By RYAN VANDERSLOOT For The York Dispatch
DALLASTOWN — Sometimes a quiet bus ride to an away contest is a sign of tension.
Not so for the West York baseball team.
Pitcher Kaden Hepler took his team’s silence during its journey to Dallastown High School on Tuesday afternoon as an indication that his teammates were ready.
That spelled trouble for the Wildcats.
The visitors loaded the bases in the second inning and took an early 1-0 lead for their standout starting pitcher. The ‘Dogs then added on single runs in the next two innings before pounding out three more in the fifth.
That was more than enough for Hepler (6-0). The senior utilized a fastball that registered in the mid-90s for much of the contest to strike out 16 Dallastown batters en route to an 8-1 victory.
“It was real quiet on the way over here,” Hepler said. “No one really said too much, but I looked around about halfway here and I could tell that the guys were ready to play today.”
West York followed a similar recipe to one that has worked a lot for them this season. They received another strong start by Hepler, took advantage of key hits and were aggressive on the base paths whenever they had a chance.
The Bulldogs (10-2 overall, 8-2 in York-Adams Division II) collected just six hits, but also had seven walks and seven stolen bases. They also advanced on a handful of wild pitches and passed balls to get into scoring position nearly every inning against Dallastown starter Connor Schwienebart.
“That’s our makeup,” West York coach Roger Czerwinski said. “We’re going to be aggressive on the base paths and we’re going to be aggressive at the plate. We make sure that we’re swinging at pitches that we’ll have success with and, once we get on base, we want to put the defense on its heels.”
Perhaps the most important player in the Bulldog lineup was catcher Jesse Bortner. Bortner had just one hit, but he also walked three times.
When Bortner reached first, it almost immediately turned into a triple shortly thereafter. Czerwinski took advantage of the speed of courtesy runner Brandon Rauhauser, who stole second and third twice during the contest.
“We all have our roles,” Hepler said. “Jesse doesn’t mind that Brandon comes in to run for him because Brandon scores. It doesn’t matter if it’s Jesse or it’s Brandon. Jesse is going to be happy whoever scores the run and so is Brandon.”
The run support for Hepler helped to deflect attention from the fact that the Wildcats became the first team to score an earned run off the Winthrop University recruit so far this season.
“He’s been pretty successful,” Czerwinski said. “I think that was the first earned run he’s allowed in 40 or 39 innings so far this season.”
Hepler didn’t appear to be upset by the fact that his ERA is no longer 0.00. He did what he does every time he is given the ball — battle. The right-hander worked his way into and out of jams a couple of times.
“Kaden is trying to work on not throwing the ball down the middle,” Czerwinski said. “He’s trying to hit the corners and, consequently, he’s missing some pitches. But he’s able to work out of jams very well.”
No West York player collected more than one hit, but that didn’t mean the offense wasn’t doing its job.
“I thought we chipped away well,” Hepler said. “We hit the ball great in certain situations. When we needed runs we got runs.”
Austin Calaman (single, double) and Matt Attig (two doubles) each tallied two hits apiece to lead the Wildcats, who fell to 9-3 overall and 7-3 in Division I.
NORTHEASTERN 5, SPRING GROVE 3: At Spring Grove, Josh Writer delivered the game-winning hit in the top of the sixth as the Bobcats upended the Rockets. With runners on first and second, two outs and the score tied 3-3, Writer drove a ball into the right-center field gap for a two-run triple. Jesse Sargen went the distance on the mound for Northeastern to earn the victory. Sargen struck out five and walked three. He also had two hits, including a double. Nick Sprenkle added two hits for the Bobcats, and Jake Molison and Nick Spangler collected two hits each for Spring Grove. Molison drove in two runs. Northeastern improved its York-Adams Division II record to 5-5, and Spring Grove fell to 8-2 in Division I.
EASTERN YORK 2, YORK CATHOLIC 1: At Wrightsville, the Golden Knights scored once in the bottom of the sixth and once in the bottom of the seventh to rally for the win. Steve Dunham pitched a complete-game two-hitter to get the win. He struck out four and walked four. Mark Burnside was the tough-luck loser, allowing just four hits and two runs over 62/3 innings. He struck out six and walked four. Spenser Yost doubled for Eastern, while Jake Krevetski doubled for the Irish.
DOVER 11, CENTRAL YORK 6: At Central, the Eagles jumped out to an 8-1 lead after 21/2 innings and then held on for the victory. Jerell Figueroa had two hits and scored twice for Dover. Roy Walker had two hits and scored a run for Central. Grant Hoover pitched a complete-game eight-hitter to get the win for Dover.
RED LION 2, NEW OXFORD 1: At Red Lion, Glenn Dietrich singled with the bases loaded in the bottom of the second to score Scott Rissler, giving the Lions the lead for good. Dietrich also hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the first to plate the Lions’ other run in the game. Teammate Tyler Myers picked up the complete-game victory on the mound, striking out three, while walking two. For the Colonials, Tim Adams pitched a complete game, while teammate Andrew Czap hit a triple.
BERMUDIAN SPRINGS 9, YORK TECH 3: At York Springs, Alex Emlet (3-for-4, two doubles, four RBIs, two runs) led the Eagles’ attack. Aaron Spahr got the win, allowing no earned runs in six innings. He struck out nine. Luke Bosley had two hits, including a double, and two RBIs for the Spartans.
BIGLERVILLE 12, YORK SUBURBAN 0: At Biglerville, the Canners won in a game shortened to five innings because of the 10-run mercy rule. The game was originally scheduled for Suburban, but was moved to Biglerville because of wet field conditions at Suburban. Casey Ayers belted two triples and a double to lead Biglerville. Jeromy Sheets got the win, allowing just one hit in five innings. He fanned eight.
– Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.