Legion team set to host playoffs, honor Crowther
By: TODD RUTH Review Sports Editor email@example.com, Staff Writer
The East Division champion Ephrata Post 429 squad will host the double-elimination District 10 American Legion playoffs, beginning Wednesday at War Memorial.
The defending champs are slated to begin play Thursday in the late game at 7 p.m. against Marietta (7-6).
Ephrata (8-4) enters play with high hopes after advancing to the regional semifinals a year ago. The Post 429ers boast a solid lineup and arguably the deepest pitching staff in the league.
"Winning a division is always an accomplishment, so I am definitely proud of the guys for that," Ephrata Coach Derek Sipe said Tuesday. "That being said it was just a building block for us. We have bigger goals in mind, and while we are pleased with the season thus far it is by no means our end destination."
"I am extremely confident with where we are at as a team right now," he continued. "Our pitching is fully rested and prepared heading into the tournament. Our lineup is full of difficult outs and we are always solid defensively. It should be a weekend of exciting baseball, and we look forward to getting each team’s best shot."
The tournament runs through early next week, although the schedule has yet to be announced.
While the legion squad enters the tournament with a full head of steam, they do so with heavy hearts due to the unexpected recent passing of Ephrata teacher Julie Crowther, the mother of assistant coach Ryan Crowther.
The team met Monday and decided to put out a donation table for anybody who wishes to contribute to the Crowther family. Also, a silent auction will be held Saturday for people to bid on items before and during Ephrata’s game.
"We are really encouraging the community to come out for the game on Saturday to make this as successful as possible," Sipe said. "I think this situation really hit home for a lot of us. The amount of good that Julie has brought to the community through herself and her family is unmeasurable. This team has been fortunate to get to know Ryan Crowther over the past two years as an assistant coach, and we definitely felt moved to do something. The Crowther’s have been a large part of Ephrata baseball over the past 10-15 years, so we as a baseball family are definitely feeling this loss."
The past week, Ephrata was in action last Thursday at home where the team earned an 11-0 shutout win over Lititz.
Ephrata jumped out to a big 5-0 lead after one inning and did not look back.
Evan Weaver’s bases-loaded single to left drove in Dusten Rutt with the first run, and then Brandon Miller stroked a three-run triple just out of the reach of diving center fielder Justin Nolt. Miller later scored to put Ephrata up 5-0 on Lititz shortstop Lou Casanova’s error on Andre Hoover’s ground ball.
Lititz starting pitcher Chris Martin took the loss while Ephrata’s Evan Young scattered just three hits over four innings. He whiffed four and walked two to get the win.
The Post 429’ers added an unearned run in the second inning and then they stretched their lead to 9-1 in the third off of left reliever Marshall on Paul Larusso’s RBI triple to right-center and Parke Martin’s RBI base hit to left.
Martin finished 2-for-3 with a hit by pitch and Larusso, Weaver and Miller chipped in with two hits apiece in Ephrata’s offense.
RBI singles by Hoover and Larusso in the top of the fifth completed Ephrata’s scoring, and then Rutt retired Lititz in order in the bottom of the frame to invoke the 10-run rule. More LEGION, page B-3