Archive for the ‘Baseball’ Category

By JOHN WALK
505-5406/@yorksportsguy

Santoro

Santoro ( PHOTO COURTESY OF MESSIAH COLLEGE)
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Mike Santoro’s coaching experience speaks for itself.

In the five years he’s spent as an assistant at York College and Messiah, those teams reached the NCAA Division III Tournament three times, with Messiah winning the Middle Atlantic Conference twice.

Then there’s the fact that Santoro has at least a pair of respectable names vouching for him in former Cy Young Award winner and retired Somerset Patriots manager Sparky Lyle and former York College baseball coach and current assistant dean for athletics and recreation Paul Saikia.

As a result, it was likely a no-brainer for Dover High School athletic director Rich Leathery this week in hiring Santoro as the new Eagles’ baseball coach. Santoro takes over the gig from longtime Dover coach Mat Eckenroth.

“I’m really excited to follow Coach Eckenroth. I believe it’s 21 years at Dover he was there,” Santoro said by phone Wednesday evening. “It’s exciting to follow someone like that who has been there for so long.”

There’s plenty more to like about Santoro, a New Jersey native who now lives in Manchester Township with his wife, Rachel, and their infant son, Christopher. Like the neat anecdote on him meeting his wife, a Christian School of York grad, at Living Hope Church in Shrewsbury. Santoro currently assists the associate pastor at that same church in leading a youth group of students in grades seven through 12.

Playing, coaching background: Then there’s Santoro’s playing career that led to some very beneficial coaching opportunities.

Santoro played college ball at Seton Hall and Villanova before finishing out the last two seasons of his collegiate career at York College in 2007 and 2008. He then spent that summer in the independent Atlantic League — the same league as the York Revolution — playing for the Atlantic City Surf.

The following two seasons, he spent his spring coaching college ball (York in 2009, Messiah in 2010) and summers playing sporadically, but mostly serving as an assistant for the Atlantic League’s Somerset Patriots, learning under Lyle, who was the Somerset manager at the time. Santoro was an assistant under Steve DeRiggs at Messiah in 2011 and 2012 before returning to help coach at York College in 2013. Santoro currently works full-time as a corporate recruiter.

“Probably another interesting thing to this story is my main assistant coach (at Dover) is going to be Steve DeRiggs,” Santoro said. “We won two conference championships together (at Messiah). He also has about 25 years of experience coaching high school varsity baseball down in South Carolina.”

As a result of just being hired by Dover this week, Santoro hasn’t had much time to look over the Dover roster he’ll inherit next spring. The Eagles last season went 2-11 in York-Adams League competition and 5-13 overall. He says his goals are more long term, and that he’s looking forward to the opportunity of coaching high school student-athletes, a unique challenge he has yet to encounter in his young coaching career.

“It’s really a time in their lives when they need to develop their leadership skills and need to grow as a person and get ready for the next steps in their lives,” Santoro said. “I’m really excited to prepare young men for their lives while also building up baseball in the communities.”

— Reach John Walk at jwalk@yorkdispatch.com.

By JOHN WALK

505-5406/@yorksportsguy

The cheers echoed throughout the Central York High School gym when the Panthers’ boys’ basketball team lit up the scoreboard.

They weren’t loud enough, though, to drown out the second thoughts one Central York student, Dan Sepic, was having in his head.

The 6-foot, 2-inch, 200-pound Sepic had played basketball through his 10th-grade year, then quit to strictly focus on baseball.

“I was probably going to start on varsity (as a junior),” Sepic said of basketball. “But I gave it up for baseball. I felt baseball was going to lead me to college. I’d been playing baseball since I was 5 or 6.”

As he watched the Panthers capture the program’s first York-Adams League boys’ basketball title in 40 years and go on to reach the District 3-AAAA semifinals, Sepic wondered what it would’ve felt like to a be a member of the team.

“There were definitely regrets. Seeing them go far, wishing I could be out there on court with them,” Sepic said. “But I know baseball was my way to get to college.”

His prophetic planning proved true. And he also got a serious taste of success on the diamond. This past baseball season, Sepic posted a 5-1 record with a 1.83 ERA in 53 innings pitched, striking out 49 and walking 17. He played the infield on the days he didn’t pitch. And at the plate, Sepic gathered a .391 batting average with a homer, 10 doubles, 15 RBIs and 14 runs scored, leading Central York to 9-4 league record, 12-9 overall record and an appearance in the District 3-AAAA Tournament in what turned out to be the best season for the program in five years.

For his efforts, York-Adams League coaches have selected Sepic as the 2014 Division I Player of the Year.

“My coach actually called me this past weekend,” Sepic said of the Division I Player of the Year honor. “I was so excited. I worked really hard. I couldn’t have done it without my teammates. In my time playing for Central it was my first time we got to districts.”

Sepic expects to see action right away next spring at NCAA Division II Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Sepic said he had passed up a walk-on spot at NCAA D-I Pittsburgh.

Players of the Year: Northeastern’s Nick Sprenkle and West York’s Brett Kinneman split Division II Player of the Year honors.

Sprenkle batted .441 and gathered a .558 on-base percentage to go along with three homers, eight doubles, 15 RBIs and 23 runs scored.

Kinneman batted .316 with a pair of homers, six doubles, three triples, 11 RBIs, 24 runs scored and had a .487 on-base percentage. The Bulldogs captured the Division II crown with a 13-0 league record and made an appearance in the District 3-AAA Tournament, finishing with a 17-4 overall record.

Susquehannock’s Sammy Miller is this year’s Division III Player of the Year. As a pitcher, Miller posted a 6-1 record with a 1.79 ERA over 31.1 innings of work, striking out 28 and walking 10. At the plate, he hit .439 with a homer, five doubles, three triples and 18 stolen bases.

The Division IV Player of the Year award went to Delone Catholic senior Dalton Haymaker. The right-hander went 7-2 with a 1.81 ERA, striking out 65 and walking 19 in 58 innings over nine games (eight starts), including seven complete games, one of them a shutout. Haymaker also batted .319 with seven doubles, 14 RBIs and 23 runs scored over 23 games, accumulating a .478 on-base percentage. The Squires went 13-2 in league play to win the Division IV title, made an appearance in the league tournament and reached the District 3-AA semifinals.

Coaches of the Year: Spring Grove coach Eric Zeigler was named the Division I Coach of the Year after leading the Rockets to a 10-3 league record, capturing the Division I crown, winning the league tournament and making an appearance in the District 3-AAAA Tournament.

Northeastern’s Don Kauffman earned Division II Coach of the Year honors by steering the Bobcats to a bronze medal in the District 3-AAA Tournament and making it to the state quarterfinals.

Susquehannock’s Tim Hare is the Division III Coach of the Year following the Warriors’ 13-1 record in league play to capture the Division III title and later appearing in the District 3-AAA tourney.

Biglerville’s Jeff Taylor was selected as the Division IV Coach of the Year after the Canners went 8-7 in league competition and appeared in the District 3-AA Tournament.

— Reach John Walk at jwalk@yorkdispatch.com.

YORK-ADAMS LEAGUE BASEBALL COACHES ALL-STAR TEAMS

DIVISION I

Player of the Year: Dan Sepic, Central York.

Coach of the Year: Eric Zeigler, Spring Grove.

First Team

Infield

Nick Spangler, Spring Grove.

Will Maughlin, Spring Grove.

Austin Taylor, Red Lion.

Ty Golden, Dallastown.

Outfield

Matt Taylor, South Western.

Tanner Forry, Dallastown.

Tommy Golden, Dallastown.

Pitchers

Tyler Butcher, Dallastown.

Matt Brooks, Spring Grove.

Catcher

Drew Landis, Red Lion.

Designated Hitter

Jon Snyder, Dallastown.

Honorable Mention

Infield: Walker Monteith, Central York; Outfield: Brady Taylor, Red Lion. Ryan Crum, Central York; Pitchers: Jake Thoman, Spring Grove. Tyler Wagner, Central York; Catcher:Dalton Hoiles, Spring Grove.

DIVISION II

Co-Players of the Year: Nick Sprenkle, Northeastern, and Brett Kinneman, West York.

Coach of the Year: Donnie Kauffman, Northeastern.

First Team

Infield

Austin Kibler, New Oxford.

Kyle Amrhein, Kennard-Dale.

Logan Stover, West York.

Grant Myers, Northeastern.

Utility

Carson Fries, West York.

Outfield

Grant Hoover, Dover.

Chase James, West York.

Aaron Palmer, New Oxford.

Pitchers

Anthony Lippy, New Oxford.

Brandyn Smith, West York.

Catcher

Devin Blymire, Northeastern.

Designated Hitter

Kody Reeser, Northeastern.

Honorable Mention

Infield: Jake Toal, New Oxford; Outfield: Corban Czap, New Oxford. Ethan Hertz, New Oxford. Michael Santiago, West York; Catcher: Cole Bixler, West York.

DIVISION III

Player of the Year: Sammy Miller, Susquehannock.

Coach of the Year: Tim Hare, Susquehannock.

First Team

Infield

Todd Cook, Littlestown.

Connor Hood, Susquehannock.

Josh Houser, Susquehannock.

Luke Knott, Susquehannock.

Aaron Spahr, Bermudian Springs.

Derek Starner, Bermudian Springs.

Outfield

Cody Dennis, Susquehannock.

Devin Strickler, Eastern York.

Levi Stein, York Suburban.

Bryan Kerr, Susquehannock.

Utility

Terry Godfrey, Eastern York.

Clay Hoff, Bermudian Springs.

Pitcher

Colby Shimmel, Eastern York.

Catcher

Toby Sponseller, Bermudian Springs.

Honorable Mention

Littlestown: Brady Topper, Russell Livesay, Graham Schuman, Travis Henrie; York Suburban: Jackson Marshall, Thomas Merkle; Susquehannock: Alec Lebo; Eastern York: Thomas Taylor, Clayton Miller, Mike Dunn, Dalton Renn, Bobby Hedrick.

DIVISION IV

Player of the Year: Dalton Haymaker, Delone Catholic.

Coach of the Year: Jeff Taylor, Biglerville.

First Team

Pitcher: Jared Peterman, Hanover.

Catcher: Austin Roth, Delone Catholic.

First baseman: Koby Griest, Biglerville.

Second baseman: Erich Hartman, York Catholic.

Third baseman: Devon Craig, Delone Catholic.

Shortstop: Zac Sheets, Biglerville.

Outfield: Nick Trish, Hanover. Clint Bohn, York Catholic. Jimmy O’Boyle, Delone Catholic.

Second Team

Pitcher: Jake Krevetski, York Catholic.

Catcher: Zac Sheaffer, Hanover.

First baseman: Ryan Bowman, Hanover.

Second baseman: Shawn Redding, Biglerville, and Hunter House, Fairfield.

Third baseman: Matt McKim, York Catholic.

Shortstop: Pat Clement, York Catholic.

Outfied: Joe Ames, Delone Catholic. Nate Haney, York Catholic. Sam Brown, York Tech.

COLUMN By JOHN WALK

505-5406/@yorksportsguy

In case you haven’t heard by now (you probably have), the Central York and Northeastern boys’ volleyball teams departed State College on Saturday with PIAA state gold medals.

That concluded runs by the most successful sports programs to come out of the York-Adams League this spring season, following a pair of District 3 titles between the teams, and Central beating Northeastern in the league tournament title game. The Panthers and Bobcats also finished one-two in the regular-season league standings.

It also brought an end to the spring sports season.

Well, for York-Adams League teams, anyway. The state tournaments for baseball and softball wrap up this week.

So, what better time than now to have a brief look back on what league teams did across all spring sports? To make things a bit easier, I thought it might be a good idea on doing a recap by the numbers. On second thought, maybe this wrap-up will make your brain hurt, if you, like me, would opt for banging your head against a wall instead of doing math.

State qualifiers: We’ll go in reverse order here, from the state tournament all the way back to division title winners. First up, we have state qualifiers. Boys’ volleyball led the way with three (the aforementioned Central York and Northeastern, along with York Suburban), followed by a pair of baseball teams (York Catholic and Northeastern, the latter reaching the state quarterfinals) and one softball team (Delone Catholic, which reached the quarterfinals as well).

Districts: The Central York and Northeastern boys’ volleyball teams each won District 3 gold. The York Catholic baseball and Delone Catholic softball teams were district runners-up. As far as district qualifiers, the sport of softball led the way with 10, followed by baseball (eight), volleyball (six), boys’ lacrosse (five), girls’ lacrosse (four) and boys’ tennis (three).

League: Dallastown won league tournaments in softball and boys’ lacrosse. The remaining three league tournaments had different winners: Central York in boys’ volleyball, Spring Grove in baseball and York Catholic in girls’ lacrosse.

Across all sports, six schools won multiple division titles in the York-Adams League, led by South Western (girls’ lacrosse, boys’ tennis, girls’ track) and Delone Catholic (baseball, softball, boys’ track) each winning three. Central York (boys’ volleyball, softball), West York (baseball, boys’ lacrosse), Susquehannock (baseball, softball) and Kennard-Dale (softball, girls’ lacrosse) each won a pair of division crowns. Spring Grove (baseball), Dallastown (boys’ lacrosse), York Catholic (boys’ tennis), Red Lion (boys’ track), York Suburban (boys’ track), Dover (girls’ track) and Biglerville (girls’ track) each had one division title.

Now for a quick recap.

Oh, never mind. I have to go find the nearest wall. Then figure out what to do until Aug. 11, the start date of fall sports practice.

— Reach John Walk at jwalk@yorkdispatch.com.

By JOHN WALK

505-5406/@yorksportsguy

Pope John Paul runner Joey Pedorenko scores as Northeastern catcher Devon Blymire reaches for the ball.

Pope John Paul runner Joey Pedorenko scores as Northeastern catcher Devon Blymire reaches for the ball. (BIL BOWDEN — For The York Dispatch)
Northeastern pitcher Kody Reeser went five innings on Thursday and allowed two earned runs.

Northeastern pitcher Kody Reeser went five innings on Thursday and allowed two earned runs. (BIL BOWDEN — For The York Dispatch)

So much of what propelled Northeastern into Thursday’s PIAA Class AAA baseball quarterfinal game came from the poise with which the Bobcats have played the last couple weeks.

Few mistakes and a cool confidence on the field, plus some timely hitting, helped them win three District 3 games and one state tournament game.

Yet, those facets eluded the Bobcats on Thursday in Fredericksburg against District 1 champ Pope John Paul II. From the start, Northeastern seemed frayed. And the Bobcats wouldn’t recover from their early blunders, losing 4-1 to bring their season to a close.

“Maybe we were a little nervous,” 11th-year Northeastern coach Don Kauffman said.

Kauffman was in his first year as a head coach back in 2004 when he led the Bobcats to the state AA title.

“This is a pretty loose group, but just a couple plays early in the game there didn’t go our way,” he said. “We didn’t necessarily make the plays we wanted to make. Maybe it was a little bit of nerves.”

After Northeastern (16-10) left leadoff man Nick Sprenkle stranded at third in the top of the first inning, Bobcats’ starting pitcher Cody Reeser walked the first batter he faced in the bottom of the frame, then allowed him to move to second base when a pickoff attempt turned into an error.

Three batters later, Sprenkle bobbled a grounder up the middle on what would’ve been the third out, putting runners at the corners with two outs. Pope John Paul (21-6) got Northeastern to bite when trying to steal second, resulting in Bobcats’ catcher Devon Blymire throwing down to second, and letting the lead runner come home from third. The next batter drilled an RBI single to right to give Pope John Paul an early 2-0 advantage.

“To win at this stage of the season, usually the team that plays the most fundamental is going to win,” Kauffman said. “We made a lot of mistakes. I’m sure if we go back and look at the book we had more mistakes than they did today. And we still had a chance. We had some good chances to win.”

The Bobcats scored their only run in the second inning when Reeser crossed the plate thanks to a Pope John Paul error. Three batters later, Sprenkle, the team’s leader in batting average, came to the plate with the bases juiced and one out and aiming to tie the ballgame or take the lead. He instead went down swinging, and Blymire followed by grounding out to short. Northeastern didn’t threaten again until a two-out rally in the sixth inning that left runners stranded at first and second.

Pope John Paul added a pair of runs in the third inning on two hits, three walks and an error. Golden Panthers’ starting pitcher Josh Lafferty, a recruit of NCAA Division III Widener University, gave up the one unearned run and held Northeastern to four hits with five strikeouts and two walks in 6.2 innings of work. Pope John Paul has now reached the state semifinals for the first time ever after winning the program’s first District 1 title last week.

Reeser went five innings for the Bobcats, surrendering four runs (two earned) on four hits and six walks with three strikeouts.

“We had a great season regardless of the results today,” Kauffman said. “This was an outstanding season. There’s not many times you can say you made the state tournament, let alone making it to the state quarterfinals. We have nothing to hang our heads about. We were one of the final eight teams in AAA playing. That’s a great season.”

Plus, Northeastern will bring back all but four players next season.

“It’ll help us for future years,” Kauffman said of the playoff run for his young bunch. “In the same breath, every year is a new year. All the teams will get better. We’re not the only team who will have guys back. We’ll be better but so will some other teams.”

— Reach John Walk at jwalk@yorkdispatch.com.

By DICK VANO’LINDA

505-5407/@ydsports

Northeastern second baseman Trae Beyer and his teammates will take on Pope John Paul II on Thursday in the PIAA Class AAA state playoffs.

Northeastern second baseman Trae Beyer and his teammates will take on Pope John Paul II on Thursday in the PIAA Class AAA state playoffs. (YORK DISPATCH FILE PHOTO)

The high school baseball playoffs weren’t much fun for Northeastern the last few years.

The Bobcats absorbed a gut-wrenching 4-3 loss to rival West York in the opening round of the District 3 Class AAA Tournament last year. West York would go on to win its second-straight AAA state crown.

In both 2012 and 2011, Northeastern dropped District 3 play-in games, to Littlestown in 2012 and East Pennsboro in 2011.

The Bobcats weren’t hungry for a playoff victory entering this season — they were starved for one.

Northeastern satisfied its hunger, and then some, by winning three District 3 games and one state game so far in 2014.

Northeastern, which finished third in the district tournament, is one of just eight teams remaining in the state Class AAA bracket.

The Bobcats (16-9) will take on Pope John Paul II (21-5), the District 1 champion, in a state quarterfinal game on Thursday. The contest is scheduled for 4 p.m. at Wenger Field in Fredericksburg (Lebanon County).

No players have enjoyed Northeastern’s playoff transformation more then the team’s four seniors, who witnessed the disappointments of past years.

“It’s pretty cool knowing we’re the last (York-Adams) team standing,” Bobcats’ senior first baseman Grant Myers said during practice on Tuesday afternoon. “It’s pretty special to still be playing. This is what you dream about when you’re a little kid.”

Myers was in elementary school when the 2004 Northeastern team won the Class AA state title. (There were just three classifications at that time).

He feels this year’s team also has the potential to make a deep run in the bracket.

“If we play as well as we did yesterday (Northeastern defeated Archbishop Wood, 3-1, on Monday), we can make it all the way,” he said on Tuesday.

Myers had his own adversity to overcome before he could help the Bobcats reverse their recent playoff fortunes. He suffered a broken ankle during a baseball game last summer. A three-sport athlete, Myers saw limited action in the Bobcats’ soccer season, when he focused on rehabilitating the ankle in the fall. He competed for Northeastern’s swimming team in the winter, and by mid-March, he was close to 100 percent.

“Swimming put me in better condition,” Myers said. “My main goal was to get ready for baseball. I play three sports, but baseball is the one I’m planning to play in college (at California University of Pennsylvania).”

Before he turns his attention to college baseball, Myers hopes to play three more high school games, beginning with Thursday’s clash against Pope John Paul II.

The Royersford school defeated District 3 runner-up West Perry, 3-1, in the first round of states. Northeastern fell to West Perry, 9-2, in the District 3 semifinals. The Golden Panthers earned their first District 1 crown by edging Harriton, 3-2.

Pope John Paul’s James Bleming will play NCAA Division I college baseball at Lehigh. Bleming was selected to the first team of the Pioneer Athletic Conference All-Star Team.

Three of Bleming’s teammates, Dan Zurowski, Josh Lafferty and Trevor O’Brien, were picked for the second team.

Zurowski and Lafferty are senior pitchers, and O’Brien is a senior designated hitter.

Northeastern’s leadoff hitter, Nick Sprenkle, carries the highest batting average on the team at .431. He’s followed by Jordan Ely (.385), Tom Skehan (.378), Kody Reeser (.318), Adam Kipp (.304), Myers (.298) and Devin Blymire (.297).

Kipp and Steve Shimkus each have four pitching victories for the Bobcats, and Brayton Bare and Brady Dolan have combined for six victories. Reeser is 1-0. Dolan leads in earned-run average with a perfect 0.00. He’s followed by Bare (0.48), Shimkus (1.78), Kipp (2.71) and Reeser (3.18). Kipp, with relief help from Shimkus in the seventh inning, earned the victory over Archbishop Wood in the opening game of the state tournament.

“We’ve had a good postseason, and we can make it better,” Bobcats’ head coach Don Kauffman said.

Kauffman said on Tuesday that he didn’t have lot of information on his team’s next opponent, but was hoping to get more information by Wednesday.

“We’re not going to change, though, how we play,” he said. “Our pitchers will go out and throw strikes, and we’ll look to have good fundamentals (hitting, fielding and bunting). If we do those things, we’re capable of competing with anyone on a given day.”

The other Class AAA quarterfinals games on Thursday are: Tamaqua vs. Jersey Shore, Harriton vs. Blackhawk and Punxsutawney vs. Erie Cathedral Prep. If Northeastern wins on Thursday, it would face the Tamaqua-Jersey Shore winner on Monday in the semifinals.

— Reach Dick VanOlinda at dvanolinda@yorkdispatch.com.

By JOHN WALK

505-5406/@yorksportsguy

LANGHORNE — A pitch scurried past York Catholic senior catcher Doug Mills and rolled to the backstop.

The passed ball in the bottom of the sixth inning allowed a pair of Devon Prep runners to scamper to second and third base with one out. Clinging to a one-score lead in the opening round of the PIAA Class A baseball playoffs Monday afternoon, York Catholic was just five outs away from moving on, but Devon Prep now had the tying and go-ahead runners in scoring position.

Little did the Irish know, things were about to get much worse.

Devon Prep’s next batter hit a two-run single to right field, marking the fifth-and-final lead change of the game and giving Devon Prep, the District 1-A champion, a one-run lead. The next batter reached on a throwing error by senior shortstop Pat Clement, his second of the game, to put runners on the corners. And a bloop RBI single by junior Dominic Holloway, who has verbally committed to NCAA Division I Boston College, extended Devon Prep’s advantage to two scores. It would stretch to three when, on a walk to load the bases, Mills thought a Devon Prep runner was trying to steal third base and launched a throw down the left-field line.

That is how York Catholic’s season came to a close. The Irish went down in order in the seventh and lost, 8-5, at Cairn University near Philadelphia.

“Our defense has been solid almost all year,” York Catholic fourth-year head coach Joe Gurreri said. “All those freak plays in the (sixth) inning are tough, especially if you get six outs you go on to the next round.”

The defeat didn’t come without a lack of heart, though. York Catholic, the District 3-A runner-up, jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning, beginning with senior Clint Bohn (3-for-4, triple, RBI, two runs scored) reaching on an infield single when he hit a line drive back at Devon Prep starting pitcher John McSurly, nailing McSurly on the inside part of his right shin. Bohn scored two batters later on an RBI single from Clement (3-for-3, two doubles, RBI).

But Devon Prep head coach Mark Aquailante pulled McSurly after the first inning and said after the game that McSurly was headed to the hospital to get his shin examined. In McSurly’s absence, Devon Prep relievers C.J. Kohnbrenner and Sean Phelan combined to give up four runs (three earned) to the Irish (11-11) over the final six frames. Devon Prep improved to 13-8.

York Catholic scored a pair of runs in the fourth to reclaim the lead, 3-2, and scored two more in the top of the sixth to go back up, 5-4. In all, the Irish outhit Devon Prep, 11-9, but left six runners stranded on the offensive end and committed three errors on the defensive end that cost them three runs.

York Catholic starting pitcher Jake Krevetski gave up four runs (three earned) on six hits with two walks and no strikeouts in five innings, tossing 40 of his 78 pitches for strikes. Erich Hartman then came out from the behind the plate to pitch the sixth inning. Hartman, who plans to pitch at NCAA D-I Kentucky next season, has only recently been working his way back into pitching form after an arm injury earlier this season, according to Gurreri.

One of eight starting seniors for York Catholic, Hartman gave up the four runs (two earned) in the bottom of the sixth inning on three hits and two walks with no strikeouts in just a third of an inning.

“We had a boatload of injuries,” Gurreri said when reflecting on the season. “We have a very talented team but not a deep team, so when you get those injuries and you have start guys in places they’re not comfortable, it’s tough.”

— Reach John Walk at jwalk@yorkdispatch.com.

By DICK VANO’LINDA

505-5407/@ydsports

PHILADELPHIA — Playoff poise.

Northeastern displayed that trait in all facets of the game on Monday when it defeated Archbishop Wood, 3-1, in an opening-round Class AAA state baseball playoff contest. The game was played at LaSalle College High School.

The Bobcats’ sophomore starting pitcher, Adam Kipp, performed liked a seasoned senior, holding the Philadelphia-area team to three hits and one run in six innings.

Steve Shimkus, who relieved Kipp with a runner on second base with no outs in the seventh inning, retired the first three batters he faced to end the game.

Northeastern’s fielding was flawless (no errors), and the Bobcats made four outstanding plays in the field.

The York County team also displayed clutch hitting, with the only glitch being a popped-up bunt attempt. However, the player who bunted into a double play, Tom Skehan, beat out a perfectly placed bunt for a base hit in his next at bat.

“It was a great team effort,” Northeastern head coach Don Kauffman said after his team secured its first state playoff victory in 10 years. “We really executed well today. They (District 12-AAA champion Archbishop Wood) are a good team.”

Kauffman didn’t hesitate in handing the ball to a 10th grader.

“Adam always throws strikes, and keeps the hitters off balance,” Kauffman said. “He has a lot of poise for a sophomore.”

Kipp was “kind of surprised” that he received the start.

“This is my first year of varsity ball,” he said. “I tried to do my best, and my fielders played great. I was upset that I had to come out, but I trusted Steve (Shimkus).”

The left-hander struck out three batters and walked three. His teammates backed him with sparkling glove work.

Shortstop Nick Sprenkle delivered two highlight plays: backhanding a ball in the hole and throwing out a runner at first base in the first inning and charging a slow roller and firing to first in time to get a runner in the third inning.

“This season has been a grind defensively,” Sprenkle said. “It was nice to have a game like today. We’ve been working hard in practice (on defense), and this is the first game (in the playoffs) that we had zero errors.”

Bobcats’ second baseman Trae Beyer and center fielder Kody Reeser also contributed to the fielding gems. Beyer dove to his left to spear a line drive in the second inning and Reeser made a sliding catch on a line drive in the fourth inning.

Sprenkle and Grant Myers supplied two hits apiece to the winners’ cause.

The Bobcats, the third-place team in District 3-AAA, gave Kipp all the runs he needed by scoring two runs in their first at bat. Sprenkle was hit by a pitch to start the game, and following an out, Jordan Ely singled between third base and shortstop into left field. The left-handed hitting Myers then singled to right field to score Sprenkle, and Reeser followed with a booming double to the fence in center field (near the 375-foot sign) to score Ely.

The Bobcats added their final run in the fifth inning when Sprenkle doubled down the left-field line, moved to third on Devin Blymire’s sacrifice bunt and raced home on Ely’s sacrifice fly to right field.

Northeastern, which entered the tournament with eight losses, moves on to the quarterfinals.

“Those games (the losses) helped us,” Kauffman said. “We learned how to handle it (adversity).”

Northeastern will take on Pope John Paul II, the District 1 champion, in the next round. The game will be played on Thursday at place and time to be determined. Pope John Paul II defeated District 3-AAA runner-up West Perry on Monday, 3-1. West Perry beat Northeastern in the District 3-AAA semifinals.

“It’s always fun to be playing in June,” said Kauffman, whose 2004 Northeastern team captured the state Class AA championship (there were only three classes at that time). “This is something they’ll (the players) will remember the rest of their lives.”

— Reach Dick VanOlinda at dvanolinda@yorkdispatch.com.

By DICK VANO’LINDA

505-5407/@ydsports

Jake Krevetski of York Catholic is chased down by Blake Petersheim of Lancaster County Christian during the  District 3-A baseball championship game on

Jake Krevetski of York Catholic is chased down by Blake Petersheim of Lancaster County Christian during the District 3-A baseball championship game on Thursday. (JOHN A. PAVONCELLO — jpavoncello@yorkdispatch.com)
York Catholic’s Patrick Clement reacts after flying out against Lancaster County Christian to end the District 3-A baseball championship game on

York Catholic’s Patrick Clement reacts after flying out against Lancaster County Christian to end the District 3-A baseball championship game on Thursday. The Irish lost 2-1. (JOHN A. PAVONCELLO — jpavoncello@yorkdispatch.com)
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READING — Lancaster County Christian’s Kyle Ebersole may only be a sophomore, but he pitched with the poise of a senior in his team’s biggest game of the season.

Ebersole mixed a fastball, that hit 81 mph, with a devastating curveball to foil York Catholic’s bid for a second straight District 3 Class A baseball championship.

Lancaster County Christian, which lost to the Fighting Irish, 7-1, in last year’s title game, edged York Catholic, 2-1, in the title game on Thursday at First Energy Stadium.

Ebersole struck out 11 and walked four, one intentionally. The right-hander allowed only four hits.

“He was mixing it up, and we weren’t used to seeing that many curveballs,” York Catholic’s Jake Krevetski said. “They (Lancaster County Christian) are more mature (than last year), and we came out flat. Maybe, we were intimidated by all those curveballs.”

Krevetski definitely wasn’t intimidated in the first inning, when he stepped to the plate and ripped a triple to the alley in right-center field. Unfortunately for the Fighting Irish, they weren’t able to get Krevetski home.

“We couldn’t get a clutch hit today,” York Catholic head coach Joe Gurreri said. “That leadoff triple at the start of the game was huge. Their pitcher was throwing around 80, and he threw a really nasty curveball, which kept us off balance.”

The Fighting Irish did break through for a run in the fifth when Clint Bohn’s flyball to center field scored pinch runner C.J. Burnside from third base. Burnside ran for Mike Connor, who drew a walk and moved around to third on Miles Elliott’s single and an error.

York Catholic left the bases loaded in the fifth — three of nine runners it stranded on the day.

Lancaster County Christian left eight runners on base, but the Lions scored just enough runs to capture their second district crown in the past three years.

Blake Petersheim’s infield single delivered a run in the first inning, and a York Catholic error allowed Luke Dixon to race home with the second run in the second inning.

Bohn was the tough-luck losing pitcher. The Fighting Irish left-hander pitched scoreless ball over his final 3 2/3 innings before giving way to Krevetski, who got the last out in the sixth inning.

Bohn, the winning pitcher in the District 3 semifinal game against Millersburg, recorded five strikeouts and four walks.

“It took me a little bit of time to get used to the mound,” Bohn said. “Their pitcher, he’s the best pitcher we’ve seen this year. He had a pretty good curveball, and he could throw it at any point in the count.”

York Catholic challenged Ebersole in its final at bat, using a hit batsman and a Bohn single to put runners on first and second with one out. The Lions’ pitcher handled the challenge by retiring the next two batters on a strikeout and a flyball to center field, respectively.

Following the final out, players from both teams lined up on the baselines closest to the dugouts for the medal ceremony — just like they did in 2013. The difference this year was that Lancaster County Christian’s players were awarded the gold medals.

The season didn’t end on Thursday for either team, however.

Both the Fighting Irish and Lions will compete in the state Class A playoffs, which begin on Monday.

Lancaster County Christian will take on Juniata Valley, the runner-up team from District 6, while York Catholic will face the same team it met in the first round of states last year, Devon Prep. The suburban Philadelphia school, which captured the District 1 title this year, scored a 4-1 victory over the Fighting Irish last season.

— Reach Dick VanOlinda at dvanolinda@yorkdispatch.com.

York Dispatch Staff Report

The Northeastern Bobcats are headed to states.

The No. 8-seeded Bobcats (15-9) punched their ticket on Thursday evening with an 8-6 comeback victory over Oley Valley in the District 3-AAA third-place game in Ephrata.

The Bobcats scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth to rally for the victory. Oley Valley had scored three runs in the top of the sixth to take a 6-4 lead.

Kody Reeser hit a three-run homer in the third for Northeastern, which outhit Oley Valley, 10-8. Reeser finished with four RBIs. Steve Shimkus got the win in relief of Reeser, who started. Jordan Yealy went 2-for-2 with two runs scored for the Bobcats, while Jonah Latshaw was 2-for-3 with two runs scored.

No. 10 seed Oley Valley (17-8) opened the day with a chance to win the district championship, but lost to Northern York in a semifinal game at Ephrata earlier on Thursday afternoon, 4-0.

No. 11 seed Northern York (18-5) will now play No. 12 seed West Perry (18-5) for the District 3-AAA championship at 7 p.m. Friday at Santander Stadium in York. The District 3-AAA title game was originally set for Thursday evening at Santander, but was postponed because of rain.

Northeastern, meanwhile, moves on to the PIAA Class AAA state playoffs on Monday for a first-round game against the District 12-AAA champion at a site and time to be determined. Archbishop Wood (17-5) took the District 12-AAA title over Franklin Towne Charter on Thursday, 8-0.

 

By DICK VANO’LINDA

505-5407/@ydsports

Northeastern second baseman Trae Beyer completes a double play as West Perry’s Tregg Webel slides in late during a District 3-AAA semifinal baseball

Northeastern second baseman Trae Beyer completes a double play as West Perry’s Tregg Webel slides in late during a District 3-AAA semifinal baseball game on Tuesday. West Perry won, 9-2. (JOHN A. PAVONCELLO — jpavoncello@yorkdispatch.com)
Northeastern third baseman Steve Shinkus gets tangled up with West Perry’s Tregg Webel after tagging him out on Tuesday.

Northeastern third baseman Steve Shinkus gets tangled up with West Perry’s Tregg Webel after tagging him out on Tuesday. (JOHN A. PAVONCELLO — jpavoncello@yorkdispatch.com)

DILLSBURG — When the ball left Kody Reeser’s bat in the bottom of the fourth inning on Tuesday evening, the immediate thought was that Northeastern was going to get right back in its District 3 Class AAA semifinal game against West Perry.

Reeser finished off a tremendous 10-pitch at bat with a searing line drive up the middle.

Northeastern was trailing, 3-0, at the time, but it had the bases loaded with no outs. Reeser’s rocket would surely make it into center field, scoring one run and possibly even two.

West Perry shortstop Deric Ellerman, though, had another idea.

Ellerman ranged to his left to spear the ball. He then stepped on second to double up the runner and threw to first base to double up that runner and complete a rare triple play.

Hope turned to despair for the Bobcats.

West Perry went on to win the game, 9-2, and earn a place in the championship game against the winner of Wednesday’s game between Oley Valley and Northern York. Northeastern, meanwhile, will take on the loser of the Oley Valley-Northern game for third place.

“That (a triple play) is the worst situation to have in a ballgame,” Reeser said. “It really takes the air out of the whole team. It was fairly early in the game, but it had an effect on us.”

There wasn’t anything that Reeser could have done any better in that particular at bat.

“I had a good at bat, and it felt good coming off the bat,” he said. “I just got down to first base when they got Grant (Myers) out (completing the triple play).”

Northeastern head coach Don Kauffman agreed with Reeser that it was difficult for his players to recover from the triple play.

“It was kind of like popping the balloon,” Kauffman said. “We were down three, but it looked like we were going to get a chance to put up at least one (run) or maybe more. There was nothing any different that our base runners could have done. They just took one step. Give that kid who executed the play credit. It was catch, step (on second base) and throw (to first base).”

Kauffman was proud of the way that his players responded in their final at bat even though they were trailing by nine runs at the time. Northeastern scored both of its runs in the bottom of the seventh inning.

“These kids never give up,” Kauffman said. “They battle.”

Trae Beyer delivered the big hit of the inning, a two-run double to the gap in left-center field.

“I went up there trying to keep the game going,” Beyer said. “He (West Perry pitcher Ben Dum) was good. We didn’t know what was coming. Coach (Kauffman) tells us the next game is the most important one. That’s what we’ll focus on.”

Dum, an NCAA Division I college recruit by Virginia Commonwealth, struck out 11 and walked just one. He allowed just five hits. Tom Skehan collected two of Northeastern’s hits

West Perry, meanwhile, banged out 12 hits. Dum aided his own cause with three hits, while Tanner Gerst, Brady Smith and Scotty Messner added two hits apiece for the Mustangs.

West Perry broke the contest wide open by scoring five runs in the top of the sixth inning.

While the Mustangs go after the district title on Thursday, Northeastern will seek to keep its season alive. The winner of the third-place game qualifies for the state tournament along with the district champion and runner-up team.

“They (the Northeastern players) are obviously upset,” Kauffman said. “We’ll regroup for Thursday’s game. You don’t have to win the district to go all the way in states. I know that first hand.”

The 2004 Northeastern team finished second in District 3, but won the Class AA state title.

— Reach Dick VanOlinda at dvanolinda@yorkdispatch.com.

 


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