Mounts plow through Solanco

By on April 11, 2018

Ephrata’s Andrew Thomas (right) makes this grab and the tag for the out Friday night vs. CV. (Photo by Kirk Neidermyer)

Not even consistent light snow, a slight breeze and temperatures in the mid-to-upper 30s could keep Ephrata from finishing its third Section Two game of the Lancaster-Lebanon League season Monday afternoon in Quarryville.

Before last Thursday, Mother Nature had the upper hand in delaying and compacting the 2018 spring sports season.

But Monday, the Mounts (2-1 league, 2-1 overall) broke open a tight contest with Solanco (0-3, 0-3) by plating five runs in the top of the seventh for a 9-2 victory. The key hit in the final frame was a three RBI, bases clearing triple by senior second baseman Dylan Embiscuso.

A second triple, a two-run shot by senior catcher Ricky Bromirski, pushed across the last two runs for the final margin. Much of the earlier offense was provided by senior centerfielder Adam Schwartz, who homered, doubled, scored twice and drove in two as well.

The offense supported a nine strikeout, six-and-a-third inning bulldog effort by junior pitcher Zac McGillan.

“It was more the grip with the ball,” noted McGillan after the game. “You saw every pitcher changing balls rapidly because they were so soaked. I’ve got a great defense behind me. Just pound the (strike) zone and let my defense do the work.”

Ephrata Coach Adrian Shelley admitted that the conditions made it difficult to evaluate his team’s efforts.

“Zac fought it on the mound,” he said. “He did a great job bearing down and came through in some situations where there were runners on base. It was not a fun day to be a batter. We were trying to apply pressure on them all game long. Going into the seventh, it’s 4-2 and we’re trying to figure out who’s going to come out of our bullpen.”

Ephrata took an early 2-0 lead in the third inning when sophomore left fielder Jacob Zimmerman cracked the first of his two hits on the afternoon. He promptly stole second and advanced to third on a pitcher’s balk. Bromirski lashed the next pitch between the first and second baseman for the game’s first run.

Bromirski then showed off his wheels, stealing both second and third, before waltzing home on Schwartz’s double.

Zimmerman was also a big part of run number three. His two-out single was immediately followed by a steal of second base. When the catcher’s throw sailed into centerfield, he scooted to third. Senior right fielder Adam Maser’s ground ball to shortstop was air-mailed over the first baseman’s head, allowing Zimmerman to score.

The Mules fought back in their half of the fourth, loading the bases following the spark of third baseman John Murray’s double to deep left field. McGillan struck out first baseman Mike May on three pitches. Schwartz just missed a diving effort on a line drive by catcher Hunter Shaw, but gunned out shortstop Sam Buckwalter for the second out. After a walk reloaded the bases, McGillan struck out pinch hitter Hayden Fox to snuff out the rally.

The Mounts did get the run back in the fifth on Schwartz’s blast to deep left-center. McGillan doubled-down on the momentum with a one-two-three shutdown in the bottom of the frame. When Shaw doubled in the Mules’ second run in the sixth, it set up Ephrata’s fireworks in the seventh.

Offensively, the bottom of the order held up its end as Embiscuso, Zimmerman and Maser had two hits each. Bromirski and Schwartz collected two hits apiece as well for the top half of the lineup. Freshman Brennan Hess closed the door in the seventh, hurling the last two outs of the game.

“We’ve been working all off-season for this,” added McGillan. “We waited a month to play our season opener. Everyone’s ready to go. We’re hungry.”

That season opener last Thursday resulted in an 8-4 loss at Elizabethtown where the Bears out-hit the Mounts 11-9, scoring six runs in the third inning for the win. Schwartz threw three, McGillan two and Maser the sixth to split up the pitching duties.

Ephrata bounced back in a big way the next night, scoring 16 runs in four innings for a mercy-rule shortened 16-3 win over Conestoga Valley in the home opener. Junior Hunter Johns struck out four with only a single walk over the first four innings for the win. Young struck out two in the fifth to close things out.

“I was pleased with how we responded (CV scored three in the top of the first),” explained Shelley. “We also scored every inning. We did not sit on the lead. We kept our focus. We didn’t get complacent. That’s good to see, early on.”

Ephrata was set to host visiting Lampeter-Strasburg Tuesday night at home.

Up next for the Mounts is a busy schedule. This afternoon (Wednesday) at Donegal (4 p.m.) is followed by a Friday night game hosting Manheim Township (7 p.m.), a Saturday evening non-league contest at The War against South Western (6:15 p.m.), then a Monday trip to Penn Manor.

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