Chryslers get off to ‘Good’ start

By on July 26, 2017
Dillon Good, who did not allow a hit in five-plus innings, delivers a pitch during his outstanding performance.

Dillon Good, who did not allow a hit in five-plus innings, delivers a pitch during his outstanding performance.

Dominant pitching, solid hitting lead to 9-4 win in State opener

There seemed to be only one thing in doubt Tuesday night in Ephrata’s opener of the State Tournament vs. Beech Creek at War Memorial Field.

Ephrata had built a 9-0 lead and starter Dillon Good was dealing. In fact, he had gone five-plus frames without allowing a hit with nine strikeouts and two walks.

But as he approached his 75th pitch, Ephrata Coach Derek Sipe was faced with the difficult decision. Allow him to go on and be done for the rest of the tournament, or take him out at 75 pitches and be eligible to throw again later in the tournament should Ephrata continue to advance.

Turns out, it was a no-brainer on both Sipe’s and Good’s account.

Sipe took him out with two outs in the sixth and four other pitchers combined the rest of the way as the Chryslers won an impressive 9-4 decision over the Region 7 champs.

Beech Creek (18-4) eventually broke up the no-no on a solid hit to center by Wyatt Koch off Zac McGillan in the eighth, which started a four-run rally for the visitors. But it was much too late as Ephrata advanced to Wednesday night’s 7 p.m. game opposite Region 6 champion Ambridge-Baden, which earned a 6-5 win over Spring City in 11 innings earlier Tuesday.

Beech Creek was sent to the loser’s bracket where it will face Spring City Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. in the first elimination game of the tournament.

So, how hard was it to be taken out while pitching a no-hitter?

“I always like to peak up at the scoreboard so I knew what was going on,” Good said after his gem. “But to me it wasn’t a big deal as long as you get the win at the end of the day. The team goes 1-0…not a big deal. Having the chance to pitch again is a much bigger deal to me.”

Sipe concurred.

“That wasn’t tough at all to take him out,” he said. “I wasn’t worried about the no-hitter as much as I was worried about if something were to happen beyond that. If we would take him out and things started going in the opposite direction…that was the one worry. When we were up 5-0, I started thinking about it but I wasn’t going to do it till we got another two or three runs. When we kind of broke it open that gave us the comfort level to be able to save him. That’s nice to know if we are able to play well the rest of the week, we have him there for Saturday.”

While Good tossed goose eggs for the first three innings, the offense finally got going in the top of the third against Beech Creek starter Ethan Watkins. Nine-hole hitter Bryan Downey, who led Ephrata with three hits and three RBI, led off the third with an infield single.

After Downey got caught stealing, Brock Kauffman (1-for-4) singled and would later score on Nick Lucky’s two-out hit to right to give the Chryslers the 1-0 advantage.

Ephrata (22-5), which went 0-2 at regionals a week ago but advanced to States because it was the host, then exploded for four runs in the fourth and then tacked on four more in the fifth to open up a commanding 9-0 lead.

A pair of bunt singles by Justin Carvell (2-for-5) and Evan Frees (1-for-3) got the rally started before Adam Schwartz was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Nate Young then drew another walk to force in the game’s second run before Downey’s single to center brought home two more runs and chased Watkins.

Ephrata then made it 5-0 on Ricky Bromirski’s bases-loaded walk against reliever AJ Smith.

The Chryslers then batted around in the fifth after Good reached on an error to start things off. Carvell then laced a single to center that got past Beech Creek outfielder Brandon Miller and went all the way to the fence. Good and Carvell both raced around the bases to make it 7-0. Downey later knocked in his third run of the game before Kauffman’s sac fly made it 9-0.

“The first six innings was the most focused and energized we’ve been all season,” Sipe said of his offense, which pounded out 11 hits on the night. “It translated onto the field. We were working good at bats…I just don’t think we were as focused throughout regionals and I think part of that was we knew we were already beyond that. Today we showed up knowing we were in the same spot as everybody else, and the focus was there, the energy was there from all nine on the field as well as the guys that were on the bench.”

As for Good, who retired the last 12 batters he faced, he said the stakes of the game brought out his and his teammates’ focus.

“Obviously I was a little hyped up with it being a State game,” he said. “It was a little weird because we almost felt that we didn’t really deserve to be here after going 0-2 at regionals. We had a great chance and we wanted to come out here and play our style and I think that’s what we did. I just think our intensity was really good. Last week at regionals we already knew we had the state tournament locked up so it’s kind of hard to give everything you’ve got when you know you’re in it. We knew this was our last chance now. Everybody just brought it 110 percent and it showed today.”

Sipe said Good’s game conjured up images of another great pitching performance by former Ephrata great and current minor leaguer Brandon Miller in the first game of States in 2012.

“Dillon was incredible,” Sipe said. “I don’t know if I’ve ever seen him better. He’s been good before but that performance right there brought me back to five years ago when Brandon Miller was out there. I thought he looked very similar if not even a little more dominant tonight. When he’s throwing strikes and his splitter is working, he’s very difficult to hit. And he had both of those things tonight.”

Ephrata held the 9-0 lead until the eighth when things did get a little dicey for Post 429.

Beech Creek strung together four-straight hits after Koch broke up the no-hitter and would go on to plate four runs to give itself a fighting chance.

But Schwartz came in to slam the door, striking out three in two innings of work to end what turned out to be a very impressive first night of the tournament by Ephrata.

“I knew we had a team that could play at this level and we were waiting for the lineup to come around like it did tonight,” Sipe said. “I think we hit a lot of hard balls that were caught. Their outfield did a good job. They played awfully deep, and we had several good at bats that didn’t result in hits because of it. It was fun to watch the lineup tonight. I told them when they are focused and making pitchers work they are tough one through nine. I think we did a good job in making things difficult today.”

The tournament will continue every day through Saturday’s championship game. Wednesday’s schedule will be as follows: Wesleyville vs. Fredericksburg at 9:30 a.m.; Spring City vs. Beech Creek at 12:30 p.m.; South Parkland vs. Swoyersville at 4 p.m.; and Ephrata vs. Ambridge-Baden at 7 p.m.

 

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