Ephrata hands Cocalico first loss
Ephrata enjoyed its most productive day at the plate Tuesday afternoon at Lebanon, pounding out 14 hits in an 11-3 victory over the Cedars.
Sophomore shortstop Nate Fassnacht led the hit parade, going 2-for-4 with three RBI and three runs scored. His first inning home run got things started for the Mounts, and they continued to swing hot bats for most of the day.
In addition to Fassnacht, Ephrata (2-1 league, 3-1 overall) got two hits each from Brady Sipe, Colin Albright, Chase Weik and Charlie Warden in the decisive win.
Pitching-wise, Matt McGillan went four strong innings before giving way to Dylan Good in the fifth and Morgan Stauffer in the sixth. McGillan got the win, striking out three and walking two on the day.
Cocalico also was victorious Tuesday, improving to 4-1 on the year with a 5-2 victory at Elizabethtown.
Brad Baxter went the distance on the hill for the Eagles, scattering six hits to claim the complete-game victory.
This past Saturday evening, the Eagles brought their 3-0 record to Ephrata’s War Memorial Field to face the Mountaineers in a game rescheduled from Friday due to bad weather.
The Eagles jumped out to a 1-0 lead after an inning, but the Mounts were patient and came from behind to upend the Eagles 7-3 on a cold blustery night.
Ephrata starting pitcher Morgan Stauffer had a rough first inning. It started with leadoff hitter Colin Myers, who singled and was quickly followed by Jeremy Marshall who doubled home the Cocalico starting pitcher to put the Eagles up 1-0.
Stauffer settled down and retired the side after hitting Baxter but no further damage was done.
Cocalico would score again in the top of the third, when Marshall led off with a single and promptly stole second. Stauffer would then plunk Jake Terry to put runners on first and second with no outs. Two batters later Alec Sherk would single home Marshall for the 2-0 lead.
Meanwhile starting pitcher Myers was holding the Mounts hitless through the first two innings.
Finally in the bottom of the third, Brady Sipe would get things started for Ephrata with a solid single and would make it to second on a fielder’s choice only to score when Fassnacht would be safe on a fielder’s choice of his own. Fassnacht eventually scored the second run of the game for Ephrata to tie the score at 2-2 after three full innings.
Rough defense would plague the Eagles in the third inning as three errors and a pass ball would contribute to the two Ephrata runs.
Stauffer would settle down and hold the Eagles to just two more hits before being lifted in the fifth inning. Austin Lowery came in and gave up a pair of meaningless hits before being replaced in the seventh by Dylan Good. Good started the inning and Brandon Smith then came on to finish the mound duties for Ephrata.
On the offensive side, the Mounts scored one run in the fourth on back-to-back singles by Josh Gehman, who stole second and then Bobby Nye brought Gehman around with their go-ahead run.
Ephrata put the game away in the sixth inning. After a strikeout to Albright, Weik walked and Gehman followed with a single. Nye doubled home Weik and Gehman for a pair of runs.
Jared Martin added an RBI single to make the score 7-2 before Cocalico tacked on one run before the pair of Ephrata hurlers finished the game in the seventh.
Ephrata head coach Adrian Shelley, in his 17th season at the helm was happy with the outcome of the game. “We were a little sluggish at the beginning but we got the key hits in the key spots,” he said. “I try to teach the team to focus on baseball and to do what is needed to get the job done.”
Mission accomplished on this night.
While Ephrata was idle last week due to wet weather, Cocalico did get in a game last Thursday at home vs. Lebanon where the Eagles routed the Cedars, 11-1 in Section Two action.
Cocalico led 1-0 after one inning before exploding for four runs in the second and five more in the third to take a commanding lead. The big offensive blow came off the bat of Marshall, who clubbed a home run.
After the Cedars got on the board with a run in the top of the fourth, Cocalico ended the game with a run in the bottom of the fifth, invoking the 10-run rule.
Baxter earned the victory on the mound, allowing just three Lebanon hits.