Dragons eliminated in LNP Qualifying Series

By on July 6, 2016
Ryan  Bromirski delivers the pitch. Photo by Stan Hall.

Ryan Bromirski delivers the pitch. Photo by Stan Hall.

The Ephrata Dragons’ U-12 team pushed the Strasburg-Willow Street Cardinals to the brink Tuesday evening at Ephrata Township Field. The Cards needed a two out, two-run double from third baseman Braden Adams in the top of the seventh inning to eliminate the Dragons two games to none in the best of three qualifying series of the 71st LNP Tournament.

SWS (16-4, number two seed) captured game one 10-1 last week in Lampeter over Ephrata (10-11, seven seed) which had advanced via a 2-1 play-in win over Penn Manor.

“Against a team the caliber of Strasburg-Willow Street, I think we did a great job,” reflected Dragons head coach Brad Crills. “We had to avoid the big innings. A team like that can get up on you in a hurry.”

Things went well for the Dragons at the beginning, as starter Ryan Bromirski blanked the Cardinals in their half of the first. Ephrata’s bats exploded for three in the home first, led by a three-run home run by catcher Coy Schwanger well over the centerfield fence.

“That was probably the first time we were told we were aggressive at the plate all year,” added Crills. “Our approach for the last month has been to go after the first good one (pitch) you get. It might be the best one you get.”

SWS struck back to take the lead in the second, scoring four runs on five hits, the biggest, a two run double by right fielder Isaiah Parido.

Ephrata went back on top in the third, first tying the score on Schwanger’s second home run down the left field line, followed by a double by third baseman Brody Martin and a run-producing single by right fielder Andre Weidman.

The see-saw continued as the Cards plated two more in the fourth on catcher Alex Knapp’s double. The Dragons tied things up in the home fourth on a lead-off single by Mason Hagen and a sacrifice fly by centerfielder Dawson Shelley.

Ephrata appeared poised to take the lead one batter later when Schwanger drilled a fast ball toward center field. Cardinal second baseman Giovani Malatesta dove, backhanded the ball, jumped to his feet and threw out Schwanger by a step.

“That was a big play,” said Crills, when asked if that was the turning point. “I really thought that ball was in centerfield. Their catcher also made some nice plays in front of the plate. They are a very good baseball team. We knew that coming in.”

The Dragons pitch-by-committee effort shut down SWS through the remainder of regulation (six innings) as reliever Aaron Hershberger put zeroes on the scoreboard for the fifth and sixth innings. Unfortunately, the Dragons were also shut down by Cards lefty Braedon Karpathios.

“We’ve gone with the two-inning approach (two inning limit for pitchers) all year,” explained Crills. “We try to get them all ready to pitch next year at the next level.”

Although this ends the Lancaster County portion of the Dragons’ season, there is still more work and experience for the Ephrata 11 and 12 year olds. On July 22-24, Crills will take his troops to his Alma Mater Mansfield University for a U-12 tournament and special instruction by the MU staff.


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