Mounts take down Cedar Crest

By on April 25, 2018
Ephrata’s Adam Campbell (left) and Andrew Thomas celebrate after scoring a key run during Monday’s win over Cedar Crest. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

Ephrata’s Adam Campbell (left) and Andrew Thomas celebrate after scoring a key run during Monday’s win over Cedar Crest. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

Pull into three-way tie for first

Through 12 games, the Ephrata offense has been playing catch-up to its pitching and defense.

However, Monday night in a crucial crossover contest vs. Section One leader Cedar Crest, the offense, at least for one night, was the key ingredient to success.

Sure, the pitching was dominant once again as senior righty Adam Schwartz and junior lefty Hunter Johns combined to allow just four hits while striking out 13 Cedar Crest batters.

But it was also the offense that showed signs of the discipline it takes to churn out quality bats that makes up a championship squad. While Ephrata collected eight hits, it was the Mounts’ ability to put the ball in play that made the difference in an eventual 6-1 victory.

As a team, the Mounts struck out just one time against Falcon ace Chad Ryland and reliever Justin Frazier, and that fact wasn’t lost on Ephrata skipper Adrian Shelley.

“You know what, I’m more happy with that than the final result,” he said. “Those are the things we need to do. I told them I think we are starting to get to that next level where I’d like to see them get to offensively, and that’s the kind of stuff that is absolutely critical for that to happen.”

Ephrata led 2-1 into the sixth when the Mounts broke it open. They sent eight men to the plate in that inning and tacked on four, big insurance runs to salt this one away.

The victory was the Mounts’ seventh in their last eight games. And by virtue of Elizabethtown’s 6-4 loss to McCaskey Monday, Ephrata, Lampeter-Strasburg and the Bears are tied atop Section Two with identical 7-3 marks.

Not that Shelley and his team are paying attention.

“We are trying to just block out any kind of noise,” Shelley said. “We are not looking at standings and I know it sounds cliche-ish but we are kind of putting our heads in the sand and sticking to what we need to do.”

Ephrata took a 1-0 lead in the second on three-straight singles by Adam Maser, Blake White and Adam Campbell. Maser eventually came around to score on a throwing error to put his team in front.

Cedar Crest tied it in the top of the third when Logan Horn drew a one-out walk before scoring one batter later on Kyle Poorman’s RBI triple to right field. But with Poorman at third, Schwartz avoided further damage, although it came after hitting Nate Provinger and walking Joe Carpenter. Schwartz picked off Poorman at third for a huge out before striking out Nate Cavic to end the threat.

Schwartz was locked in from there, retiring the next eight batters in succession before giving way to Johns with two outs in the sixth. For the game, he finished with 11 strike outs and two walks in 5.2 frames.

“I really tried to get strike one a lot but a couple times I went 3-0 and that’s when I had to fight back,” Schwartz said. “The zone was tough at times but I felt as though I was able to put it over the plate and tried to make them hit it.”

Shelley added, “I told (Schwartz) I was really impressed with how he competed out there. In those counts where he got behind batters, you don’t have the same amount of leeway to pick corners when you are in those down counts, but he still competed and still made the pitches he had to make.”

In the sixth, Paul Lowrie led off with a hit but was later erased at third on a strong thow by Poorman, the catcher. However, after Maser was hit by a pitch and White walked, Campbell tried to leg out a chopper down the third base line. Crest third baseman John LaBarbera fielded it cleanly but threw it wildy into right field, allowing both Maser and White to come around to score.

Later in the inning, Nate Young’s two-out bloop hit to right-center plated the final two runs to complete the scoring.

Johns (2 Ks) then pitched a perfect top of the seventh to close out the victory.

For the game, White and Campbell both had two hits each to pace the Mounts.

In addition to Monday’s game vs. Cedar Crest, the Mounts added a pair of wins this past weekend.

Saturday in a non-league contest vs. Governor Mifflin, the Mounts broke a 2-2 tie with a run in the bottom of the fourth, and then tacked on from there to earn an eventual 7-3 victory over the Mustangs.

Ephrata starter Young was a big part of the story, striking out 17 batters while walking just one in six innings to capture the victory. Campbell came on in the seventh and struck out the side to close out the win.

Offensively, Zac McGillan knocked in three runs with a pair of hits, including a double to pace the nine-hit Ephrata attack.

Maser added two hits while Schwartz delivered a triple in the victory.

This past Friday in L-L crossover action at McCaskey, the Mounts rallied for two runs in the top of the 10th to capture a wild 11-9 victory over the host Tornado.

Maser collected a team-high four hits and knocked in three runs to pace the Mounts’ season-high 15-hit attack. Young added three hits while Ricky Bromirski, McGillan, Lowrie and White each had two hits for the winners.

Ephrata used four pitchers on the night with Maser getting the win in two-and-a-third innings of work.

Friday’s game was the second straight that went extra innings as the Mounts had their four-game win streak snapped last Wednesday at home as Warwick earned a 9-8 win in nine innings at the War.

Josh Farina and Brendan Martin both had three hits apiece for the Warriors in the win.

Up next, Ephrata travels to Hempfield Wednesday (4:15 p.m.) for the final crossover game of the season. The Mounts return home Friday (7 p.m.) to battle Elizabethtown in a big Section Two showdown.

 

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