Red Land blanks Ephrata to advance to Wednesday’s finals

By on July 22, 2015
Ephrata’s Chase Weik (right) is congratulated by teammate Jake Terry (33) after scoring a run in Monday’s 4-2 victory over Penn Manor. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

Ephrata’s Chase Weik (right) is congratulated by teammate Jake Terry (33) after scoring a run in Monday’s 4-2 victory over Penn Manor. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

After a 21-4 blowout win in the Region Four opener Sunday vs. Northeastern at War Memorial Field, reporters joked that perhaps Ephrata should have saved a couple of those runs for later in the tournament.
The Chryslers really could have used at least one of them Tuesday night against Red Land in an elimination game for Ephrata.
The Chryslers certainly got the pitching from starter Nate Baxter, who tossed a complete-game gem, allowing just one run and three hits against a potent Red Land lineup. Problem was, Ephrata just could never come up with the big hit.
And in the end, it cost the Chryslers dearly as Red Land (21-7) held on for a 1-0 victory and will now move on to play Linglestown in Wednesday’s final.
Ephrata (25-9) had baserunners in seven of the nine frames against Red Land pitcher Noah Keister, but couldn’t scratch across a run as the Chryslers stranded 11 runners and were knocked out of the tournament.
“It seemed like we did a pretty job of getting runners on, but once we got there, for whatever reason we couldn’t get it done,” Ephrata Coach Derek Sipe said. “We were just dying for that big hit in a lot of those (tournament) games, and if we get one or two of those in big situations we are the 4-0 team heading into (Wednesday). Sometimes it doesn’t happen…I guess it just wasn’t in the cards.”
While Baxter and Keister were dueling through the first six innings, it was Ephrata that clearly had the better chances to score. In the fourth, Justin Carvell and Jeremy Marshall opened with back-to-back infield singles. However, Keister worked his way out of it with a strike out, a fly out and a bouncer to third.
Ephrata then had the bases loaded with one out in the fifth before Red Land third baseman Shawn Robinson forced out Ethan Sipe at home and Marshall then popped up to end the threat.
Baxter wriggled out of trouble in both the first and third innings before settling in. He cruised through the sixth and retired the first batter in the seventh before Red Land struck with what would turn out to be the gamewinner.
Nate Chapman reached on a one-out error before Matt Shope walked. After a mound conference by Sipe, Ben Snyder laced a single to centerfield which loaded the bases, thanks to a great throw to home by Jake Terry in center. That brought two hitter Josh Snyder to plate, who worked the count full before drawing a walk to force in Chapman with the go-ahead run. Baxter did recover to strikeout Nate Clouser and get Zach Newmyer to pop up to end the threat, but the damage was done.
“He was unbelievable,” Sipe said of Baxter, who struck out five and deserved a better fate. “He deserved a lot better than the loss he got at the end of the night. He threw strikes. At times he got a little wild but he would bear down with runners on base to find ways to make big pitches at big moments. To give us nine in a game like this, and they only put one run across, if you would have told me that before the game I would have told you we’d be playing (Wednesday). It was no fault of his that we are not playing (Wednesday). Obviously the lineup couldn’t get anything going. But that’s a bigtime performance from him at this point in the tournament.”
Ephrata collected five total hits off Keister (2 Ks, 2 BBs), including a pair by Andre Good, who led the way.
Red Land will face Linglestown, which eliminated Shippensburg with a 12-5 victory Tuesday, at 11 a,m, Wednesday. A win by Linglestown would force a second game to be played at 2 p.m. A Red Land win would clinch not only the Region Four championship for the Cumberland County squad but a spot in next week’s State Tournament to be held at Owl Field in West Lawn.
As for Sipe and the Chryslers, it was a disappointing finish to another outstanding year.
“The first thing I told the guys was I wasn’t expecting to have this talk with them after the game…I fully expected to win,” Sipe said. “I fully expected to play tomorrow and expected us to win the tournament. I thought we were set up nicely with pitching, I liked how we were swinging our bats and the defense is always solid.
“I thought we had as good a chance as anybody coming into today. We got the performance we needed from two of the aspects (pitching and defense), but the bats just weren’t there tonight. I was confident, and when you are confident and you have those high expectations, the disappointment is greater when you don’t follow through.”
To get to Tuesday, Ephrata had to overcome a lot of different things and strange occurrences to earn a 4-2 victory over District 10 rival Penn Manor Monday night in an elimination game.
The Chryslers built a 4-0 lead in the third inning and appeared to be in cruise control behind starter Zach Roberts. However, a blown call by the men in blue, a Penn Manor pitcher getting hit in the face by an errant baseball, and a half-hour delay caused by an injury to the home plate umpire turned this one into one of the crazier games you’ll ever see.
In the end, Ephrata prevailed as reliever Adam Schwartz pitched the final three frames, striking out five and allowing just one hit to earn the big save.
“We grind, and we find a way,” Coach Sipe said following the win. “Today, the pitching staff stepped up, the defense played well and our bats at times came through and other times they didn’t. Fortunately the other two aspects of the game kind of picked us up when we needed them.”
Ephrata took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when the Chryslers opened the game with consecutive singles by Adam Schwartz, Good and Terry. Eventually, Schwartz would waltz home on Marshall’s sac fly to left for the game’s first run.
Good then ripped a two-run single in the second before Brandon Schwark’s RBI hit in the third scored Chase Weik to make it 4-0.
The crazy stuff began in the bottom of the third. Roberts allowed a one-out single to Cameron Dickerson. Anthony Knight followed with an arching long drive to left field. The ball bounced five feet in front of the left field wall and over for what everyone thought was a ground-rule double. However, the umpires ruled that the ball did indeed clear the fence for a home run, setting off a major protest by Ephrata, which was to no avail.
“Only two people in the stadium missed that play, and it happened to be the people that matter,” Sipe said of the controversial call following the game.
With the score now 4-2, Roberts re-grouped and finished off six strong frames, allowing just the two runs on six hits with six strike outs.
“Zach gave us about all he had, and he did great,” Sipe said of Roberts. “He threw strikes and made them put the ball in play. He got a little unlucky on that bizarre call, but he threw strikes and gave us a great opportunity to win.”
Manor’s Tyler Kiebler relieved starter Matt Tulli in the seventh, but lasted only one batter before being nailed in the nose with both the catcher and an on-deck batter threw balls back to him after a pitch got away.
Kiebler had to leave the game and Collin Groff came in and would pitch the remainder of the game.
Schwartz struck out his first batter he faced in the seventh before Knight fouled off a pitch, which struck umpire Clair Jenkins in the arm. Jenkins could not continue, and a new ump was summoned which caused the significant delay.
But Schwartz didn’t let it affect him. He got the final two outs in the seventh on a pair of nice plays by Weik at third, and struck out two batters in each of the eighth and ninth to close the door on the Comets.
“Adam did a real nice job there,” Sipe said. “We’ve come to rely on him greatly out of the pen, and he delivered once again.”
For the game, Ephrata pounded out 12 hits but did strand nine runners on base, including five in the last three frames.
Good, Terry, Carvell and Roberts all had two hits each to pace the winners.
Game Two had several see-saw moments as Ephrata fell 5-4 to Shippensburg Post 223 in a 10-inning nail-biter in the second round winners’ bracket nightcap on Sunday evening at War Memorial.
Shippensburg struck first in the bottom of the third inning after Post 429 starter Gavilan Fogarty-Harnish had whiffed the first two batters of the frame. Catcher Cole Friese tripled to deep left-center, then scored on a follow-up single by center fielder Daulton Brenize.
The 1-0 lead held up until the Chrysler’s evened things in the top of the fifth. Roberts opened the inning with a double and was promptly sacrificed to third by shortstop Ethan Sipe. Schwartz’s sacrifice fly plated Roberts with the equalizer.
The tie didn’t last long, as Shippensburg scored twice in the bottom of the inning, jumping to a 3-1 lead. Third baseman Matt Frick’s (3-for-5, 2 RBI) booming triple chased home two runs, putting Post 223 back on top.
Ephrata finally took advantage of Shippensburg’s loose play (five errors) in the top of the seventh as Good’s triple to deep right drove in both Schwartz and Sipe. The relay from right fielder Zane Hershey sailed down the left field line, allowing Good to cross with the lead run.
Fogarty-Harnish made the 4-3 advantage hold up until the bottom of the ninth when Friese’s two out single knotted the contest.
The Chrysler’s were positioned to take the lead back in the top of the 10th, as a pitcher’s error, a wild pitch and a walk set up first and third with no outs. But a line drive toward left field was snared by a diving Frick and Shippensburg weathered the rally.
Schwartz relieved Fogarty-Harnish to start the bottom of the 10th, getting the first two hitters (including a strikeout of Frick) before hitting DH Nate Holt in the middle of the back. He advanced to second on a wild pitch, and scored the game winner on shortstop Nate Reiner’s walk-off single to left field.
Fogarty-Harnish talked about what led to his success (8 strikeouts, only 4 walks, 125 pitches) over his nine innings pitched.
“Justin (catcher Carvell) and I were in sync all evening,” he said. “I changed my arm angle for all of my pitches to give a different perception.”
Coach Sipe also liked the effort his right hander provided.
“He did great,” Sipe said. “Most times, we are going to win behind that performance. We hit a lot of balls hard, but things just didn’t go our way. The fact that we couldn’t score early, made things tougher late in the game.”
The Chryslers’ offense was led by Schwartz and Terry, who had two hits each, while the defense was stellar throughout, committing no errors.
The tournament opener pitted Ephrata (23-8) against York County champ Northeastern (19-1) as the tournament hosts were joined on the field before Saturday’s game by the 1990 Ephrata Elks squad that advanced to the Legion National Tournament in Minnesota.
The ceremonial first pitches were thrown by the son and daughter of 90’ player Nate Deamer, who died in 2009. The two young people proved to be lucky charms as Post 429 scored seven runs in the first two innings before a 50-minute rain delay. Ephrata went on to a 21-4 drubbing of Northeastern in seven innings due to the mercy rule.
Chryslers’ starting pitcher Austin Lowrey threw one-hit baseball for four innings and was replaced with an 18-2 lead. Right-hander Brady Sipe pitched the final three innings, also only surrendering a single hit.
“I was pretty tight at first,” said Lowrey, when asked how he responded to the long delay between his first and second innings. “I did some quick long toss to get loose, then off the mound like normal.”
As the score would indicate, there were a lot of offensive stats to report. Ephrata collected 15 hits, led by Schwartz (3 hits, 4 runs, 2 RBI), Terry (3 hits, 3 runs, 3 RBI) and second baseman Jeremy Marshall (2 hits, 1 run, 5 RBI).
Marshall’s three-run homer in the first gave Post 429 the start it needed. Carvell, and Weik also contributed two hits each to the victory.

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