First-place Pride win seventh-straight game
By: TODD RUTH Review Sports Editor email@example.com, Staff Writer
The Ephrata Pride midget baseball team is officially on a roll.
And Monday night at War Memorial, they added to that success with a convincing 18-3 victory over Lancaster in a game that lasted just three and a half innings due to the 15-run mercy rule.
The Pride (7-1) pounded out 12 hits and took advantage of 10 walks by Lancaster pitching to easily earn the victory– their seventh straight– and remain one point ahead of second-place Hempfield Black (6-1-1) in the School Division of the Lancaster County Midget League.
According to first-year Coach Phil Leid, it’s been a team effort thus far for the Pride. Entering Monday’s game, the team batting average was .408 with nine players hitting over .400. Pitching-wise, Ephrata has thrown five complete games and has a respectable 4.22 ERA.
"From the start of the season, these guys have consistently produced at the plate up and down the lineup, and our pitching staff has been outstanding as well," Leid said. "Defensively we’ve been pretty solid, too, but most importantly we’ve been successful at not letting a mistake steam roll into a rally."
Case in point Monday. Lancaster jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first on a two-run double by Aaron Taylor off Ephrata starter Morgan Stauffer (3-1), who struck out four and walked three in his four innings.
But Ephrata answered right back with eight runs in the bottom of the second, sending 12 batters to the plate. Colin Albright got the inning started with a single, and then drove in the last two runs that inning with another line hit to center. Sandwiched between were four walks and three errors by Lancaster.
Ephrata then added five more runs in the third to take complete command of this one. The inning was highlighted by four consecutive singles by Jarred Martin, Paul Larusso, Ryan Schwark, and Marshall Zimmerman.
The game then ended after Ephrata added an addition five runs in the fourth, capped by a two-run single by Schwark, who knocked in four runs on a pair of hits.
In addition to Schwark, Albright, Marshall Zimmerman, Brandon Miller and Martin also had two hits apiece for the Pride.
After winning the League crown and New Era Tournament title in 2009, and enjoying a successful season a year ago, the Pride needed a lot of new parts with most of the players from those two teams moving up to legion. However, the newcomers have stepped right in and the engine keeps rolling.
"The guys who’ve moved on to Legion obviously deserve a lot of recognition for their accomplishments the last couple of years," Leid said. "During the Mounts’ (high school) season, though, Coach Neidermeyer and Coach Jones did a great job with the JV team, so the elements for success seemed to be there. There’s still a long way to go, but up to now they’ve played well….they definitely want to show they’re capable of carrying on the tradition of success that has come to be expected of Ephrata baseball."
"Really, all 15 of them have contributed," he continued. "We don’t have any superstars, and no one tries to overshadow anyone else, and because of that we’re gelling into a tight unit. Everyone knows what they do best and what’s expected of them, and they’ve been bringing that to the ballpark game in and game out. It’s been a lot of fun to watch."
Up next, Ephrata will go for eight wins in-a-row Wednesday night at War Memorial as the Pride plays host to Cocalico, beginning at 6 p.m. More PRIDE, page B-2