Wiederrecht sparks Barons in 7-6 win over the Bucks

By on March 25, 2015
Manheim Central second baseman Mitchell Shenk (12) congratulates Dan Weiderrecht (5) for his outstanding throw to the plate in the bottom of the first inning at Conestoga Valley. (Photo by Mike Shull)

Manheim Central second baseman Mitchell Shenk (12) congratulates Dan Weiderrecht (5) for his outstanding throw to the plate in the bottom of the first inning at Conestoga Valley. (Photo by Mike Shull)

The season has changed, but Manheim Central’s Dan Wiederrecht hasn’t.

Less than three weeks ago, he was a key starting player on the Barons’ basketball team which advanced to the second round of the PIAA State Triple-A playoffs.

These days, the MC senior is making an impact on the baseball diamond.

Just ask Conestoga Valley.

On Tuesday in Witmer, all Wiederrecht did was go 4-for-5 at the top of the lineup and record two outfield assists, one of those coming when he snared a shoestring catch in center and then doubled a base runner off second to thwart a fourth-inning bases-loaded threat by the Buckskins.

“He was a game-changer,” Barons’ skipper Matt Huber said.

No arguing that.

Those runs Wiederrecht saved looked big when Conestoga Valley had the potential tying run on base in the bottom of the seventh inning.

But Baron reliever Tanner Fahnestock got Kyle Lapp to fly out to &tstr; who else? Wiederrecht &tstr; and Manheim Central held on for a 7-6 non-league victory in its season opener.

The game wasn’t without its frustrations for the Barons, who left the bases loaded in the first, fifth and seventh inning and stranded 13 runners on base. But for Central, a win is a win.

“After the game, we talked about being able to deliver the knockout blow,” Huber said. “Without a doubt, there definitely were some opportunities that we left on the table. But for our first game in 35-degree weather, on an away field, we were pleased to come out of there with a win. Credit Conestoga Valley’s coaching staff and players for fighting until the end.”

Blake Reiff &tstr; another player who saw key minutes for the Barons’ hoops team &tstr; also had plenty of fight. Starting on the hill and dealing with a limited pitch count, the senior right-hander went 3 1/3 innings and left with a 6-1 lead. He struck out three, walked none and scattered seven hits.

As Huber noted, it wasn’t by chance that Reiff and Wiederrecht were at the center of things.

“They are (winners),” the Barons’ boss said. “With their instincts, they have a game mode that they just turn on from tip-off to the end of the game or first pitch to the end of the game and that’s what we love about them.”

A three-run rally in the top of the second inning off of Buckskins’ lefty starter Nick Higgins put the Barons in early control. Fahnestock reached on a fielder’s choice, Wiederrecht singled, Frank Bowman walked and then Reiff helped his own cause by crushing a two-out, bases-clearing double to right-center field.

The Barons then got to Higgins for two more runs in the third on Fahnestock’s RBI fielder’s choice and Chad Neely’s RBI base hit, pushing the lead to 5-0.

For the game, Buckskin pitchers Higgins, Victor Montgomery and JJ Wolosyn combined to issue 10 free passes. Two of those were costly in the top of the fourth, as Reiff and Kevin Starner walked, then pulled off a double steal and Peter Breit followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 6-0.

Reiff retired one batter in the bottom of the fourth inning, but then freshman Taylor Rohrer was summoned from the bullpen with the bases loaded.

“We’re very happy he had a great basketball post-season, but due to that, we just haven’t had as much time for him to throw,” Huber said. “We just wanted to be cautious. For this time of year, as much as we wanted to win the first game, we weren’t willing to put his arm on the line.”

Conestoga Valley ended up getting one back in the fourth, but it could have been worse if not for the heroics of Wiederrecht in center field.

“(Dan)’s going to be our workhorse, he’s going to be our sparkplug at the top of the lineup,” Huber said. “He’s got to cover a lot of ground defensively and it showed today … I think we all know Dan is a special player and only having him for two and a half weeks in the pre-season and to come out and have a game like he had today was just fabulous. You could tell he wanted the ball hit to him and he’s a gamer.”

Reiff’s bases-loaded walk in the top of the fifth &tstr; one of his three free passes &tstr; gave the Barons an insurance run. It looked huge when the Bucks made things interesting in the bottom of the inning, capitalizing on Jordan Yoder’s (4-for-4, double) two-run base hit and Jared Duffy’s (2-for-4) RBI base hit in a four-run rally which cut Manheim Central’s lead to 7-5.

It remained that way going to the seventh.

There, Fahnestock got Kelvin Reyes to fly out, but Yoder doubled and went to third on Mark Groff’s base hit. Duffy K’d, but Reyes scored on a passed ball and Groff advanced into scoring position. But could finally exhale when Lapp hit his game-ending fly out to center field.

“Ironically, a fly ball to Dan … fitting,” Huber said.


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