Mounts put it together, pound Solanco, 11-0

By on April 12, 2017
Ephrata’s Andrew Thomas scoops up a grounder and makes the throw to first for the out during Monday’s victory over Solanco.. Photo by Kirk Niedermyer

Ephrata’s Andrew Thomas scoops up a grounder and makes the throw to first for the out during Monday’s victory over Solanco.. Photo by Kirk Niedermyer

After struggling mightily in all three phases Friday in a dreadful 10-6 loss at Conestoga Valley, Ephrata Coach Adrian Shelley encouraged his young Mounts to look within themselves, shake their demons and come back Monday with a more positive outlook.

“You don’t want to have a game like Friday, but sometimes you need a game like that to face some truths,” Shelley said.

Well, judging by their performance Monday, the Mounts certainly got his message.

Ephrata batted around in the bottom of the first Monday, scoring five runs in the inning to take a big lead on defending L-L League champion Solanco. And the Mounts were far from done, adding five more in another bat-around inning in the third, before closing it out in five innings at 11-0 in a game cut short by the 10-run rule.

While the offense was clicking on all cylinders, starting pitcher Zac McGillan tossed three shutout frames before both Ashton Sensenig and Darren Schlemm closed it out with each throwing a scoreless frame as the Mounts wrapped up their much needed win.

“We had to face some truths and we had to look at this thing internally and figure out what we needed to do better,” Shelley said after the win. “What we did tonight I don’t think had much to do with fundamentals or strategy, or some of the mechanics of a baseball game that decide wins or losses. We shifted the focus from that to creating a positive energy in the dugout to have every member of the team engaged in a pitch-by-pitch process. I think we saw that can lead to some dramatically different results.”

The tone was set early as McGillan induced an early 1-6-3 doubleplay to get out of the top of the first. After that, the offense took over.

Andrew Thomas led off the bottom of the first with a walk, and after Adam Schwartz was hit by a pitch, Ricky Bromirski laid down a perfect bunt to load the bases.

One out later, after Thomas came around to score on a wild pitch, Tim Beever drilled a double down the left-field line that plated two more runs and gave Ephrata the early 3-0 lead. Then with two outs, Adam Maser, who went a perfect 3-for-3 on the night with two RBI, drilled a double to the gap to score Beever. Maser would later come around to score on another wild pitch to complete the first-inning barrage.

After two more scoreless frames tossed by McGillan, Ephrata sent 13 men to the plate and chased Solanco starter Hayden Fox in the bottom of the third. Nate Young and Maser both knocked in runs with base hits before Schwartz ripped a two-run single to break it wide open.

Pinch-hitter Holden Haws then delivered the final run of the night with an RBI single in the bottom of the fourth as the Mounts upped their Section Two record to 2-2 (2-3 overall) with the big win.

“I think they wanted to make things happen,” Shelley said of his team. “They were being encouraged to make things happen by their teammates. It wasn’t the coaching staff telling them you need to do this, you need to get better at that. I told them, one of the things they needed to do tonight was drown out the noise of the game, drown out the noise of the head coach trying to hold you to this pin-point, laser-like focus and listen to your team. It’s a team game and they are in this dugout supporting you, and when you make that third out of the inning defensively, there is going to be an entire dugout waiting to high five you when you come in. Those are the kinds of things we just weren’t doing. When you do those things, it’s fun.”

The beauty of a game like this is it saves your pitching, which is ideal for Ephrata since the Mounts have four games to play this week.

“It’s a nice little unexpected turn of events on Monday when you are looking at a four-game week,” Shelley said. “Zac and I talked before the game about how far we wanted to extend him tonight, but the offense completely changed the dynamic, which is an ideal situation.”

It also may have changed his young team’s outlook on the season as a whole.

“I told them you need to put something together for a week to really prove to yourself that you are turning the corner,” Shelley said. “I think this gave us a little glimpse of the corner off in the distance. If anything this should be motivation them to creep nearer to that corner. (But) we are five games into it so you break it down and that’s only a quarter of the season. We still got a long way to go.”

Last Wednesday at Lampeter-Strasburg, Ephrata earned its first victory of the season with an 8-4 victory over the Pioneers.

The Mounts plated three runs in the top of the first and never relinquished the lead, tacking on three key insurance tallies in the fifth to put the game away.

Offensively, Maser went 3-for-3 with an RBI to lead the eight-hit Ephrata attack. McGillan chipped in with two hits for the winners.

McGillan also pitched four innings, striking out three and walking none to earn the win.

In Thursday’s loss to CV, the Buckskins pounded out 13 hits and took advantage of five Ephrata errors as they scored in every inning to build a big lead they would never relinquish.

Trevor High collected three hits and knocked in three runs to pace the Buckskins’ attack.

Ephrata starter Hunter Johns (7 Ks, 3 BBs) went five innings and was tagged with the loss.

Up next, the Mounts will host Donegal (7 p.m.) Wednesday before hitting the road to face Manheim Township Thursday at 4:15 p.m. They’ll wrap up the week with a non-leaguer Saturday (6:15 p.m.) at home vs. South Western.

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