Annville-Cleona Flaunts Playoff Readiness
Annville-Cleona played Lancaster Catholic three times during Section 4 play, losing all three games by a combined score of 29-4 (14-2, 10-0, 5-2). The Crusaders finished with a 17-3 regular season record, playing a perfect 15-0 in Section 4 and winning the crown. The Dutchmen finished 11-9 with a 4th place finish in Section 4. The Crusaders entered the District 3 3A quarterfinals match-up between the two teams as the #2 seed, while the Dutchmen were the #7 seed. With that said, when it come to the playoffs, nothing about the regular season seems to matter much.
The Dutchmen proved this on Monday, using a five-run 4th inning to not only score more in one inning than their three previous match-ups, but to put up enough runs to pull the upset. In that inning, Annville strung together a series of hits that allowed for runs to cross home. Freshman Zac Frentz hit a key double to drive in one of those runs. Gavin Keller, Colten Shaffer, Noah Morcom, and Sam Slabach also had an RBI in the inning. At the end of the 4th, the score was 5-0.
Annville senior Julian Biondollo started the game on the mound and held the Crusaders powerful offense scoreless until the 5th. In that inning, Catholic was able to put three runs on the scoreboard. Biondollo would leave the game after that frame, having allowed three runs on five hits, while striking out four and walking three.
Still clinging to a 5-3 lead, Coach Miller turned to sophomore Colten Shaffer in the 6th. With Catholic getting a runner on-base to start the inning, Shaffer and sophomore catcher Jack Getty combined on a strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out double play. This key defensive play ended the Crusader threat in the 6th. Shaffer returned to the mound in the 7th and ended the game when he froze the Catholic hitter for a called third strike. Over the course of the final two innings, Shaffer did not allow a hit, issued two walks, and struck out four. For his efforts, he was awarded the save.
On the day, Frentz was 1/3 with a double, RBI, run scored, and hit a sacrifice fly. Senior Sam Slabach was the only Dutchman with multiple hits, going 2/4 with an RBI and run scored. Although he was the only one with two hits, every other Annville starter reached base twice or had a sacrifice in the game. The only two not mentioned previously in this article were Cameron Connelly and Frelin Ramos. Sophomore Bryce Keller entered the game as a pinch runner, stealing a base and then scoring.
The Dutchmen will not play in the quarterfinals against #3 seed Trinity. The Shamrocks finished 2nd in the Capital Division of the Mid Penn Conference. If Annville-Cleona wins, they will earn an invitation into the State Playoffs.
Northern Lebanon Outscores Bubblers
Following the thrilling comeback win over West Perry on Friday (read about it here), the Northern Lebanon Vikings earned a date with the Boiling Springs Bubblers on Monday afternoon. The Vikings entered as the #7 seed in the 4A District 3 Baseball Playoffs following a 14-6 regular season. Boiling Springs was the host as the #2 seed, following an identical 14-6 record. However, the Bubblers finished 2nd in the Mid Penn Colonial, the same division where West Perry finished 7th.
Coach Thome had the luxury of putting Dylan Fegley on the mound for the second straight game. Against West Perry, the junior hurler was the winning pitcher, allowing only one hit over the course of the final three innings. In the process, he only threw forty pitches.
Fegley got the scoring started in the Top 1st, when he grounded out into a fielder’s choice that scored an early run to give the Vikings a 1-0 lead. He held then held the Bubbler’s in-check in the Bottom 1st.
When the Vikings came back to the plate in the Top 2nd, they really got things going through a game of small ball. During the inning, they bunted several times to move the runners and racked up a number of steals. By the time that Boiling Springs was able to record three outs, give Vikings had crossed home plate. Northern Lebanon carried a 6-0 lead through their first two trips to the batter’s box.
Fegley again held Boiling Springs scoreless in the Bottom half of the 2nd. The Vikings then tacked on an additional run to take a 7-0 lead before Boiling Springs had been able to respond. Unfortunately, the Bubblers were not finished and quickly put up five runs in the Bottom 3rd, aided by a Matt McNair home run. Fegley was responsible for the five runs, but completed the inning before giving way to sophomore Brian Bicksler. On the afternoon, Fegley allowed the five runs on six hits, two walks, two wild pitches, and had four strikeouts.
The finals four innings of the game were all scoreless. Bicksler scattered four hits, while striking out two and not allowing a walk to preserve the victory of the Vikings.
For the Vikings, two seniors led the way with two hits each. Jared Ecenroad went 2/3 with an RBI and a run scored. Catcher DJ Byerly went 2/3. Fellow senior James Voight recorded an RBI on a sac bunt and also reached base on a walk, stealing a bag once on board. Friday’s hero, junior Moises Gonzalez swiped two bases, going 1/3 with a walk and a run scored. Also scoring runs for Northern Lebanon were Adrian Gonzalez, Xander McQuaide, Andrew Via, Brian Lowen, and Connor Stoltz.
Northern Lebanon will now prepare to play against #6 Hanover on Thursday afternoon. Since Hanover is the higher seed, the Vikings will once against have to play on the road. Hanover finished the regular season with a 14-6 record, finishing 2nd in Division 4 of the YAIAA. If Northern Lebanon wins, they will earn a spot in the District 3 Championship game and an automatic berth into States. With a loss, they would play another game for a final chance to make States.
For more on the District 3 Playoffs, check out our LebCo District Playoff Tracker.