Dragons sweep CV, gain bid to LNP Final Four

By on July 5, 2017
Ephrata Dragons’ catcher Coy Schwanger shows the ball to the umpire after forcing out the CV runner at home plate. Photo by Missi Mortimer

Ephrata Dragons’ catcher Coy Schwanger shows the ball to the umpire after forcing out the CV runner at home plate. Photo by Missi Mortimer

The Ephrata Dragons are moving on to the LNP Tournament Final Four.

Last Wednesday, the Dragons completed a two-game sweep of Conestoga Valley, winning 13-6 to clinch the best-of-three LNP Qualifying Series two games to none.

Andre Weidman was a perfect 3-for-3 while Coy Schwanger added a pair of hits, including a home run to pace the Dragons.

With the win, Ephrata now advances to the LNP Tournament Final Four and will play the remaining third seed (still yet to be determined) in the second game of a doubleheader played July 10 at Kunkle Field in Mt. Joy. Game One will begin at 6 p.m., and Game Two will follow 20 minutes after the end of the first game.

After earning a 7-6 victory over CV in Game One last Monday night in Ephrata, the Dragons looked to end things Wednesday at CV.

The Dragons drew first blood Wednesday in the top of the first when Schwanger and Weidman ripped a pair of back-to-back, two-out doubles to take a 1-0 lead.

CV, tough, took the lead in the bottom of the inning on a two-run homer, and expanded the advantage to 4-1 in the bottom of the second on another home run.

Ephrata, which left the bases loaded in the top of the second, also stranded three runners in the third. Then in the bottom of the third, CV had runners on second and third with one out and looked to pull away. However, an outstanding defensive play by third baseman Brody Martin and first baseman Brock Crills helped turn the tide.

With those runners in scoring position, Martin fielded a sharply hit ground ball to his left, check the runner back to third base and threw a strike to Crills for the second out. On the play, the CV runner at third attempted to score. However, Crills threw a perfect strike to Schwanger at catcher to nail the runner out at the plate.

The Dragons then exploded offensively in the top of the fourth to take the lead for good.

Ephrata scored six times in the inning, getting hits from Tanner McCracken, Ryan Bromirski (1-for-3), Drew Hurst and Weidman. The Dragons then tacked on six more runs in the top of the fifth, highlighted by Schwanger’s home run and a and a sacrifice fly from Evan Boley.

The story of the game however was the starting pitching of young left hander Dillon Shortuse. He scattered four hits and one walk through five innings of work. He was also effective at keeping the Conestoga Valley base runners uncomfortable on the base paths with his multiple pickoff moves. Shortuse improved his record to 4-1 on the season.

When asked what has been the difference in the team as the year has progressed, Ephrata Coach Brad Crills talked about how the older players have accepted the younger players and that how it has been a learning experience for both sides.

“The older boys are taking things that the younger boys have to give as well, and the younger boys are buying into our system of how the Ephrata Baseball program is to be represented,” Coach Crills said.

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