Chryslers’ ride ends

By on July 20, 2016

 

 Ephrata starter Adam Schwartz delivers the pitch against Dallastown Tuesday in the Region 4 Tournament at Greene Twp. Park in Fayetteville. The Chryslers saw their season come to a close with a 9-1 loss. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

Ephrata starter Adam Schwartz delivers the pitch against Dallastown Tuesday in the Region 4 Tournament at Greene Twp. Park in Fayetteville. The Chryslers saw their season come to a close with a 9-1 loss. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

Dallastown’s Tye Golden had a day Tuesday afternoon in the Region 4 American Legion Tournament at Greene Twp. Park in Fayetteville.

Unfortunately for Ephrata, it came at the expense of the Chryslers, who got this tournament off to a strong start only to fall short in the end.

Ephrata was eliminated from tournament play Tuesday, and Golden’s bat was a big reason why. Golden went a home run short of the cycle, going 3-for-4 with a double and a triple and four RBI to lead his team past the Chryslers 9-1 in an elimination game.

Earlier Tuesday, the Chryslers suffered their first loss of the tourney with the completion of a game against Carlisle, which was cut short Monday night due to darkness with the Cumberland County runners-up leading 10-4 after seven innings when the game was called. It ended that way Tuesday as all six Chryslers who came to the plate were retired by reliever Jake Sweeney.

With it’s victory, Dallastown, which avenged an earlier 5-1 loss to Ephrata, will advance to Tuesday’s 1 p.m. game vs. Hampden Township, which knocked off Carlisle in Tuesday’s nightcap by a 4-2 score. The winner of that game will move on to face Carlisle in a winner-take-all final Wednesday, beginning at 5 p.m.

The champion that emerges will represent Region 4 at the State Tournament to be held at Boyertown July 26-30.

As for Ephrata, which last won the Region 4 tourney in 2012 but has qualified for the tournament six-straight years, closed out the year at 19-5.

“It was another good year,” Ephrata Coach Derek Sipe said following Tuesday’s finale. “It’s about having fun, learning the fundamentals and playing good baseball, and if success comes with that, then it does. It’s nice to take that step beyond what you did the year before, but we seem to be stalling at this point the last couple years. But another top four finish in the region…I thought this was the year that we’d get over the hump but it just didn’t come together at the end.”

Tuesday looked as though it would turn into a pitcher’s duel early on as both starters, Adam Schwartz of Ephrata and Nick Parker of Dallastown, came out dealing.

Schwartz allowed just a lead-off single to Golden in the second but breezed through two frames while Parker retired the side in order the first three innings.

But it began to unravel for Schwartz and Ephrata in the home half of the third when Dallastown sent eight men to the plate and scored five runs to take a commanding 5-0 lead.

Regis Maher reached on an error to start the inning before Schwartz walked the next two batters to load the bases. Catcher Cody Somerville then ripped a solid single to left to plate two runs and give his team the lead. But Dallastown wasn’t done as Riley Hamberger was hit by a pitch to re-load the bases before Golden cleared them with a three-run triple to right field.

“I thought Adam looked really good the first two innings,” Sipe said. “But then he just seemed to lose his command a little bit. He had to take a little bit off his pitches to try to get them over for strikes and when he did that they took advantage by driving the ball in the gaps. But I think it mostly comes back to him losing his command and not being able to locate like he did the first couple innings.”

The Ephrata bats finally woke up in the fourth as Nick Lucky, who went 3-for-4 on the day, ripped a one-out single to right before Dillon Good followed with an infield hit. But Ephrata failed to cash in, and that would start a theme as the Chryslers left a total of 10 men on base in the fourth through seventh innings.

“We just couldn’t get that key hit, especially with runners in scoring position,” Sipe said. “We seemed to be able to get a guy to second a lot but then just couldn’t find the guy to drive them in. When you are down five runs, you need hits to get back in it. You are not going to be able to play our (small ball) game and get one at a time to get back in. You need big innings with big hits and we just weren’t able to get the hits we needed.”

Good relieved Schwartz in the fourth, but he too ran into trouble in the fifth as Dallastown plated two more runs, courtesy of an RBI triple by Golden and a single to left by Parker, which scored Golden, to make it 7-0.

Ephrata did finally get on the board in the sixth on an RBI single by Weik, who drove home Lucky with his team’s first and only run. However, Dallastown tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the inning to make it 9-1 and put this one in the books.

Parker got the win with seven strong innings, striking out 10 and walking four while scattering six Ephrata hits. Schwartz (2Ks, 2 BBs) took the loss.

For a number of reasons, Ephrata was missing key players throughout this tournament and Sipe had to mix-and-match his lineup each day, including Tuesday.

“I thought we played well for the most part and represented ourselves well the last two weeks in both tournaments that we were in,” Sipe said. “We were missing some guys and I thought the young guys stepped up and filled some shoes but it’s a shame we weren’t able to get a full lineup here at any point of the tournament. Of the four games we played in regionals, we were missing at least four starters in every game. When you are missing guys, it’s going to catch up to you eventually. You can win a couple games and grind through a couple but we were just forced to play such perfect games each time in order to win because of guys being missing or other guys playing out of their normal positions.”

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Monday night against Carlisle before the game was suspended in the seventh, Ephrata took a 1-0 lead in the third on Lucky’s RBI ground out. However, Carlisle responded with three runs in the bottom of the inning, two coming off RBI doubles by Braydon Lippert and Hunter Swartz off Weik, the Ephrata starter.

The Chryslers did reclaim the lead with a three-run fifth inning. Brian Wentz drove in a run before Good knocked in two more with a double off the wall to make it 4-3 Ephrata.

But Carlisle would not be denied as they came from behind to score three runs in the fifth to grab the lead for good before adding four additional runs in the sixth to claim the 10-4 lead.

Two of the Carlisle runs in the sixth came on a key throwing error by Ephrata.

“We did a poor job of limiting the runs in those innings,’’ Sipe said. “That’s one thing we pride ourselves on, giving up just one run, maybe two, but no more than that. That was uncharacteristic of our team. We made a couple of mental mistakes.’’

Weik went 2-for-3 to pace Ephrata

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Sunday afternoon vs. Hampden Twp., Ephrata got a complete-game effort from pitcher Austin Lowery while Good smacked a three-run home run.

It all added up to a convincing 7-1 victory at Greene Township Park.

With the game tied at 1-1 after six innings, Lucky led off the seventh for Ephrata with a deep fly to left that went for a two-base error on Hampden left fielder Alex Staton.

Nate Fassnacht bunted to move the runner to third, but the ball stopped dead in fair territory for a single.

Justin Carvell came up and hit another deep fly to left. At first, umpires awarded Carvell a home run, but Staton indicated that the ball bounced over the fence for a ground-rule double.

After the play, the field umpire ran out to left looking for evidence that the ball had bounced before going over the fence. He found it and Carvell returned to second base.

The double drove in Lucky and Good came up next. There was no doubt about his fly to left as he deposited a 1-1 pitch over the leftfield fence for a three-run homer.

“(Hampden starter Joey Cuomo) hadn’t thrown a curveball before getting two strikes in my previous two at-bats, so I was definitely looking fastball,’’ Good said. “In that at-bat, I had him timed-up. When you have a guy timed-up like that, it becomes a lot easier.’’

“I told the team that I think we won the game in the first three or four innings,’’ Sipe said. “We made (Cuomo) work a lot of deep counts and tired him out a bit. The more pitches our guys saw, the more they felt comfortable.’’

Ephrata tacked on another run in the seventh when Weik scored from second on an error at second base.

Lowrey, who picked up the complete-game win in the District 10 championship game last week, struck out three and didn’t issue a walk.

“Austin’s off-speed stuff was really good today,’’ said Carvell, Ephrata’s catcher. “He got ahead early and they couldn’t hit the off-speed pitches that broke in the dirt.’’

Lowrey allowed an RBI groundout after Staton tripled in the first inning. He scattered eight hits after that.

“I got a feel early that my pitches were tight and hitting the corners,’’ he said. “I knew (off-speed pitches) were going to be my go-to today.’’

Ephrata center fielder Wentz made a diving catch to snare a sinking liner for the third out in the second inning. Carvell led the Ephrata offense, going 3-for-4 with a walk and three RBI.

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Despite missing six players out of their regular lineup, Ephrata rolled past Dallastown 5-1 in the opener of the tournament Saturday afternoon at Fayetteville Fire Company Field.

The Chryslers got a big effort from pitcher Gavilan Fogarty-Harnish, who went the distance and allowed just one run and eight hits with eight strikeouts and a pair of walks.

Fogarty-Harnish ran into trouble in each of the first three frames but settled in from there, finishing with 120 pitches in the nine-inning win.

“It’s huge to get a complete game on the first day of the tournament,” Sipe said. “His pitch count was a little high in the first three innings and it had me worried a little. But he settled in after that and seemed to get stronger as he went along.”

Ephrata also got some quality defense from three of it’s substitute starters. Zach McGillan handled all four of his chances at third base. Ashton Sensenig was flawless at second base and made an outstanding diving stop up the middle in the second inning. Then in the ninth with one runner aboard, Ricky Bromirski ran down a deep drive to the wall in dead centerfield to help thwart a possible late rally.

“I thought those guys stepped up bigtime,” Sipe said. “They were in a little different role and had higher expectations…batted in different spots in the lineup but they looked like they belonged. It’s always the next guy up, and if you go out there and compete, it’s the same game no matter what level you are playing at. I thought they were ready to play, they were prepared for it and I thought they executed exactly what they needed to do.”

After dancing out of trouble in both the first and the second, Fogarty-Harnish got some runs to work with when the offense plated three runs in the top of the third to grab the 3-0 lead.

Bromirski (0-for-3) was hit by a pitch to lead off before Fassnacht followed with a single to center and Carvell drew a walk to load the bases with nobody out.

Bromirski would then score the first run of the game on a throwing error by Dallastown second baseman Nick Parker. Then with two outs, Zach Roberts delivered a clutch two-run single to center to score both Fassnacht and Carvell.

Dallastown did get one run back in the bottom of the third when Hamberger reach on an infield single and came home on a one-out RBI single off the bat of Golden.

Ephrata added a run in the sixth to make it 4-1 when Roberts led off with a double, was sacrificed to third and scored on Sensenig’s fielder’s choice ground out.

Meanwhile, Fogarty-Harnish was dealing, pitching with the lead. He allowed just two baserunners between the fourth and eighth innings, retiring the side in four of those five frames.

Ephrata did tack on its final run of the game in the top of the ninth when Bromirski drew a lead-off walk and later came around to score on an RBI single by Evan Frees.

In the bottom of the ninth, Dallastown did get a pair of runners on base. But after Bromirski’s catch in centerfield, Fogarty Harnish struck out Keegan Wolf before getting Hamberger on a fly to left to end it.

Offensively, Ephrata was out-hit 8-5. Roberts led the Chryslers with a 2-for-4 effort. Hamberger had three hits to pace Dallastown.

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