Ephrata bows out of Regionals

By on July 23, 2014
Ethan Sipe (18) dusts himself off after swiping second base during the Region Four American Legion Tournament against Glen Rock Sunday night in Fredericksburg. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

Ethan Sipe (18) dusts himself off after swiping second base during the Region Four American Legion Tournament against Glen Rock Sunday night in Fredericksburg. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

Ephrata didn’t have an answer for Red Land Monday in an elimination game at the Region Four American Legion Tournament at Fredericksburg.

Offensively, the Ephrata bats were stifled by Red Land pitcher Kyle Searfoss, who struck out six and allowed just three hits on the afternoon. Defensively, well it was a tough afternoon as Red Land pounded out 14 hits and took advantage of four Ephrata errors.

In the end, it added up to an 11-1 loss by Ephrata and eliminated the Post 429ers from the tournament. Ephrata, which won one and lost two at Regionals, closed out the season at 18-6.

“It seemed like it was one of those games where everything went against us,” Ephrata Coach Derek Sipe said of the loss. “(Red Land) hit a couple balls hard, we had a couple times where we didn’t make plays when we could have, and then when they didn’t hit the ball hard it blooped in or found a hole through the infield. It was one of those things. They did a good job hitting, and when they didn’t hit them hard, they found holes. That happens sometimes.”

Red Land struck early and often against Ephrata and starter Gavilan Fogarty-Harnish, who wasn’t nearly as sharp as he was late last week in leading Ephrata to the District 10 title.

He allowed a single run in the first inning, two in the second and five more in the third before giving way to the pen. He had two strikeouts and just one walk but Red Land collected eight hits and the eight runs off the crafty righthander.

“His change-up was the pitch that he was missing with,” Sipe said. “He got ahead of guys, but his problem was he was throwing 0-1 or 0-2 pitches that were too good. I’m sure he’s still a little tired but I think it was more that he was just missing spots.”

Trailing 8-0 after three, Ephrata did rally for its lone run of the contest in the top of the fourth when Brady Sipe reached on a one-out single and was doubled home by Nate Baxter one-out later.

But that turned out to be all of the offense Ephrata could muster.

“It hurts,” Coach Sipe said. “I think the disappointing thing is we weren’t able to show the type of baseball that we played throughout the year, and the type of baseball that we are capable of playing. The lineup as a whole kind of got into a slump and we couldn’t find a way to get out of it.”

Red Land made it 10-1 with a pair of runs in the sixth before ended it by the 10-run rule on an RBI hit by Searfoss in the seventh.

Red Land advanced to play Hummelstown Tuesday in the semifinals at Wenger Field.

And so Ephrata bows out after advancing to Regionals for the fourth-straight year. And although the Post 429ers didn’t get it done as they did in 2012 when they won it and advanced to States, Sipe said it was a great ride nevertheless.

“It’s fun to get here,” he said. “We definitely wanted to get here this year, and we are hosting next year so we will have that five-straight appearances at Regionals which is a pretty cool thing and it’s definitely quite an accomplishment. There is not a kid from this team that was there the first year we made it so we have a generation through and we are just continuing to do the same thing.”

“It’s impressive,” he continued. “It’s difficult for these guys to realize, and it’s difficult for the people involved to realize but it’s an impressive thing. I don’t know at what point we’ll look back and think about how ridiculous this little run has been. I give a lot of credit to the kids. They play hard and they show up, and they just love being with each other. We are not the greatest team that you will see but more times than not we’ll play fundamental baseball and find a way.”

After winning Game One of the tournament Saturday, Ephrata was sent to the Loser’s Bracket after falling to Glen Rock, 5-1, Sunday evening at Wenger Field.

Glen Rock rode the right arm of starter Conner Hood, who allowed just five hits with eight strikeouts in his complete-game victory over the Post 429ers.

The second-place team from York County did all its damage offensively in the fifth and sixth innings, taking advantage of a pair of costly errors to score its five runs.

Ephrata starter Seth Griffith went five innings, allowing just two hits but walking four, absorbed the loss. Brady Sipe allowed three runs over the final four frames, for Ephrata, striking out a pair.

“It felt like we were kind of going through the motions,” Coach Sipe said following the loss. “And before we realized it they were scoring runs, and runs that we gave them. Coming into the tournament, I told the team what has been the key to the success of Ephrata baseball is to throw strikes, make the routine plays and have good at bats…if you do that, you’ll win games. And I don’t think we did any of those three very well tonight.”

Offensively, Ephrata blew a golden opportunity to get a run early when Ethan Sipe opened the bottom of the first with a double to the gap in right-center field. Brady Sipe then sacrificed him to third but a pop up and a line out to left stranded Ethan at third.

Both pitchers cruised from there through four scoreless innings before Glen Rock finally broke through in the top of the fifth with a pair of runs.

Eight-hole hitter Kevin Chick led off the frame with a walk, and then Dustin Babaie sacrificed him to second. However, the throw to first deflected off Babaie’s shoulder and caromed down the right field line. Chick came all the way around to score and Babaie ended up at second base. After Babaie advanced to third on Hood’s groundout, him came home on Michael Spadatore’s sac fly to center for the 2-0 Glen Rock lead.

Brady Sipe relieved Griffith in the sixth, but Glen Rock greeted him with a pair of singles off the bats of Josh Hauser and Collin Tattersall to start the frame. Then, one out later with the bases loaded and the infield up, Jarred Martin fielded a grounder at short but air mailed the throw home, allowing Hauser to score. Hood then drove in the final two runs of the frame on an RBI single to center.

“That team battled but they are not going to hit the ball all around the yard,” Coach Sipe said of Glen Rock. “They need some help to score some runs, and unfortunately we provided that help.”

Trailing 5-0, Ephrata scored its lone run of the game in the bottom of the sixth when Brady Sipe blooped a one-out single to right and Colin Albright followed with a double down the line in left. Sipe then scored on Baxter’s RBI ground out.

Hood cruised from there, collecting six of his eight strikeouts for the night over the final three frames.

Offensively, Anthony Embiscuso led Ephrata with a pair of hits. Hood paced Glen Rock with a 2-for-5 performance in the victory.

Ephrata opened the Region Four Tournament with a dramatic 5-4 victory over Franklin County champion Shippensburg Saturday afternoon.

With the score tied at 4-4 in the bottom of the ninth, Ethan Sipe’s bases-loaded single to center field brought home the winning run in walk-off style.

Ephrata took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Sipe, who went 2-for-4, led off with a walk and eventual scored on Baxter’s RBI ground out. Shippensburg (1-1) knotted the game 1-1 in the third on Daulton Brenize’s RBI single to score Levi Varner.

Both the Post 429ers regained the lead in the bottom of the inning, plating a pair of runs. Embiscuso led off with a single and eventually scored on Brady Sipe’s ground out. Ethan Sipe, who singled, would eventually come around to score the third Ephrata run on an infield hit by Albright.

But Ephrata and starter Austin Lowrey couldn’t hold the two-run advantage. First, Shippensburg knotted the game back up in the top of the fourth, and then grabbed its first lead of the game at 4-3 with a single run in the fifth, scoring on a double steal.

Lowrey (2 Ks, 2BBs) went six before giving way to Baxter, who blanked Shippensburg the rest of the way.

Baxter’s offense was also key as he drove in the tying run in the eighth with an RBI double, setting the stage for the dramatic finish.

With one out in the bottom of the ninth, Brandon Schwark and Martin collected back-to-back singles to start the Ephrata rally. Then, after Embiscuso (2-for-2) walked to load the bases, Ethan Sipe delivered his clutch hit to seal the big Ephrata victory.

Baxter, who was the winning pitcher, went 2-for-4 at the plate with a pair of RBI. Varner led Shippensburg with a 3-for-5 performance.

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