locally owned since 1854

Raiders beat weather, but not West Perry; Middletown struggles at plate vs. Mustangs

By Larry Etter

Press & Journal Staff

717-944-4628
Posted 4/4/18

After a weather-related delay that had postponed a pair of games, the 2018 baseball season finally got underway last week for the Middletown Blue Raiders.

Although the 6-2 loss at West Perry on …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Raiders beat weather, but not West Perry; Middletown struggles at plate vs. Mustangs

Posted

After a weather-related delay that had postponed a pair of games, the 2018 baseball season finally got underway last week for the Middletown Blue Raiders.

Although the 6-2 loss at West Perry on Friday, March 30, was not how the team and new head coach Mike Lupia wanted to start, the Raiders were happy to get that first game in.

“Yeah, it’s good to finally get to play,” Lupia said prior to the game.

Lupia, along with assistants Aaron Lupia, Kyle Wheary and Brandon Popp, were anxious to see how their team would do heading into the new season.

Wheary is the lone holdover from the previous couple of seasons and works with the pitching staff.

Starter Scott Ash and reliever David Alcock pitched fairly well.

“The walks and errors definitely hurt us,” Lupia said.

The pair scattered seven hits and the six runs, four of which were unearned. Alcock finished with five strikeouts.

On offense, the Blue Raiders had just two hits against a pair of West Perry pitchers, but the Middletown batters put a number of balls in play. The Mustang defense made good plays on the hard-hit ground balls, denying base runners throughout the game.

After the Raiders went down in order on three groundouts to start the game, West Perry scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning by taking advantage of three walks and two fielding errors.

In the top of the second, Adam Kell was hit by a pitch leading off, but Cam Peters hit a hard grounder that turned into a 6-4-3 double play ball and Matt Shopf grounded out, keeping the Raiders off the scoreboard.

Ash had a better inning in the bottom of the frame, getting a groundout and strikeout to set down the first two West Perry batters.

Following a bunt single by Cody Smith, catcher Avery Williams threw out Smith on an attempted steal, making an accurate throw to second baseman Kyle Truesdale for the out.

In the top of the third, Tim Wagner was hit by a pitch with one out and Garrett Miller was safe on an error on a bunt. The miscue moved Wagner to third. Ash’s sacrifice fly to right field drove in Wagner for Middletown’s first run.

But the Mustangs plated two more runs in the home half of the third to go up by a 5-1 count. An error put leadoff hitter Aidan Zerbey on second. Zerbey later scored on a sacrifice bunt by Nate Bream.

After Trevor Gerst walked and moved to second on a passed ball, he was driven home on a single to center by Darren Sutch before Ash got out of the inning with a ground out.

The score remained unchanged before the Blue Raiders picked up their second run in the top of the fifth. With one out, Alcock punched out a single to left after working pitcher Matt Chiccini to a full count. Wagner followed with a single to center to put two runners on base.

On a double steal, Chiccini overthrew second and Alcock turned third and raced home, just barely beating out a throw, sliding under the tag of Bream at the plate.

But the Blue Raiders would not score again while the Mustangs picked up one more in the bottom of the sixth to secure the 6-2 win.

Alcock, taking over on the mound in the bottom of the fifth, gave up a leadoff double but avoided damage by striking out both Sutch and Bream to leave two players stranded.

The Raiders went down in order against new pitcher Nolan Olszewski in the top of the sixth, and the Mustangs scored on an RBI single by Smith in the home half.

Alcock walked with two outs in the top of the seventh, but Wagner went down on a pop-out to first to end the game.   

The Blue Raiders’ March 23 game at Hershey was postponed until May 11.

They were supposed to play host to Northern on Monday, but that game also was postponed because of the weather.