Section Three title hopes put on hold

By on May 10, 2017
Manheim Central junior left-hander Taylor Rohrer pitched seven shutout innings and struck out 13 in a 3-0 win over Cocalico on Monday. Photo by Casey Kreider

Manheim Central’s Taylor Rohrer pitched 7 shutout innings and struck out 13 in a 3-0 win over Cocalico on Monday, May 8.

With opportunity to clinch, MC falls to ELCO

The stakes were pretty high on Monday.

With first-place Manheim Central knocking on the door of back-to-back Section Three titles, and holding a slim one-game lead over Garden Spot, they couldn’t afford any letup.

Enter Baron junior ace lefty Taylor Rohrer.

All he did against Section rival Cocalico was establish a new career-high in strikeouts with 13, while tossing a six-hit masterpiece, as the Barons shut out the Eagles 3-0 in Denver.

“(Taylor) loves pitching in big games,” Manheim Central coach Matt Huber said. “A couple of outings we didn’t give him enough run support, but today we got him three runs and thankfully he was pitching awesome because that’s all we needed.”

“I love (big games),” said Rohrer, a George Washington University recruit. “It makes you feel like you’re in control of the game and it’s up to you.”

The Barons had another big game on Tuesday, and with an opportunity to clinch the Section crown, they fell short in a 4-1 loss to ELCO.

That dropped Manheim Central (12-4 L-L, 13-4 overall) into a tie for first place in the loss column with Garden Spot (11-4 L-L). If the Spartans beat winless Lebanon Catholic on Wednesday after deadline, Spot and Manheim Central would meet in a one-game playoff for the title on Thursday.

In their loss to the Raiders, the Barons pulled even 1-1 in the bottom of the third, as Tyler Simon walked and scored on Tyler Lutz’s RBI single.

But ELCO scored single runs in the fourth, fifth and seventh innings, and MC managed only four hits off of pitcher Clay Hain.

Drew Mummau took the complete-game loss for the Barons, striking out one, walking one, and scattering six base hits.

On Monday, Central reached Cocalico senior right-hander Tyler Stricker for nine hits and scored all three of their runs with two outs. Lutz was 3-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI’s to lead the way.

“Fantastic,” Huber said. “Just a senior stepping up. (Taylor) doesn’t want denied.”

The Barons weren’t denied in the top of the first inning, as Tyler Simon was hit by a pitch with one out, stole second and scored on Lutz’s RBI double to right-center field.

But thanks to back-to-back-to-back one-out infield hits by Drew Sawyer, Nick Lucky (3-for-3), and Austin Harven, Cocalico was in business in the bottom of that inning.

“It seemed like everything was going their way,” Rohrer recalled. “I was hoping that would soon change and it did.”

Indeed. Rohrer struck out DH Tyler Keppley, then got an inning-ending fielder’s choice grounder by Brandon Eberly to pitch out of trouble.

“The way (Taylor) rebounded from the first inning (was most impressive),” Huber said. “We talk about things that are outside of your control and he gave up three cheap infield hits, and with one out, he was able to battle back, get out of it, not feel sorry for himself and I think that strength and confidence carried on the rest of the game.”

Keeping the Eagles off-balance with a nasty curve while also locating his fastball, Rohrer limited Cocalico to just three hits the rest of the way and struck out the side in the second, fourth, and seventh innings. While firing exactly 100 pitches he threw first-pitch strikes to 17 of the 27 batters he faced.

Combined with his one-hit shutout in a 7-0 win against Cocalico in Manheim on April 12, Rohrer is 2-0, 0.00 ERA with 23 K’s in 14 innings against the Eagles this spring.

“I just seem to have a lot of success with them,” said Rohrer, whose previous career high in strikeouts was 11 against Northern Lebanon earlier this season. “Coach says they don’t like lefties, so that might be a big part of it.”

Cocalico coach Mike Bertolino said his players needed to have a better approach against Rohrer.

“I think that (approach) contributes to some of those negative counts that we’re in and things like that and then it’s just a matter of execution,” Bertolino said. “I’ll give Taylor a ton of credit. He executed, no doubt about that. He’s a good pitcher. I’ll go a step further. I think he’s a great pitcher. And against those guys, you can’t give them that many opportunities and we did, and you see what happens. But that’s all approach.”

Rohrer’s counterpart Stricker, who finished with seven K’s and one walk, whiffed the first two batters he faced in the third, but then Lutz doubled to left-center and scored on Bryce Eberly’s single just inside the third base bag to make it 2-0.

“I’m glad we had a great two-out approach,” Huber smiled.

That two-out approach continued in the seventh. Simon (1-for-2, 2 HBP) singled to right, chasing Stricker with 101 pitches, and then Nate Loser greeted reliever Nathaniel Martin with an infield single and Lutz singled to left, extending the Barons’ advantage to 3-0.

That was plenty for Rohrer, who yielded a leadoff single to Cocalico’s Brandon Eberly in the bottom of the seventh inning.

“That was frustrating,” Rohrer said.

But the Barons’ lefty proceeded to strike out Brady Sawyer, Drew Myers and Stricker to end it.

“Taylor pitched awesome,” Huber said.

*****

Last Wednesday, May 3, the Barons capitalized on a six-run second-inning outburst to beat Lebanon 9-2 in a Section Three game.

The Cedars took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first, but it was all Manheim Central from there.

Tyler Simon started and got the win, pitching four innings before handing the ball to Trevor Hosler. Simon K’d three and walked three, while Hosler struck out four and issue one free pass.

The Barons only outhit Lebanon 5-4, but they took advantage of nine walks from Lebanon.

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