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Legion baseball team finishes 8-10 on season

By Larry Etter

Press & Journal Staff

717-944-4628
Posted 7/10/19

During the final week of the regular season, Middletown’s American Legion baseball team hosted a pair of doubleheaders.

On Monday, July 1, Post 594 played host to Harrisburg, and on …

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Legion baseball team finishes 8-10 on season

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During the final week of the regular season, Middletown’s American Legion baseball team hosted a pair of doubleheaders.

On Monday, July 1, Post 594 played host to Harrisburg, and on Wednesday, July 3, the Middletown team played Dauphin in a combination of regularly scheduled and makeup games as the teams finished up their schedules.

Middletown finished at 8-10 for the season.

Middletown lost its opener to Harrisburg 2-1, but finished the second one with a 13-9 victory. Post 594 posted a 4-0 shutout victory over Dauphin but dropped the nightcap by a 4-2 score to end the season.

The contests were played at Lower Swatara Township’s field in Little Hollywood because of the lights there as the second games each day went on well past sundown.

Harrisburg 2, Middletown 1

Harrisburg scored both of its runs in the top of the first inning, which turned out to be just enough to post the win.

Middletown scored its lone run in the bottom of the third, but could get no more as the hits never came against pitcher Makai Rogers in the five-inning game. Middletown recorded just four hits against Rogers.

In the top of the first inning, Harrisburg took advantage of one hit and four walks issued by starter Garrett Miller. Both runs came via bases-loaded walks as Miller struggled with his control.

Miller settled in after that rough start and ended up with seven strikeouts and no hits after giving up a leadoff single to start the game. The problem was, the Middletown offense could not get going.

Cam Peters got the first hit for Post 594 in the home half of the second inning, but was left stranded. A pair of singles by Justin Yohn and Michael Tuffy to start the bottom of the third inning led to Post 594’s lone run of the game, an RBI single by Miller.

In the fourth frame, Marcus Mancini’s infield hit with two outs went unrewarded. And in the fifth inning a serious threat following a two-out double down the left field line by Yohn ended with a game-ending strikeout by Rogers that secured the win for Harrisburg,

Middletown 13, Harrisburg 9

The coaches elected to play a full seven-inning game in the second part of the double header, and Harrisburg did its best to try to rally from a 13-6 deficit in the final two innings.

With Middletown scoring two runs in each of the first two stanzas and plating three more in the top of the fourth for a 7-3 lead after Harrisburg collected three runs in the bottom, it appeared as if Post 594 was on its way to a comfortable win.

But Harrisburg would not quit. A three-run fourth kept it close at 7-6 and, even after Middletown went up 13-6 in the top of the fifth, Harrisburg kept fighting. Three more runs in the bottom of the sixth by Harrisburg kept the outcome in doubt. And, after Middletown batters were sat down in order in the top of the seventh, Harrisburg threatened by loading the bases with two outs in the home half to make a tense game even more so. But Matt Schopf struck out Video Tucker looking to end the threat and the game.

In the first inning, David Alcock and Justin Yohn walked ahead of a single by Scott Ash that loaded the bases against Tucker. With no outs, Cam Peters stroked a clean single up the middle to knock in Alcock and Yohn for the 2-0 lead. Tucker got out of the inning via a double play and a pop-out.

Peters sat down Harrisburg in order in the bottom of the first and Post 594 plated two more runs in the top of the second to take a 4-0 lead.

Collin Heffner led off with a base on balls, Alec Merry singled to left with one out and Caden Sweeny also drew a walk to load the bases. With two outs, Yohn doubled in the two runs to pad the Middletown lead.

In the bottom of the second, Peters struck out Brandon Hill with two runners on base to preserve the shutout.

Middletown threatened to add to its lead in the top of the third, but Tucker got out of trouble. Harrisburg scored three runs in the bottom of the third, keyed by two hits, a balk and a pair of walks, to pull within a run, 4-3.

But the Middletown squad responded to the challenge by scoring three more runs in the top of the fourth. With one out, Sweeny and Alcock drew back-to-back walks and then raced home on Yohn’s 2-run triple. Yohn was out at home trying to score on Scott Ash’s single, but Peters knocked in Ash who had gone to third on a passed ball. The runs gave Middletown a 7-3 lead.

But Harrisburg again rallied in the bottom of the frame, using three hits and an error to collect three runs of their own. The runs again cut the difference to just one, 7-6.

A six-run outburst by the Post 594 offense, however, again gave Middletown some breathing room. With new pitcher Stevie Graves on the hill, both Schopf and Collin Heffner were hit by pitches and Brady Keyser singled to load the bases. A walk to Merry and a single by Tuffy drove in two runs.

With two outs, Ash drew a base on balls to force in Merry for the third run. Three more runs came home when the center fielder lost Peters’ high fly ball in the lights. The 13-6 lead held up through the middle of the sixth but was broken when Harrisburg collected another trio of runs in the bottom of the inning. Two runs scored on a double by Tucker and another came on a balk.

Middletown went down in order in the top of the seventh and Harrisburg tried to rally again in the home half. But after Harrisburg loaded the bases with two outs, Schopf struck out Tucker on a called third strike to end it and ice the win.

Middletown 4, Dauphin 0

Scott Ash threw a one-hitter, yielding a single in the bottom of the last inning, and the Middletown offense scored single runs in the first and second innings, plus two in the fourth, in posting the 4-0 win in the first game of the doubleheader Wednesday against Dauphin.

Yohn’s two-out single in the first frame drove in pinch runner Alec Merry following Ash’s single for the first run. In the second stanza, Tuffy singled to left center with two outs to plate Avery Williams for run No. 2.

In the top of the fourth, Schopf was hit by a pitch with one out, and scored with two outs on Keyser’s hit for run No. 3. Keyser, thanks to a pair of Dauphin errors, scored the fourth run.

Ash and the defense took care of the rest of the game and finished the shutout for the win.

Dauphin 4, Middletown 2

With a different lineup for the second game, Middletown could not get much going offensively and Post 594 fell to the Dauphin Rebels 4-2 in the season finale.

Post 594 broke a 0-0 stalemate in the bottom of the second stanza on a two-run homer by Schopf. Facing a 2-1 count, Schopf ripped Sam Sackler’s next pitch over the left-field fence for the round tripper. Unfortunately, Sackler and reliever Isaac Myers kept the Middletown team off the scoreboard the rest of the way.

Dauphin scored all four of its runs in the top of the third, using walks, errors and a single hit to plate the scores.

Post 594 got just one hit, a bloop single by Miller with two outs in the fifth, the rest of the way.

The Rebels also had just one hit, a one-out single in the top of the fifth, but the 4-2 lead held up as Dauphin secured the victory.

Legion plays 4 times in 4 days, wins 3

Middletown’s American Legion baseball team was forced to play four games in four days in the next-to-last week of the regular season, but came out as winners in three of those contests in a strong display of good baseball.

Following a loss to Hummelstown on Thursday, June 27, Post 594 ran off three straight victories over the next three days to increase its season win total to six, recording wins over Hummelstown, Linglestown and Upper Dauphin prior to the final week of the season.

Hummelstown 12, Middletown 2

On June 27, Hummelstown erased a 2-1 Middletown lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth inning and then erupted for nine more in the bottom of the sixth to end the game early due to the 10-run rule.

Matt Schopf’s RBI single gave Middletown the early 1-0 lead that stretched to 2-0 before Hummelstown came to bat. Post 265 scored a single run in the bottom of the third to make it a 2-1 game.

But Hummelstown pitchers Ethan Westerberg and Mitchell Kleman held the Middletown batters scoreless the rest of the way and the offense went ahead 3-2 in the home half of the fifth.

While the Middletown offense was limited to four hits (two each by Schopf and Garrett Miller), Hummelstown recorded seven hits. Nick Bennett, Jake Arnold, Kleman, Westerberg, Brayden Rupert and Ryan Gerst drove in runs for the winners.

Middletown 10, Hummelstown 4

Post 594 reversed its fortunes at home June 28 with a 10-4 triumph over visiting Hummelstown.

After jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, Post 594 saw that advantage erased as Post 265 tied the score in the top of the fourth frame. But a six-run rally in the home half of the sixth stanza and a shutout in the top of the seventh locked up the victory for the home team.

The uprising was kicked off by an RBI single by Tim Wagner.

Scott Ash, who was also the winning pitcher, had driven in Middletown’s first run with a single in the bottom of the first frame. Ash struck out 10 batters and gave up four hits and four runs.

Middletown batters tagged Hummelstown starter Josh Gardner with five hits and six runs over 3 2/3 innings.

Post 265’s big fourth inning was keyed by hits from Josh Gardner, Jake Arnold, Westerberg and Dylan Goddard.

Ash and Cam Peters each had a pair of hits to lead the Middletown offense to eight hits overall, and the Post 594 defense played flawlessly without a single error in the game. Michael Tuffy cleanly handled seven chances in the field.

Middletown 13, Linglestown 5

Post 594 recorded its second victory of the season over Linglestown on Saturday, June 29, in a 13-5 triumph on Post 272’s home field.

Matt Schopf turned in a big performance, driving in five runs to key the victory. Schopf ripped a grand slam in the first inning as Post 594 exploded for eight runs. Other hits in the first came off the bats of Tim Wagner, Brady Keyser, Scott Ash and Cam Peters.

Schopf’s RBI single in the seventh inning capped a 10-hit outing for the winners. Schopf, Ash and Marcus Mancini each had multiple hits for the Middletown squad.

Zach Darcangelo had a pair of hits for Linglestown.

Keyser picked up the pitching victory, going 3 2/3 innings, allowing three runs and four hits while striking out three. Darcangelo took the loss, lasting just one inning and allowing three hits and six runs.

Following the 8-inning first frame, Middletown picked up single runs in the second, third, fifth, sixth and seventh innings. Linglestown scored one run in the first inning and two each in the second and seventh stanzas in the loss.

Middletown 6, Upper Dauphin 3

Continuing its hot streak on Sunday, June 30, Post 594 hosted the team from Elizabethville to take on league leader Upper Dauphin. When it was over, the Middletown team celebrated a huge victory after handing Post 404 just its second loss of the season.

Trailing 3-0 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning, Post 594 erupted for six runs in a big turnaround and the defense, with Michael Tuffy on in relief of starter David Alcock, shut out the visitors in the top of the seventh to lock up the victory.

Alcock earned the pitching win with his six innings of work on the hill. He scattered eight hits and three runs while striking out four in the decision.

Hot bats by Middletown led to 11 hits. Mancini, Justin Yohn, Alcock and Wagner each had a pair of hits to lead the attack, and the defense played error-free in the game.

Tuffy’s double in the pivotal sixth inning drove in two runs to spark the six-run rally.