Mounts impress in first round win over LD

By on May 25, 2016
Ephrata’s Patrick Gallagher (right) slides into home safely as Lower Dauphin catcher Matt Kephart bobbles the ball. Photo by Stan Hall.

Ephrata’s Patrick Gallagher (right) slides into home safely as Lower Dauphin catcher Matt Kephart bobbles the ball. Photo by Stan Hall.

Advance to face Muhlenberg in Thursday’s Quarterfinals

While Ephrata finds itself with one of the best records in all of District Three, the Mounts really have been a sporadic club offensively all season long.

For the Mounts to continue their winning success, Coach Adrian Shelley realized his team needed a more consistent and determined approach in the post season from his entire lineup if it were to get where Shelley and his Mounts want to go.

“I told them before we opened the District playoffs that the only way we will be able to compete with teams of this caliber is to have nine guys who are grinding out at bats,” Shelley said.

Well, the Mounts are off to a good start.

Monday night at home in the District Three AAAA opener vs. Lower Dauphin, Ephrata, the third seed, turned in one of its best offensive performances of the season, with the bottom of the order doing the most damage.

Six-hole hitter Patrick Gallagher went 2-for-2 with a double, an RBI and three runs scored while fellow bottom of the order guys, Nick Auker and Evan Frees also delivered clutch hits and RBI. On the mound, Dillon Good overcame a shaky start (thanks to a few stellar defensive plays) to pitch six strong innings.

In the end, it added up to an impressive 7-3 victory over the Falcons. With the win, the Mounts (18-5) will advance to Thursday’s Quarterfinals opposite six-seeded Muhlenberg, which defeated Elizabethtown 4-1. The game will be played at Wenger Field in Fredericksburg, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

“One through nine did a great job of hitting the ball today,” Ephrata senior catcher Justin Carvell, who went 2-for-3, said. “We’ve worked in practice all season on having everybody produce in the lineup, and we really got at it tonight.”

Carvell was involved in one of the more pivotal plays defensively, and it occurred in the first inning after LD’s Tim Townsend was hit by a pitch with one out. Pitcher Michael Geesaman followed with a rising liner to center that got past Ephrata centerfielder Adam Schwartz and rolled to the wall.

Townsend came around to score on the play but a perfect relay from Schwartz to shortstop Nate Fassnacht to Carvell nailed Geesaman, who was trying for an inside-the-park homer, at the plate.

“That was huge,” Shelley said. “I kept reiterating, they only got one. They could have gotten two. We avoided a crooked inning there and only gave them one. (After the ball got by him) Adam could have hung his head and big leagued it to the warning track. But he hustled his rear end off to go get it, made an acceptable relay throw and Nate made a good relay throw and Justin finished it off…again, a huge play.”

Carvell said his team got a lift from the play.

“That emotional difference was huge because that was the difference between a one and a two run game to start off the game. It really helped getting that guy at home plate because their energy just stopped. We shut it down right then and there.”

After stranding two runners in the bottom of the first, the Mounts took the lead in the second with a pair of runs. Gallagher drew a one-out walk and Auker followed with a single. One out later, Gallagher scored on an infield hit off the bat of Frees to tie the game. Then with the bases loaded, Fassnacht was plunked by a pitch to force in the go-ahead run.

Ephrata added two more runs in the third when Gallagher doubled home Chase Weik, who was hit by a pitch to lead off the innings. After moving to third on a wild pitch, Gallagher came home on a line out to center by Auker to make it 4-1.

“It shows what our team is capable of…our whole lineup is able to hit,” Gallagher said of the Mounts’ eight-hit performance. “It’s a statement.”

Ephrata tacked on its final three runs in the sixth to take a commanding 7-1 lead. After loading the bases on three-straight singles by Weik, Schwartz and Gallagher, Weik scored on a wild pitch, Auker drove in Schwartz with a sac fly and Gallagher came home on an error.

Good (5Ks, 5BBs), who settled down after the first and allowed just three more hits through six, loaded the bases with nobody out in the seventh before giving way to reliever Matt McGillan.

Two runs did eventually score but McGillan did his job, getting three outs to secure the win.

“I saw Dillon compete tonight,” Shelley said. “His velocity was up…for most of the game it was up. We haven’t seen that kind of velocity out of him so that tells me he was really competing. He had a lot of adrenaline flowing, and sometimes with that much adrenaline you start to lose your command, and he was erratic at times. I kept telling him we needed his secondary pitches to be much more effective. He hit a patch there in the fifth and sixth innings where all of a sudden his secondary pitches were there. That makes it tough for them.”

“Those boys could hit,” Shelley said of the Falcons. “(Dillon) needed something to cover up his fastball, and once he started getting his breaking ball over I thought he re-asserted his ability to mute the offense.”

The Falcons (12-8) had six hits with Ben Lewis leading the way with a pair of singles.

Geesaman (2 Ks, 1 BB) surrendered four runs in three innings pitched and was tagged with the loss.

The following are scores from the rest of the first round AAAA match-ups:

Red Land 4, Hempfield 1; Governor Mifflin 6, Mechanicsburg 1; Cedar Cliff 6, Dallastown 2; Warwick 4, Hershey 2; Exeter 1, Penn Manor 0; Cumberland Valley 3, Waynesboro 2.

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