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MAHS baseball team goes 0-2 for week

By Larry Etter

Press & Journal Staff

717-944-4628
Posted 5/1/19

After flying along with a six-game winning streak, the Middletown varsity baseball team came crashing back to Earth last week, suffering a pair of losses to Mid-Penn Conference Capital Division …

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MAHS baseball team goes 0-2 for week

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After flying along with a six-game winning streak, the Middletown varsity baseball team came crashing back to Earth last week, suffering a pair of losses to Mid-Penn Conference Capital Division leaders East Pennsboro and Northern York.

Those two teams, both of which had defeated the Blue Raiders earlier in the season, again showed why they are still sitting on top of the division by posting big victories over the Raiders and other teams in the conference.

On April 22, host Northern York shut out the Raiders 11-0 in five innings. On Wednesday, visiting East Pennsboro topped the Middletown nine 16-1, for a pair of division losses.  The setbacks, along with a rainout on Friday at Boiling Springs, left the Blue Raiders with a 6-5 record as the season’s second half got under way. They stand at No. 12 in the PIAA District III Class 4A power rankings. The top 10 make the postseason.

The team was scheduled to play at Camp Hill on Tuesday, host a home game with Steelton-Highspire on Thursday, and step out of the division at Lower Dauphin on Friday.

Northern York 11, Middletown 0

The underdog Blue Raiders got off to a promising start at Northern last Monday, loading the bases in the top of the first inning with a pair of singles and a one-out walk against Polar Bears starter Eddie Ensor.

Scott Ash led off the game with a hit to center field and Garrett Miller followed with a single through the gap to put the first two batters on base. With one out, Ray Truntz drew a base on balls to fill the bags with runners. Ensor struck out the next two batters to end the Middletown threat.

Ensor really settled in after that opening frame and ended up with 10 strikeouts, issued just two more walks and yielded a lone single in the third through fourth innings. Tommy Molsky had a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the fifth to preserve the shutout and end the game early.

The Polar Bears scored 6 runs off Middletown starter Brady Keyser in the bottom of the first inning to set the tone for the win. Seven hits by the home team led to an early 6-0 lead.

A base on balls by A.J. Stains in the second inning and a two-out single by Truntz in the third went unrewarded.

Keyser settled in on the mound and pitched no-hit innings in the bottoms of the second and third frames to keep the score unchanged after three.

In the top of the fourth, the Blue Raiders had a chance to break their scoreless status when Justin Yohn drew a one-out walk and Keyser was safe on an error. But they, too, were left stranded by Ensor and the Northern defense.

The Polar Bears broke out with a 5-run fifth for an 11-0 lead that led to the short game. Five hits, including a 2-run triple by Tanner Merovich, keyed the run barrage before reliever Mike Tuffy got the final out. Needing a pair of runs to keep the game going, the Raiders, instead, came up empty in the top of the fifth, ending the game for the winners.

East Pennsboro 16, Middletown 1

The only real highlight of the game for the Raiders was Keyser’s two-out single in the bottom of the fifth inning that broke up Mike Morales’ no-hit bid.

Morales was cruising along with the shutout and was one out away from posting the no-hitter when pinch hitter Keyser stroked a clean single to center that drove in Tim Wagner from second for the Raiders’ lone score of the game.

The RBI kept the game going another inning, but the Panthers erupted for six runs in the top of the sixth to push the home team into a 16-1 hole, essentially locking up the win prior to the Middletown team’s final at bats in the bottom of the stanza.

East Pennsboro scored 1 run in the top of the second and 3 each in the third, fourth and fifth innings against Middletown starter Miller to go up on top 10-0.

Cam Peters drew a walk to lead off the second but was left stranded, and the Raiders were sat down in order in the third and fourth frames.

Peters was the only Middletown runner to reach base until Wagner walked to lead off the fifth. With two outs, Keyser broke up Morales’ no-hit bid with his pinch hit single that made it a 10-1 game.

Yohn relieved Miller with a runner on first to start the top of the sixth, but the Panthers took advantage of a hit batsman, a pair of walks and a 2-run triple by Alejandro Escalet to add four runs to their lead.

An RBI single by Nick Embleton and a fielder’s choice ground ball pushed in two more runs as the visitors jumped out to a 16-1 lead.

In the home half of the sixth, Miller drew a one-out walk but reliever Escalet ended it with a pair of ground-outs to seal the victory.