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2 losses end season for baseball Raiders

By Larry Etter

Press & Journal Staff

717-944-4628
Posted 5/22/19

Heading into the final week of the regular season, the Middletown Blue Raiders had a chance to earn enough points to qualify for postseason play. Win one of the two and the hopes stayed alive. Win …

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2 losses end season for baseball Raiders

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Heading into the final week of the regular season, the Middletown Blue Raiders had a chance to earn enough points to qualify for postseason play. Win one of the two and the hopes stayed alive. Win both and the odds were totally in their favor.

But those hopes were dashed when the Raiders lost both games, knocking them out of contention and ending their season with a 10-10 overall record instead.

While beating playoff-bound Bishop McDevitt was a long shot, the team’s chances of winning against Central Dauphin East appeared to be reasonable.

But the Raiders lost both, forcing them to turn in their equipment and ending the varsity careers of six seniors — Scott Ash, Cole Senior, Jaxson Senior, Avery Williams. P.J. Sidhu and Cam Peters.

Some will compete this summer on American Legion teams while some are finished.

The team won the games they were supposed to win this season, but lost to the top teams in the Mid-Penn Conference Capital Division along with several crossover games against better squads. As a result, the 10-10 record was a respectable finish for a team without any real stars.

Bishop McDevitt 6, Middletown 5

After having Monday’s game against CD East rescheduled to Wednesday, the Raiders played host to Bishop McDevitt on May 14 in a crossover contest that was moved to Middletown because of unplayable conditions at McDevitt.

The Blue Raiders fell behind 4-0 after 4½ innings before breaking the ice with a single run in the bottom of the fifth.

A 4-run sixth pushed the Raiders into a 5-4 lead heading into the final frame, but the Crusaders rallied for a pair of scores in the top of the seventh and held off the home team in the bottom of the inning to secure the 6-5 win.

McDevitt scored single runs in the first and second innings and plated two more in the third to grab the 4-0 advantage. The two runs in the third came on a home run by designated hitter Morgan Sawyer after Tim Wagner’s double in the bottom of the second went unrewarded.

The score stayed at 4-0 through the top of the fifth inning. In the bottom of the fifth, Avery Williams singled with two outs and scored on an RBI single by Cam Peters.

Starting pitcher Scott Ash gave up a one-out double in the top of the sixth but got Jake Anderson on a pop-up for out No. 2 before giving way to reliever Brady Keyser, who also induced a pop-up for the third out.

What followed was an unusual series of plays that resulted in four runs for Middletown.

Wagner led off with a walk against McDevitt reliever Kris Kolk, and Jaxson Senior followed with a base on balls to put the first two runners on base. After DH Collin Heffner singled to center to load the bases, Kolk got the first out on a strikeout.

With Ash at the plate and a rainbow in the sky, things went in the right direction for the Raiders via unusual circumstances.

First, Ash’s ground ball was misplayed for an error that allowed Wagner to score from third. Then an overthrow to second trying to get Ash gave Senior and pinch-runner A.J. Stains the green light to race for home. Yet another miscue by the Crusaders allowed Ash to score from second as the Raiders suddenly took a 5-4 lead.

Before the home team could do any more damage, Kolk sat down the next two batters to end the wild inning.

Unfortunately, the one-run lead did not hold up in the top of the seventh. The Crusaders scored a pair of unearned runs on a walk, an error and a sacrifice fly.

In the bottom of the inning, relief pitcher Casey Blask recorded a pair of quick strikeouts before Wagner was safe on an error. A third strikeout finished the game, a 6-5 win for the visitors.

Central Dauphin East 4, Middletown 1

The visiting Panthers came into their final contest after having won just a couple of games while playing in the Mid-Penn Keystone Division. But they showed they were a better team than their 2-16 record indicated.

Getting six strong innings from starting pitcher Rafael Gonzalez and solid hitting on offense, the Panthers turned back the Blue Raiders on Wednesday afternoon, May 15.

The Raiders scored one run in the bottom of the first inning on a bases-loaded walk by Wagner with two outs. As it turned out, that would be the only run the home team would get in the contest. The Middletown offense ended with just three hits against Gonzales.

Wagner’s walk forced in Williams from third with two outs. East tied the score in the top of the second on an error, and the tie held up through three full innings.

In the top of the fourth, the Panthers loaded the bases with no outs against starter Garrett Miller and scored a run on a walk. Miller struck out Luke Schick for the first out and got Bryson Dinnini on a fielder’s choice, but another run scored on the play. A groundout ended the inning, but the visitors led 3-1.

The Blue Raiders went down in order in the home half of the fourth and the Panthers added another run in the top of the fifth.

An RBI single by Gonzalez drove in Kayden Hendrickson, who had doubled with one out. Mike Tuffy took over on the mound for the Raiders and picked up two outs to end the frame.

In the bottom of the fifth, Ash singled with one out and Williams drew a base on balls to put two runners on board. But Gonzalez continued his dominance by striking out the next two batters.

Tuffy and the defense held the Panthers scoreless in the sixth and seventh to give the Raiders a chance. But the Middletown batters were sat down in order in both innings to give the visitors the victory.