Mounts win sixth-straight, knock off E-town, 6-1

By on April 10, 2019
Ephrata catcher Ricky Bromirski (right) bobbles the ball as E-town baserunner Tyler Souders heads toward home plate Tuesday at War Memorial. Bromirski eventually secured the ball and tagged the runner out at the plate. Photo by Travis Boyd

Ephrata catcher Ricky Bromirski (right) bobbles the ball as E-town baserunner Tyler Souders heads toward home plate Tuesday at War Memorial. Bromirski eventually secured the ball and tagged the runner out at the plate. Photo by Travis Boyd

There comes a time in every game where it can turn in either direction. A play made or one that is not can sway the momentum to a particular side.

That moment occurred in the top of the first Tuesday at War Memorial when visiting Elizabethtown put its first two runners on. With nobody out and the meat of the order coming up, this one could have gotten out of hand in a hurry.

However, when E-town’s Cole Livingston popped up a sacrifice bunt attempt, Ephrata senior pitcher Owen Gockley snared it then fired to second to double off E-town’s Kyle Welch. Gockley then whiffed four-hole hitter Cole Patrick to end the threat, and the Mounts were on their way.

Gockley settled in from there, pitching 6.2 strong innings, striking out seven while scattering six hits. Offensively, the Mounts scored single runs in each of the first three frames before a three-run sixth opened up a 6-1 cushion.

Billy Been came on to record the final out of the game after Gockley reached his pitching limit, and the Mounts locked up their sixth-straight victory with the 6-1 victory.

“We are kind of growing into our identity,” Ephrata Coach Adrian Shelley said following the win. “We are kind of shaking off the past season. The Youngs and Swartzes and the Masers and all of those guys are gone. We are trying to figure ourselves out with a lot of guys who are young from an experience standpoint. You finally get to a point where we’ve played enough games where there is no reason to say that. You’ve accumulated enough at bats, enough innings, enough ground balls and seen enough pitches. I think what they’ve done is maintained a focus on improving, and as the wins started to stack up they started to gain some confidence and belief.”

A team that replaced all but two field starters from last year’s District championship squad, these Mounts have had to grow up quickly, especially after a 1-2 start to the season.

“A lot of this has to do with confidence,” Shelley said. “I think the first couple games we just weren’t sure we could go out there and do that. Now we’ve done it, we seem to have embraced just the blue-collar mentality of working hard and the core values that we need them to have. You get a new group, and eventhough the blueprint has been solid here, you just never know, especially when you start off 1-2. That sometimes can rock the foundation.”

It hasn’t, and now the Mounts (4-2 section, 7-2 overall) find themselves right in the mix in second place in Section Two behind front-running Lampeter-Strasburg (6-0, 7-0).

Tuesday, Gockley’s pitching and some outstanding defensive plays keyed the win.

In addition to Gockley’s defensive gem in the first inning, catcher Ricky Bromirski threw out a runner in the fourth and made a brilliant stop on an in-between hop off centerfielder Blake White’s throw to nail a runner at the plate in the fifth when E-town was putting together a big threat. Gockley closed out that inning when he fielded Luke Adams’ ground ball toward third and gunned him out at first.

“We’ve kind of settled in defensively,” Shelley said. “I think the last two games we haven’t had any errors. Offensively, we keep grinding out at bats, and we’ve had back-to-back clutch starts from our lefties (Gockley and Hunter Johns). A guy like Owen tonight…that was a big-time start.”

After the first inning, Gockley cruised until the fifth when the Bears scored their lone run. He whiffed both Patrick and Hunter Murry with two runners on to end the sixth, and then allowed a hit and a walk in the seventh before exiting his best start of his high school career.

“He did a really nice job after the first, settling in and throwing first-pitch fastballs,” Shelley said. “But more importantly, he brought out some pitches in the fifth and sixth that we hadn’t shown. We kind of went to them knowing that we hadn’t shown them, and he executed those pitches, which sometimes isn’t easy when you’ve kind of been hiding them all game long. That one spot (in the sixth), he buried two sliders when he needed to.”

Ephrata took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Zach Musser was hit by a pitch and later came around to score on a wild pitch uncorked by E-town starter Nick Kreider (6 Ks, 4 BBs). The Mounts tacked on in the second and third, scoring a run in each frame. In the second, Justin Brubaker scored on a double steal to make it 2-0. Then in the third, Jackson Conover singled to center to plate Zac McGillan, who was on third thanks to a hit and an error.

Then leading 3-1 in the sixth, Gockley reached on an error to lead off the inning. One out later, Musser walked before Jacob Zimmerman laid down a perfect bunt for a single which loaded the bases. Bromirski then hit a flyball to center which found the turf, knocking in one run. The final two runs came around to score on McGillan’s fielder’s choice ground ball.

McGillan led the Mounts’ eight-hit attack, knocking in two runs on a 2-for-4 night.

Monday night at home in a Section One-Two crossover game vs. Penn Manor, Johns won his second game in a span of five days as the senior lefty blanked the Mules by a 3-0 score.

Johns struck out seven and walked just one while scattering five Comet hits in the complete-game effort.

Offensively, Ephrata scored the only run it needed in the bottom of the first and later added a two-spot for insurance in the bottom of the fifth.

Zimmerman led the seven-hit Mounts’ attack, going 2-for-3. McGillan, Conover and Brubaker all knocked in runs with hits to lead the Mounts to their fifth-straight win.

This past Saturday at home in a non-league contest vs. South Western, Ephrata overcame an early 1-0 hole with a four-run third which keyed an eventual 7-2 Mount victory.

McGillan went 2-for-4 with two RBI while White ripped an RBI double to pace the Mounts. Bromirski and Brubaker both had two hits as well for the winners.

On the mound, McGillan pitched three innings, striking out four while allowing two hits to earn the victory.

Last Wednesday at home vs. Solanco, Johns and the Mounts handed the Mules their first loss of the season in a 4-1 verdict.

Johns went the distance, scattering seven hits with five strikeouts and just one walk to earn the victory.

Offensively, Ephrata plated two runs in the first and two more insurance tallies in the bottom of the sixth.

Ephrata had just three hits but White did deliver a key RBI hit to lead the way.

Up next, Ephrata hits the road Wednesday for a tough game at Warwick (4:15 p.m.). The Mounts will remain on the road Friday at Manheim Township (7 p.m.) before returning home next Monday night to battle Hempfield (7 p.m.).

 

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