Chryslers clinch bye for District 10 League Tourney

By on July 8, 2015

 

Ephrata Chryslers’ pitcher Austin Lowrey warms up during a recent game.

Ephrata Chryslers’ pitcher Austin Lowrey warms up during a recent game.

The Ephrata Chryslers Post 429 American Legion team finds itself in a very familiar position heading into the District 10 League playoffs.

The team, which will be vying for its fifth-straight league crown, clinched one of the top two seeds to draw a first-round bye as the tournament begins Thursday at War Memorial with knockout round action.

The third and sixth-seeded teams square off at 5:30 Thursday with the fourth and fifth place teams battling in the nightcap.

The two winners from Thursday advance to Saturday’s double-elimination portion of the tourney. The top seed will face the worst remaining seed at 7:30 p.m. while the second place team will take on the other winner from Thursday in the early game at 5:30 p.m.

Penn Manor, which has dropped two-straight games, and Ephrata finished with identical 10-4 league records and both have byes. A coin flip Wednesday night will determine which gets the one seed and which team is second.

The tournament, which will be played entirely on the Chryslers’ home turf at War Memorial, will continue every day until a champion is crowned.

This past Monday in Millersville, Ephrata put itself in position to draw even with Penn Manor atop the standings when the Chryslers pulled out an exciting 4-3 victory in extra innings.

Adam Schwartz singled home Chase Weik from second in the top of the eighth to break the 3-3 tie and give Ephrata the big win.

Schwartz then closed the door in the bottom of the eighth, pitching the final frame to earn the save. Gavilan Fogarty-Harnish started and pitched three frames before Nate Baxter went four strong innings in relief to capture the big victory.

Schwartz and Andre Good led the Ephrata offense as both went 2-for-3.

“That really felt like a playoff game,” Ephrata Coach Derek Sipe said after the win. “Obviously it went into extra innings….it was tight the whole game, low scoring, good defensively plays…to have that kind of atmosphere was definitely a positive game for us heading into the playoffs. Penn Manor is a team that will be in league playoffs and most likely in Regionals so it was definitely a good test and a good feel for us to get use to that atmosphere.”

Sipe said the win over the Comets gives his team a boost heading to the post-season.

“We are confident,” he said. “Our pitching has been there all year so we know that is going to be there. We get games on our own field, which is nice. If we can just put the ball in play up and down the lineup we’ll be good and solid and tough to beat. I think we are at a good spot heading into the playoffs.”

As the host of the Region Four Tournament, Ephrata receives an automatic bid so even if the team falters in the District 10 playoffs, the Chryslers, along with either the first or second-place finisher, will move on to Regionals, which begin Saturday, July 17.

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