Chryslers cruise past Lancaster in home opener

By on June 15, 2016

 

Ephrata’s Nate Fassnacht (left) watches the ball sail off his bat during Tuesday’s District 10 legion game vs. Lancaster. Fassnacht circled the bases on the play for a two-run, inside-the-park home run. (Photo by Stan Hall)

Ephrata’s Nate Fassnacht (left) watches the ball sail off his bat during Tuesday’s District 10 legion game vs. Lancaster. Fassnacht circled the bases on the play for a two-run, inside-the-park home run. (Photo by Stan Hall)

With several of its recent graduates off at Senior Week, the Ephrata Post 429 American Legion team used a mixed-and-matched lineup Tuesday in its home opener vs. Lancaster.

But it was business as usual for the Chryslers as they cruised to a 6-1 victory, their second in as many games, vs. Lancaster.

Offensively, the recent grads who did play Tuesday made their presence felt. Chase Weik went 2-for-2 with a double and knocked in two runs while Evan Frees added a double and an RBI.

Nate Fassnacht (two hits) then delivered the knockout blow in the fifth, ripping a two-run, inside-the-park home run to dead center field in the fifth to balloon a 3-1 Ephrata advantage to 5-1.

Gavilan Fogarty-Harnish, a college-age player on the mound for the first time since last summer, overcame some early struggles to go five innings and allow just one run en route to the victory. Austin Lowery closed it out with a pair of scoreless innings in the sixth and seventh.“We were missing some guys and that’s kind of the nature of the beginning of the season,” Ephrata Coach Derek Sipe said. “We still had guys that were comfortable in their positions and comfortable in the lineup so I expect them to still perform. We could have had some better at bats but overall it was OK.”

Perhaps the biggest at-bats were provided by Weik, who delivered an RBI single in the bottom of the first before Frees also knocked in a run to give the Chryslers a 2-0 lead.

Then in the third, Weik ripped another pitch to the gap in right field that went for a double which brought home Fassnacht, who had singled earlier to put Ephrata up 3-1.

“Being in games it’s important to get ahead and find early runs to take the lead, especially against teams in our league,” Sipe said. “They know we are traditionally strong, and when we get up on them it kind of demoralizes them as a unit. But both of Chase’s swings were big swings and important swings for us to kind of settle the guys, especially with younger guys in the lineup. They were able to take a breath and know that some of the older guys are coming through in those tough situations.”

Leading 5-1 after Fassnacht’s bomb, Ephrata tacked on the final run of the night in the sixth when Frees led off with his double, moved to third and then came home on Rick Bromirski’s RBI groundout.

With the win, Ephrata improved to 3-0 in District 10 play, which included a forfeit win over Marietta Sunday. With their other horses scheduled to return at the end of the week, Sipe feels once again his team could be primed for a terrific regular season and post-season later this summer.

“I think when we have all our guys we are very strong,” he said. “I expect to be competitive whether we are missing guys or not. But with everybody here we have a chance to be a very special team. If we can come together and play good ball at the right time I think we have the opportunity to have a very successful and long summer.”

Ephrata opened the District 10 season last Thursday with an 11-7 victory on the road at Lancaster.

Adam Schwartz delivered an RBI early before Paul Lowrie knocked in a pair of runs to give the Chryslers a 4-0 lead.

The middle of the Ephrata order was perfect on the night as Dillon Good and Tyler Keppley combined to go 7-for-7 with three doubles, six RBI and five runs scored.

Lowery earned the victory on the hill.

Up next, Ephrata travels to Columbia Saturday (4 p.m.) before playing a pair of non-league games vs. Falls and Hatfield (both at Falls) Sunday at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

The Chrysler return to District 10 action next Tuesday when they host Lititz in a doubleheader at War Memorial, with Game One beginning at 6 p.m.

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