Chryslers clicking on all cylinders heading to playoffs

By on July 10, 2019

Carry 11-game win streak into the post-season

Ephrata’s Dagen Young dives for a ball during a recent game held at Reading’s First Energy Stadium. Young and the Chryslers will begin post-season play this week. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

Ephrata’s Dagen Young dives for a ball during a recent game held at Reading’s First Energy Stadium. Young and the Chryslers will begin post-season play this week. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

 

After the District 10 American Legion League folded following last season, the Ephrata Chryslers were fortunate enough to join the Lebanon County League this year.

And while there has been the normal adjustment period, playing teams you’ve rarely faced before, it’s been pretty much status quo for the Chryslers.

Ephrata, which owned District 10 in recent years, claiming seven league titles in the last eight seasons, took its first step toward a possible Lebanon League crown Sunday night, clinching the East Division title with a 15-0 victory at Fredericksburg.

Dagen Young and Brendan Martin combined for the shutout win on the mound.

With the win, the Chryslers (14-3 league, 22-5 overall) also clinched one of the four berths into the upcoming Lebanon League playoffs, which were tentatively scheduled to open Wednesday night.

Ephrata will face the yet to be determined West Division runner-up in a best of three series while West Division champ Campbelltown will square off against East Division runner-up Myerstown.

As division champs, both Ephrata and Campbelltown will be the home teams in their respective series’ in Games One and Three.

Now whether or not Ephrata starts the playoffs Wednesday or Thursday depends if second place in the West Division was decided Tuesday. Fredericksburg (6-10), which trailed idle Annville (7-10) for second place, needed to beat 5th Ward (4-10) Tuesday. A Fredericksburg loss would put Annville in and on the road at Ephrata Wednesday. If Fredericksburg defeated 5th Ward, they would then force a one-game playoff with Annville Wednesday, and Ephrata would open the playoffs vs. the winner of that game Thursday at War Memorial.

The playoff semifinals will run in consecutive days until two finalists are determined. The finals would then follow over the next three days until a champion is crowned.

One thing that is for certain— no team enters the post-season hotter than Ephrata, which won it’s 11th-straight game in a 13-1 victory at Myerstown in the regular-season finale Monday.

Justin Byler and Colby Martin both hit home runs to key the victory.

Ephrata added a pair of wins in Connecticut this past weekend and also claimed a forfeit victory over Richland last Wednesday which resulted in the 200th career coaching win for Coach Derek Sipe, who said the playoffs couldn’t arrive at a better time for his squad.

“We were on a three-game skid two weeks ago, and after the third loss we talked about what has made us successful over the eight, nine years that we’ve been coaching, and it all comes back to pitching and defense,” Sipe said. “I just think we all bought into that a little bit more since then. The pitching and defense have been phenomenal during this 11-game winning streak. We know our offense is capable of scoring a lot of runs, but we got to get back to limiting teams and opportunities on their offensive side of the ball. I think we really bought into that, as well as some of the tournaments and some of the traveling and some of the games that we’ve played in the last two weeks. The chemistry on this team is really developing. I think we’re at the exact spot you want your team heading into the playoffs.”

As host of the upcoming Region 4 Tournament to be held July 19-23, Ephrata has received an automatic bid to regionals. All games will be played at War Memorial Field, beginning with four games (11 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.) on Friday, July 19.

Volunteers still are needed for the regional tournament. If anyone is interested in helping out in any capacity, e-mail Sipe at: dsipe18@gmail.com.

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