Legion team holds on against Marietta
By: TODD RUTH Review Sports Editor email@example.com, Staff Writer
For six and two-thirds innings Monday at War Memorial, the Ephrata American Legion team was in complete control of its crossover match-up against Marietta.
With starter Evan Young mowing down Marietta and Ephrata leading 11-4 with one out to go, the local squad was looking to put the finishing touches on its seventh victory in eight games. Then all you-know-what broke loose.
A liner here, a bloop there and several defensive miscues later and all of a sudden Ephrata’s comfortable lead had dwindled to just one. But Parke Martin replaced reliever Ryan Brubaker, and with the tying run on base, finally got the third out on a fly ball to center to earn the save and give his team the 11-10 win.
"I thought we played extremely well for six and two-thirds innings," Ephrata Coach Derek Sipe said. "Young’s stuff was electric from the beginning and he was pounding the zone. We had some clutch hitting and ran the bases very aggressively. We gave them everything they could handle during that stretch. Then with two outs in the seventh, a switch flipped and we just couldn’t get them out.
"The last out seemed like it hung in the air forever, but it reminding us that regardless of how it looks a win is a win. As we battle for a playoff spot we are pleased to take a win in any form. The guys battled, hung in there, and eventually had just enough belief to lock down the win."
The exciting victory was huge for Ephrata, which is now 8-5 and in a virtual tie for first place in the East Division with New Holland (6-4) with just two games to go. Ephrata, which hosts Lititz Wednesday at 8 p.m. at War Memorial before closing out the regular season Thursday at Quarryville (6 p.m.), can clinch a playoff spot with one more win. Incidentally, the three division winners and the five teams with the next best records qualify for the District 10 post-season.
"After losing four in-a-row, we have rattled off seven out of eight wins to put us in good position in the playoff hunt," Sipe said. "We have been able to establish a consistent lineup that is comfortable in their spots and is producing throughout. We have also gotten some impressive pitching performances. Both Dusten Rutt and Andre Hoover have really stepped up on the mound and have provided the lineup with the confidence that we have a good chance of winning each time they are out there. Offensively, we are executing at the plate which puts a lot of pressure on the opposition. Doing little things like getting bunts down and taking the extra base has put us in the position to collect clutch RBI hits."
They certainly did that Monday in support of Young, who was in complete control on the mound for most of the way, allowing just two earned runs in six innings.
Chris Fassnacht, Parke Martin Evan Weaver and Tim Murray all had two hits apiece to pace the offense.
In addition to Monday, Ephrata also was in action Sunday when it swept a doubleheader at the War vs. Manheim and Conestoga Valley.
In the first game opposite Manheim, Hoover was on the mound and went the distance, striking out eight in an 8-5 Ephrata victory. Manheim led 4-0 after two innings before the host team scored runs in its final four at bats, including a three-run bottom of the sixth, to capture the win.
In Game Two, Dusten Rutt scattered five hits in an 8-0 shutout. Rutt struck out six and didn’t walk a batter in six innings. Offensively, Mark Lowrie led the way for Ephrata with a home run.
Ephrata did drop an 8-6 game last Thursday at home vs. Penn Manor. In that one, Ephrata led 5-0 but a late Penn Manor charge keyed their win. More LEGION, page B-2