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2 big wins for MAHS baseball, but 2 losses, too

By Larry Etter

Press & Journal Staff

717-944-4628
Posted 5/9/18

Despite a pair of humbling losses last week, the Middletown varsity baseball team picked up two big wins as well to keep their postseason hopes alive.

The Blue Raiders stand at 9-8 and hold the …

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2 big wins for MAHS baseball, but 2 losses, too

Posted

Despite a pair of humbling losses last week, the Middletown varsity baseball team picked up two big wins as well to keep their postseason hopes alive.

The Blue Raiders stand at 9-8 and hold the No. 11 spot in the District III-AAAA power rankings.

Because the top 10 teams make the district playoffs, the Raiders came into the week with the hopes of picking up a couple wins to qualify for the postseason tournament.

On Monday, pitcher Blake Jacoby fired a shutout against Mid-Penn Conference Keystone Division power Palmyra (12-4 on the season). The Blue Raiders won 2-0 as Jacoby gave up just two hits.

Kyle Truesdale had a great defensive game at second base and went 2-for-2 at the plate. He also stole home for one of the Middletown runs.

The Blue Raiders also registered a 6-1 victory over Camp Hill on Thursday.

Their next game was Senior Night at home on Tuesday against Steel-High. They play at Trinity on Thursday.

Middletown 6, Camp Hill 1

Senior right-hander Blake Jacoby pitched a complete game gem on Thursday at home, the defense played a nearly flawless game and the bats came alive as the Blue Raiders rolled to the 6-1 decision over the visiting Lions.

The Raiders avenged an earlier loss at Camp Hill to record their eighth victory.

While Jacoby recorded just three strikeouts, he had terrific command of his pitches. He was aided by eighth groundouts and nine flyouts or popouts while scattering seven hits.

The defense made just one error.

On offense, the Blue Raiders punched out nine hits, including a two-run homer by Adam Kell in the fifth inning.

Jacoby had a double and single, and Scott Ash added two singles.

Camp Hill struck first in the top of the opening inning, scoring the run on a fielder’s choice ground ball by Luke Newman that plated teammate Luke Goodyear. That turned out to be the Lions’ only score.

The Raiders tied the score in the bottom of the inning on Jacoby’s RBI double to left that drove in Ash, who had led off with a walk.

In the top of the second, Jacoby got out of trouble following a single and an error, getting Goodyear on a popout for the third out that ended the threat.

In the home half, the Blue Raiders scored three times to take a 4-1 lead. Matt Schopf led off with a single up the middle, Wagner followed with a bunt single and Aaron McDevitt’s blooper to shallow right center loaded the bases. Following a fielder’s choice that forced Schopf out at home, Ash punched out a single to left to knock in Wagner and McDevitt. A wild pitch by Camp Hill’s Quinn Buffington with Avery Williams at the plate allowed Ash to score for run No. 4.

The score stood at 4-1 through the third, fourth and half of the fifth innings before the Raiders struck again. Ash, who started it off with an infield single, went to second on Williams’ sacrifice bunt and reached third on a wild pitch.

Facing a 2-2 count, Kell drove Buffington’s offering over the left field fence 330 feet away to push the home team’s lead to 6-1.

In the top of the sixth inning, the Lions hit a pair of singles but both runners were left stranded on a line-out to shortstop.

In the top of the seventh, Jacoby sat down the Lions in order to lock down the 6-1 victory.

East Pennsboro 13, Middletown 0

In Enola on Tuesday, the host Panthers scored 5 runs in the bottom of the first inning, picked up 5 more in the home half of the third and then collected three more in the bottom of the fourth to post the 13-0 win in five innings.

The Middletown batters were held to just three hits by East Pennsboro hurler Michael Morales, who walked two and hit two batters while striking out six in the shortened game.

Ash, Cam Peters and Williams each singled for the Raiders’ only hits.

The Panthers, who finished play last week with an 11-4 record, sat in second place behind Northern York in the Capital Division at 9-2.

The Panthers struck for nine hits against two Middletown pitchers and took advantage of seven walks and four errors in the rout.

Ash led off the game with a single but was stranded, as were Peters in the second and Williams in the third as the Middletown offense could not get anything going against Morales. Trying to extend the game in the top of the fifth, Middletown put two runners on when McDevitt was hit by a pitch leading off and Ash drew a one-out walk. But Morales ended it on a fly ball and strikeout.

Lower Dauphin 14, Middletown 4

The Blue Raiders stepped out of division play Friday and had the unenviable task of facing long-standing rival Lower Dauphin.

The Falcons came into the game at Middletown after earning co-leadership standing in the Mid-Penn Conference Keystone Division with Palmyra. With the win Friday, the Falcons lifted their season record to 15-2 and placed themselves near the top of the District III-AAAAA rankings.

With both David Alcock (broken fingertip) and Adam Kell (tendonitis) unable to pitch, Middletown coach Mike Lupia was short on bodies. He started Dom Barilla on the mound, a senior who pitched a few innings this year. Barilla got off to a good start by pitching two scoreless innings before the Falcons showed why they are one of the top teams in the Mid-Penn Conference.

After the Falcons loaded the bases on a single by Josh Saufley and a pair of walks with one out, Barilla struck out Will Manley and got Derek Wyld on a popup to end the early threat in the top of the first inning. The Raiders left one runner stranded in the home half.

Barilla had a better inning in the top of the second. With one out, a popout/pickoff double play kept the Falcons from scoring again.

In the home half, Peters was hit by a pitch, Wagner walked with one out and McDevitt nearly broke the scoreless tie with a bomb to deep left. But the ball stayed in the park, caught by Wyld just in front of the fence, and denied the Raiders a chance to score. A hard liner on which Wyld made another good play ended the inning.

Everything broke loose for Lower Dauphin in the top of the third. As the Falcon batters adjusted to Barilla’s pitching, the visitors scored 6 runs on six hits to get the runaway victory started.

Hits by Saufley, Tommy Bramley, Jarek Bacon, Wyld, Conner Buggy, Nick Bennett and Hunter Eisenhour did the damage.

Garrett Miller took over on the hill for Barilla and got the final two outs.

Good at-bats in the bottom of the fourth inning, however, got the Blue Raiders right back into the game. With one out, Schopf and Miller drew back-to-back walks and McDevitt greeted new Falcon pitcher Evan Bowman with an RBI single to center for the Raiders’ first run. Kyle Truesdale followed with a single to drive in Miller, and Ash was safe on an error that loaded the bases for Middletown.

McDevitt beat out a play at home on a fielder’s choice grounder for run No. 3 and another fielder’s choice ground by Kell allowed Truesdale to score another run to make it a 6-4 game and lift the spirits of the home team.

But those hopes were dashed as the Falcons erupted for 8 runs in the top of the fifth. After the Falcons scored five runs off two walks, a hit batsman and three straight singles, Lupia had to make another pitching change.

Owen Haederer, another hurler who had seen limited innings this year, was stung for three more Falcon runs before getting out of the inning on a popup and flyout. Manley took over on the hill for the Falcons at that point and, after giving up a leadoff walk to Peters, picked up three straight outs to end the game early.