped further trouble.

“That kinda took the wind out of our sails,” Lititz center fielder Grant Zimmerman said. “We had a big opportunity and we didn’t really score as much as we would have liked.”

Having dodged that scare, Quarryville put together a four-run rally in the top of the seventh, highlighted by Tony Osborne’s bases-loaded double to left field, and held on to win 13-9 in a District 10 American Legion baseball game in Lititz.

It was a particularly tough loss for the Post 56’ers to swallow considering they had a big 8-0 lead after two innings against Quarryville starter Bailey Keys.

“When you go up 8-0, you think you can kinda relax and you assume that you’re going to win the game. And then they started getting some big hits, it’s 8-3 and then it’s 8-5 and all of a sudden you’re in a tie game,” Zimmerman said. “They really hit the ball and it definitely hurt to lose that one.”

The second game of the doubleheader was postponed due to rain and rescheduled for this Sunday, June 21 at 3 p.m. in Quarryville.

Stuart Kaplan, the third of three pitchers used by Lititz (1-2), suffered the loss in relief. Hess tossed five innings out of the ‘pen for Quarryville (3-2) and picked up the win, surrendering just one run on two hits and two walks while striking out five.

Quarryville was a long shot to win after Lititz took command in the early innings. In the bottom of the first, the Post 56’ers put their first two men on base courtesy of Tyler Martin’s (2-for-2, 2 runs) single to center and Michael Perezous’ six-pitch walk.

Key retired the next two batters, but then Zimmerman (2-for-4, 2 runs, 3 RBI’s) ripped an 0-2 pitch back through the middle for a two-run base hit.

“Early in the count, (Keys) was hitting spots with his fastball,” Zimmerman recalled. “So I was ready for the fastball, but also keeping in mind that he had a curve-ball. He brought a low curve, I stayed back on it and just drove it to center.”

The Post 56’ers scored their third run of the inning on an RBI double to right-center by Zach Peters (2-for-3, 3 RBI’s).

For the game, Martin, Zimmerman and Peters led Lititz’s offense with two hits apiece.

In the second, Lititz send nine men to the plate and tacked on five more runs off of Keys, who threw 30 of his 54 pitches in that frame. With one out, Cover walked, Martin dropped a bunt single, Perezous singled to left and Luke Hackman’s bases loaded walk forced in a run.

Following Earle’s sac fly to left, Zimmerman stroked an RBI single to left, and Peters delivered a two-run single to center, just beyond the reach of Quarryville second baseman Phil Probst.

Meanwhile, Lititz starter Tyler Shirk, who worked out of a bases-loaded two-out jam in the first, had thrown just 21 pitches through two innings.

But Quarryville reached him for three runs in the third on Hess’ (2-for-4) and Probst’s (2-for-3, 3 RBI’s, 2 runs) two-run double to right-center.

Then the visitors responded with their own five-run rally in the top of the fourth to pull even. Keys had a two-run triple to center, Dawson Gote and Tony Osborne (2-for-5, 4 RBI’s) added RBI singles, and Probst stroked a run-scoring double.

Shirk, who finished with 66 pitches in four innings, surrendered eight runs on eight hits, three hit batters, and two walks, while striking out three in sun-baked conditions.

“(Tyler) was feeling a little bit of exhaustion,” Zimmerman acknowledged, “but I think also his arm was bothering him a little bit and I don’t think he was totally 100 percent. But I don’t think pitchers really like to admit that too much. They want to be out there and help the team as best they can.”

For Quarryville, the left-handed throwing Hess put out the fire to give his team a chance to rally, retiring nine of the first 10 batters he faced.

“He threw with decent velocity, but he really hit his spots well,” Zimmerman said, “and late in the count when he got ahead, he’d go to his curve-ball and that was very effective in keeping us off-balance.”

Quarryville grabbed a 9-8 lead in the top of the sixth off of reliever Cover as Keys singled and later scored on a wild pitch.

But Lititz finally scored off of Hess in the bottom of the frame. Cover’s bunt single got things started and then Martin reached on a two-base throwing error by Quarryville shortstop Brady Thomas. After Hackman worked a one-out walk to load the bases, Earle’s sac fly, on Kreider’s nice running catch in deep right, tied it 9-9.

“(Kreider) made a nice play over his head,” Zimmerman said.

It took another web gem from left fielder Jarrett McGuire to rob Zimmerman, keeping the ball game knotted at 9-all going to the seventh.

“I hit it in the gap, I thought I hit the gap, and they made another nice play on it,” Zimmerman said.

In the final frame, Thomas coaxed a four-pitch walk from Kaplan leading off. After a wild pitch and Hess’ sacrifice, Keys’ intentional walk put runners at the corners. With Lititz’ infield drawn in, shortstop Cover made a nice play on a soft flare from Gote, and then Probst was intentionally walked to load the bases. Kaplan then threw a first-pitch strike to Osborne, but Quarryville’s No. 6 hitter doubled to left field on the next offering to clear the bags.

“With one of their bigger hitters coming up, we thought we’d walk him to get the force out,” Zimmerman said. “… That happens in baseball &tstr; you don’t always make the pitches you want and the kid drove it to left and scored three runs.”

Osborne scored the final run of the inning on the back-end of a double steal.

Lititz got a runner on base in the bottom of the seventh on Ben Keyser’s one-walk, but Hess retired the next two batters on punch-outs to end it.

Last Wednesday, June 10, Cover was dominant through five innings, allowing just one hit, while Hackman went 2-for-2 with a home run. double and three RBI’s while leading Lititz in an 11-0 drubbing of Columbia.

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