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6 straight for MAHS baseball as squad earns 2 home wins

By Larry Etter

Press & Journal Staff

717-944-4628
Posted 4/24/19

The Middletown varsity baseball team extended its winning streak to six straight following a pair of home victories last week.

On Tuesday, April 16, the Blue Raiders claimed a 7-3 win over an …

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6 straight for MAHS baseball as squad earns 2 home wins

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The Middletown varsity baseball team extended its winning streak to six straight following a pair of home victories last week.

On Tuesday, April 16, the Blue Raiders claimed a 7-3 win over an improved Milton Hershey squad in a Mid-Penn Conference Capital Division contest. On Thursday, the Raiders prevailed in a 10-8 decision over Susquehanna Township in a Mid-Penn crossover game.

The team stands at 6-3 as the season’s first half ended.

The Raiders were scheduled to face Northern York and East Pennsboro, the top two teams in the Capital Division, this week, along with Boiling Springs on Friday. Northern and East Penn both beat the Raiders in the beginning of the season. The game at Boiling Springs was rescheduled from March 22.

They are No. 9 in the PIAA District III Class 4A power rankings. The top 10 make the postseason.

Middletown 7, Milton Hershey 3

Historically, Milton Hershey has struggled in baseball, and the Spartans’ woes continued in 2019, having won just one game prior to their visit to Middletown. But they did show some improvement and got off to a good start with a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning.

The runs came following a one-out single by Dominic Williams, an RBI double by Dion Bryant and a fielder’s choice ground ball by Dakota Class.

The Blue Raiders went scoreless in the bottom of the opening inning but picked up their first score in the home half of the second. Ray Truntz and Garrett Miller led off the frame with back-to-back walks and Jaxson Senior’s bloop single with one out loaded the bases. Collin Heffner then drew a walk that forced in Truntz for the run.

After giving up those two early runs, Miller settled in on the mound in the second and third.

The Raiders tied the score at 2 in the bottom of the third on a two-out RBI single by Miller that drove in Williams from third. But Milton Hershey’s Ethan Frishko led off the top of the fourth with a triple and later scored the go-ahead run on Michael Gordon’s single to left.

In the bottom of the inning, Heffner singled to right, went to second on a throwing error and reached third on a wild pitch by Frishko. With two outs and Scott Ash at the plate, a passed ball allowed Heffner to race home with the tying score.

Michael Tuffy took over on the mound to start the fifth inning. After a hit batsman put the first runner on base, he sat down the next three batters to preserve the 3-3 tie.

In the bottom of the inning, Williams led off with a single up the middle, went to second on a wild pitch and reached third on a fielder’s choice by Tim Wagner. Truntz’s sacrifice fly knocked in Williams and the home team edged ahead 4-3.

A 1-2-3 inning for Tuffy kept the score unchanged in the top of the sixth.

In the bottom of the inning, the Blue Raiders plated three runs, which proved to be the difference. Heffner was safe on an error to lead off and was replaced by pinch runner P.J. Sidhu. Tony Powell and Ash both walked to load the bases and Williams greeted new pitcher Rasheed McCrae with a sac fly that drove in Sidhu from third.

With two outs, following a force out at home, Truntz punched out a sharp single between third and short, driving in Ash and Williams for the 7-3 lead.

Brady Keyser pitched the seventh, giving up a leadoff single before setting down the next three in order for the save.

Middletown 10, Susquehanna Township 8

After the visiting Indians grabbed an early 1-0 lead, the Blue Raiders scored 8 runs in the bottom of the first inning and then plated two more in the second to jump out to a 10-1 advantage.

As the game progressed, it appeared as if the margin would continue to grow. But the visitors picked up a pair of runs in the fourth and two more in the fifth to cut the lead in half, 10-5. Then the Indians scored 3 runs in the top of the seventh to send this one right down to the final out.

A one-out single, coupled with a pair of errors on the play, gave the Indians the early lead at 1-0 before Middletown pitcher Ash prevented further damage. In the home half of the first inning, Susquehanna starter Javier Perez picked up two quick outs before running into major trouble. Wagner walked and Truntz lifted a bloop single to right to put two runners on base. With Miller in the batter’s box, Truntz stole second, the throw from catcher Ryan Jacobs sailing to the outfield, and Wagner raced home for the tying score.

It only got worse for the Indians after that. First Miller drew a base on balls and Peters was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Heffner was also hit by a pitch that forced Truntz in from third, and Justin Yohn was safe on an error that scored Miller.

Perez’s control problems continued as he also hit Senior to force in another run that made the score 4-1. Lucas Ballistrere took over on the hill for the Indians and was immediately greeted with a bloop single to right field by Ash that knocked in two more runs. Before it was over, the Raiders scored two more times, one coming on an RBI single by Williams and the other coming on another catcher error.

The 8-1 lead held up as Ash had a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the second.

In the home half, Truntz led off with a single to right, Miller walked on five pitches and Peters singled to load the bases with no outs.

A passed ball with Heffner at the plate scored Truntz, and another passed ball with Senior in the box gave the Raiders a 10-1 lead. But the Middletown nine was held scoreless by Ballistrere and the Susquehanna defense the rest of the way.

Susquehanna scored two runs in the top of the fourth on two hits and some Blue Raider miscues in the field. The Raiders threatened in the home half, loading the bases with two outs, but could not pick up another run.

Another fielding error and a pair of hits led to two more scores for the Indians in the top of the fifth as the visitors cut the lead to 10-5. The Raiders went down in order in the bottom of the inning as the score held. Tuffy relieved Ash with two outs in the top of the sixth and gave up a two out walk before ending the inning.

The home team threatened again in the bottom of the sixth following back-to-back singles by Peters and Tuffy and a walk to Yohn that loaded the bags with one out. But all were left stranded.

Powell took over on the hill to start the top of the seventh and picked up two quick outs after issuing a leadoff walk. But an infield single by Emmanuel Holley and a walk by Nate Leibig loaded the bases for the Indians.

Another base on balls forced in one run and Raider coach Mike Lupia sent Tuffy back to the mound to save the day. But the Raiders got a big scare when Nate Weader ripped a hard liner just inside the left field line for a two-run single that closed the gap to 10-8.

Fortunately, Tuffy induced a fly ball to center that ended the threat and locked up the Middletown victory.