Schwartz hurls Mounts past Comets

By on April 18, 2018

Ephrata’s Dylan Embiscuso prepares to make the catch at War Memorial Field in Ephrata, PA on April 13, 2018.

In cold, windy and occasional snowy conditions Tuesday at Penn Manor, Ephrata had the perfect guy to send to the mound for that situation in senior Adam Schwartz.

A four-year starter and UConn signee, Schwartz throws hard, which is the kind of guy no one wants to face on a frigid day such as that.

And after surviving a first-inning scare, Schwartz settled in and flat-out dealt the rest of the way. He struck out 10 batters and walked just one while allowing just four hits— all singles— while tossing a complete-game 7-0 shutout.

Schwartz carried a 2-0 lead into the seventh where Ephrata finally broke it open with a five-run frame to seal the win, which was the Mounts’ fourth straight victory and upped their record to 5-2 in Section Two play (6-2 overall).

“(After the first inning), from that point on he really cruised,” Ephrata Coach Adrian Shelley said of the right-hander. “That was as good as his command has been this season. We actually debated whether or not we were going to let him finish, based on pitch counts and having him available to us later in the week, but he was just too dominant to mess with it.”

Schwartz’s gem was just the latest in a string of them for Ephrata hurlers, who have been dominant in the last four games. In 27 total innings, Schwartz, senior Nate Young, and juniors Zac McGillan and Hunter Johns have combined for 36 strikeouts, just nine walks and an ERA of 1.55.

“It’s been a combination of things,” Shelley said of his staff’s recent success. “I think some of the credit goes to the pitchers, no doubt. Each guy is kind of playing off the previous guy’s start. We are trying to piece it together start after start and trying to build momentum there, but most importantly it’s been minimizing walks, hit-by-pitches, wild pitches…we are making it difficult for the other team to win 90 feet. That’s the biggest thing. When teams do win 90 feet it’s because they had to earn it. They had to put the ball in play and they had to find open space. The defense is playing pretty sound, fundamental defense and the guys are pounding the zone.”

The offense is still a work in progress, as it was Tuesday vs. the Comets (0-7 Section One, 1-8 overall).

Paul Lowrie gave Ephrata it’s 2-0 lead in the top of the fourth with a bases-loaded single to plate both runs. But the Mounts did little else until the seventh when they sent 10 men to the plate and scored the five insurance runs keyed by back-to-back-to-back RBI doubles off the bats of Schwartz, McGillan and Dylan Embiscuso.

McGillan went 2-for-4 in the game to pace the seven-hit Ephrata attack.

“The offense is still kind of sputtering,” Shelley admitted. “We are still trying to figure it out. Guys are grinding out at bats. We’re finding ways to create offense, sometimes not the most conventional ways but I think the biggest thing right now is the pitching and the defense has allowed our offense to slowly grow up in a short amount of time. I wish it would grow up a little faster but sometimes you can’t rush things.”

After losing to L-S last Tuesday, Ephrata responded with three wins the remainder of the week leading into Tuesday’s game at Penn Manor.

It began last Wednesday at Donegal where the Mounts scored three times in the top of the seventh to break a three-all tie and lift Ephrata to a 6-3 victory.

Andrew Thomas singled with the bases loaded to knock in Schwartz with the go-ahead run. Ephrata added two big insurance runs later in the inning before reliever Young struck out four batters (one reached on a dropped third strike) in the bottom of the inning to close things out.

Young struck out six and walked one in two innings on his way to earning the win in relief of Schwartz, who went five, scattering nine hits while striking out three.

Offensively, both Schwartz and Adam Maser knocked in runs while Ricky Bromirski chipped in with a double for Ephrata.

Friday night at home vs. Manheim Township in the first Section One-Two crossover game of the season, it was the Ephrata pitching staff that stood out as Johns and McGillan combined for a 3-0 shutout win over the Blue Streaks.

McGillan (4 Ks, 2 BBs) got the start and went four-plus innings before giving way to Johns (2 Ks, 1 BB), who earned the eventual win.

The Mounts scored all three runs in the bottom of the fifth as Bromirski delivered a three-run triple to the gap in right center.

And Saturday in a non-league contest at home vs. South Western, the Mounts broke a 3-3 tie in the fifth with a single run before adding insurance late to secure a 6-3 victory.

Maser drove in the go-ahead run with a single in the fifth. Lowrie drilled a two-run homer in the sixth to give the Mounts the final margin of victory.

Embiscuso had two hits to pace the Mounts, who also got a double from McGillan.

On the mound, Young struck out 11 and walked just one as he dazzled through six innings, scattering six hits for the victory. Maser pitched the seventh and notched the save.

Up next, Ephrata faces Warwick in a crossover game Wednesday night at home, beginning at 7 p.m. The Mounts also play at McCaskey Friday night (7 p.m.) before hosting Governor Mifflin Saturday at 12:15 p.m. in a non-league contest.

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