Warriors prevail, out-slug Ephrata

By on April 15, 2015
Ephrata’s Brian Wentz (17) is signaled safe at second during Mon¬day’s game at Warwick. Warrior second baseman Tyler Martin (4) looks on. (Photo by Stan Hall)

Ephrata’s Brian Wentz (17) is signaled safe at second during Monday’s game at Warwick. Warrior second baseman Tyler Martin (4) looks on. (Photo by Stan Hall)

Drew Keller was sitting fastball against Ephrata’s Austin Lowery.

The Warwick senior didn’t get that pitch.

But it didn’t matter.

Keller adjusted to a first-pitch curve from Lowery and smashed his first varsity home run, a two-run shot to left field in the second inning on Monday.
“I was just trying to get a hit and put the ball in play somewhere,” said Keller, who finished 3-for-4 with four RBI’s. “(Lowery) threw that one down the middle.”
After the Mounts had taken an early 2-0 lead on runs by Justin Carvell and Dillon Good, Warwick answered with a four-run rally in the bottom of the second, highlighted by Keller’s blast, and took a lead they never lost.

In the end, the Warriors connected for 21 hits off of three Ephrata pitchers and cruised to a 12-7 win in a Section One-Two crossover game in Lititz.

“We have kids who can hit top to bottom and that’s a luxury,” Warrior coach Bob Locker remarked. “It makes us kind of a dangerous baseball team. I don’t expect it to be that way every day, but if we have kids who can hit, it doesn’t have to be a handful of kids carrying us.”

Ephrata had a nice offensive day of its own, led by Good (4-for-4, 2 RBI’s) and Carvell (3-for-4, 2 RBI’s). But the Mountaineers stranded 11 runners, including the bases loaded in the sixth inning.

“I think that’s probably the difference,” Ephrata skipper Adrian Shelley said. “I think it was a hitter’s strike zone today and (Warwick) did a good job of getting runners on base to start innings. I thought we did the same thing. We did a good job starting innings, but they did a better job finishing.”
With the victory, the Warriors improved to 5-2 in Section One (7-2 overall) and remained one game behind Hempfield and Penn Manor, both at 6-1. Ephrata, meanwhile, fell to 4-3 in Section Two (6-3 overall) and tied in second with Solanco, but stayed one game off the pace behind Garden Spot (5-2 L-L). The Spartans suffered a 3-2 loss in 10 innings to Hempfield on Monday.

“We talk to the kids about winning every week,” Locker said. “If you play three games, make sure you go 2-1 at least. We got the first one &tstr; now we worry about Wednesday (at Solanco). Wednesday we’ll put (Thomas) Elliot on the mound, so we’ll see what we can do.”

The Mounts will try to bounce back with a game against Cedar Crest.

“We just have to take care of ourselves and not worry about what anybody else has done,” Shelley said. “We’ll see how things shake out when we get through the crossovers.”
Things were shaking out well early for the Mounts and their small-ball style of play. After Carvell doubled off of Warrior starter Tim Griest and scored on a Warwick error in the first,

Good led off the second with a single to left, went to second on a wild pitch, advanced to third on Patrick Gallagher’s sacrifice and scored on Andre Good’s sac fly.
Warwick, too, had its leadoff runner on board early and often, and they capitalized in the second. Grant Zimmerman (3-for-4) flared a single just beyond the reach of Ephrata shortstop Nate Fassnacht, Luke Mariano had a hit-and-run single, Justin Smith (2-for-3) delivered a sac fly, and one out later, Keller, batting No. 9, put the Warriors in front with his home run.

“I didn’t (know it was out right away),” Keller said. “Coach Locker was telling me to keep running and then once I rounded first, I knew it was gone.”

His three hits against Ephrata raised Keller’s average on the season to a hearty .500.

“Just staying level with my swing,” he said of his approach, “and not trying to hit anything for power, just trying to put the ball in play.”

With the wind blowing from right to left, the two teams combined for nine extra-base hits in the game, and back-to-back doubles by Tyler Martin (3-for-5) and Luke Hackman (2-for-5, 3 RBI’s) extended the Warriors’ lead to 4-2.
Griest, besides getting the ‘W,’ also had a three-hit day, as every player in the Warriors’ lineup had at least one base knock in the game.

“We have a good lineup and it’s pretty fun,” Keller said. “A lot of guys are hitting the ball well.”

Ephrata got one back in the third when Carvell singled to left and courtesy-runner Mike Caraballo scored on Dillon Good’s RBI base hit, halving the Warriors’ lead to 4-3.

“We have not hit the ball well up and down the lineup up until today,” Shelley said, “so I’m pleased with what we did. We didn’t want to get into a slugfest with them. I would have preferred to be in a pitching and defensive type of game. But in fairness to our pitchers, it didn’t really seem to matter which pitcher we threw. They still hit us hard.”

That continued in the bottom of the third, as the Warriors added three more runs on Mariano’s RBI ground out, Zach Peters’ RBI single to deep short and Keller’s RBI double to left, chasing Lowery, who left with trailing 7-3.

“They did a good job of preventing us from playing that (small-ball) game,” Shelley said. “We were trying to play that type of game, and after (Keller’s) homer and then the third inning when they packed some distance between us and them, it didn’t allow us to play that type of game.”

Still, Ephrata stayed within striking distance in the fourth. Brian Wentz singled, Fassnacht (2-for-4) doubled to center and Carvell hit a sac fly.
Griest went five innings and allowed three earned runs on eight hits for the decision, striking out three and walking three. He helped his own cause with an RBI single to right-center in the bottom of the fourth to make it an 8-4 game.

Then Warwick broke it open with four in the fifth off of Ephrata reliever Matt McGillan. Keller had an RBI single to right-center, Hackman ripped a two-run triple to left-center and Elliot had an RBI single to left field.

Reliever Matt Cover, making his team-high seventh appearance, ran into trouble in the sixth, and the Mounts gained some life on Carvell’s run-scoring single to left, Brandon Schwark’s RBI ground out, and Dillon Good’s RBI double.

Hackman entered, though, and put out the fire, and then he retired the Mounts in order in the seventh on 17 pitches to nail down Warwick’s win.

“We’re starting to get some production from a number of different guys,” Shelley said. “We’re going to build on it. I’m going to take more positives away from this than negatives.”

Ephrata carried a three-game winning streak heading into the Warwick game following a successful last half of the week last week.
Wednesday afternoon, the Mounts scored 10 runs in the first inning and cruised to an eventual 18-3 win over host Conestoga Valley.

Nate Fassnacht was 3-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI to pace the 13-hit Ephrata attack. Lane Kurtz and Brandon Schwark added a pair of hits each for the winners as Matt McGillan got the win on the mound.

Ephrata followed up with an exciting 7-6 come-from-behind win over Manheim Township Thursday at War Memorial.

The Mounts trailed 6-4 heading to the seventh before scoring three-unanswered runs to walk off with the victory.

Andre Good’s sinking triple to the gap in left center field knocked in a pair of runs to tied the game. Then after a pair of walks, Chase Weik delivered a sacrifice fly to score Good from third with the game winning run.

Freshman pitcher Adam Schwartz allowed just two hits with nine strikeouts in five-plus innings of relief work to earn the victory on the mound.

Ephrata also host South Western in a non-league contest Saturday at War Memorial. This one was all-Ephrata as the Mounts scored runs in each of the first four innings to earn an 11-0 victory.

Dillon Good and Schwartz both collected two hits each for Ephrata in the win. Zach Roberts struck out four and allowed just four hits to capture the shutout win on the mound for the Mounts.

Meanwhile, Cocalico endured another tough week on the ball diamond as the Eagles lost three games, including Monday afternoon when they let a huge lead slip away against Columbia.

In a game that featured 25 hits and 12 errors between the two teams, Cocalico jumped out to a 9-2 lead before the Tide stormed back to steal a 15-14 victory.

Columbia turned the game around with a 10-run top of the fifth and added three more runs in the sixth to overtake the Eagles.

Jeremy Marshall led the way offensively for Cocalico with two home runs and five RBI. Mark Anthony chipped in with a home run and two RBI while Justin Burd, Casey Sawyer, Drew Sawyer and Tyler Keppley also knocked in runs for the Eagles.

Jarod Kashner led the Tie with a home run and two RBI in the win.

Cocalico fell to 1-5 in Section Three play (2-6 overall).

Last Wednesday, the Eagles dropped a 12-3 decision at home to visiting Manheim Central.
In that one, Marshall ripped another home run to pace the nine-hit Eagle attack. He, along with Anthony had two hits each.

Finally, Cocalico dropped a 7-1 non-league decision at Muhlenberg on Saturday.
Cocalico will look to return to the win column Wednesday on the road at Annville-Cleona (4:15 p.m.). Friday afternoon, Cocalico will host Lebanon Catholic (4:15 p.m.) before traveling to Lancaster Mennonite next Monday evening (7 p.m.).

As for Ephrata, in addition to Wednesday’s contest with Cedar Crest, the Mounts travel to Hempfield Friday (4 p.m.0 before heading to Waynesboro Saturday for a noon start. The Mounts then return to War Memorial next Monday night to face McCaskey, beginning at 7 p.m.

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