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Raiders pick up first two wins of season on the diamond

By Larry Etter

Press & Journal Staff

717-944-4628
Posted 4/10/19

After going 0-3 in their first three games of the new season the Blue Raiders picked up a pair of much-needed victories in varsity baseball action last week.

Following a 5-3 setback against …

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Raiders pick up first two wins of season on the diamond

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After going 0-3 in their first three games of the new season the Blue Raiders picked up a pair of much-needed victories in varsity baseball action last week.

Following a 5-3 setback against visiting Camp Hill on Tuesday, the Raiders turned a short road trip to Steelton-Highspire on Thursday into a successful one with a 14-0 defeat over the Rollers. The Raiders followed that up with a pleasing 4-3 win over Shippensburg on Saturday afternoon for their first two victories of the season to move to 2-3.

Those first three losses to the top three teams of the Mid-Penn Conference Capital Division were no surprise. And Middletown’s win over Steelton-Highspire was expected as well. The triumph over Shippensburg turned out to be a pleasant surprise to some and should go a long way in building the confidence Mike Lupia’s team needed.

The Blue Raiders hung in with Camp Hill and played tough despite the loss, so the game at Steel-High came at a good time. Saturday’s non-divisional meeting with Shippensburg in a game that was postponed from Friday was a good test to see if the Raiders are moving in the right direction. As it turned out, they passed the test.

Camp Hill 5, Middletown 3

With Camp Hill starter Carey Myers controlling the game with sharp pitching and keeping the Raiders off the bases, the Lions scored one run in the top of the second inning and three more in the top of the third to take a 4-0 lead.

The first run came with two outs on a fielding error. A two-run triple by Myers and a wild pitch scored the other three runs. But starter Scott Ash, thanks to a pair of 1-2-3 innings in the fourth and fifth and a solid sixth, gave up no more runs before Tony Powell took over in the seventh.

The Lions scored a single run in the seventh on a RBI single off Luke Goodyear after the Raiders picked up their first run in the fifth.

In the home half of the fifth, Ash singled with two outs and scored on a triple to deep center by Avery Williams that made it a 4-1 game. Down by the 5-1 score in the bottom of the seventh, the Blue Raiders rallied for a pair of runs to give themselves a chance.

With one out, Collin Heffner walked and went to second on an errant pickoff attempt. Powell was safe on an error that moved Heffner to third, and Ash singled to load the bases with one out.

Williams walked on four pitches against reliever Cade Shover, forcing in Heffner from third. Cam Peters hit into a fielder’s choice that allowed Powell to score for the second run. But the rally and the game ended on a strikeout as the Lions held on for the win.

Middletown 14, Steelton-Highspire 0

It’s no secret that Steelton-Highspire has long struggled with its baseball program, and the Blue Raiders were prepared to take advantage of the Rollers in Steelton on Thursday.

After the first inning ended in a 0-0 standoff, the Raiders scored four runs in the top of the second to take the lead. With one out, Steel-High pitcher Mike Stazewski ran into trouble, issuing three straight walks to Heffner, Ray Truntz and Garrett Miller to load the bases for Justin Yohn, who punched out a two-run single through the gap for a 2-0 lead. Three more walks, two with the bases loaded, pushed in two more runs to give the Raiders a 4-0 lead.

Middletown pitcher Brady Keyser gave up a leadoff infield single to start the bottom of the second and a one-out walk, but dodged trouble with a strikeout and pop up to end the threat. The Blue Raiders plated two more runs in the top of the third, the runs coming on a double by Jaxson Senior that drove in Heffner and Yohn.

Michael Tuffy took over on the mound for the Blue Raiders in the bottom of the inning and faced just four batters to keep the Rollers off the scoreboard.

In the top of the fourth, the Middletown nine blew the game wide open by scoring 6 runs on their way to a 12-0 advantage.

Williams led off with a walk, went to second on a balk and reached third on a wild pitch. Tim Wagner’s single knocked in Williams for the first run. After stealing second, Wagner scored when Cam Peters was safe on an error.

Peters scored on an infield single by Miller and, with two outs, Senior’s double to center drove in pinch runner Powell and Miller for runs 10 and 11. Ash’s double to right drove in Senior for the 12th run.

The Rollers nearly scored in the bottom of the fourth, but were denied on a terrific play by Williams in left field. After Erick Crankfield was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, he ran to third on a throwing error by the Middletown defense.

Stazewski hit a long fly ball that Williams caught in deep left. Tagging up on the play, Crankfield ran for home, but a great throw by Williams was grabbed by catcher Yohn who dove and tug out Crankfield for a double play.

Cesar Villamel followed with an infield single but Tuffy struck out the next batter to end the inning.

The Raiders scored two more runs in the top of the fifth, the first on a fielder’s choice grounder by P. J. Sidhu that drove in Wagner and a bases loaded error that allowed Powell to score from third. Tuffy finished well in control, striking out the side to end the game early due to the 10-run rule.

Middletown 4, Shippensburg 3

Against the visiting Greyhounds on Saturday, the Blue Raiders tied the game at 1 in the second inning on an error after spotting their guests an early 1-0 lead.

Shippensburg went ahead 3-1 via a pair of unearned runs, one each in the fourth and fifth innings with Ash on the mound. The Raiders scored single runs in the home halves of the fifth and sixth stanzas to set the stage for the late rally.

Ash pitched 6 1/3 innings, ending with 10 strikeouts, before giving way to Keyser with one out in the top of the seventh. Keyser did his job and kept the Greyhounds from scoring, keeping the game tied at 3-3 heading into the bottom of the seventh.

With men on base and two outs, Truntz came through with his third hit of the game, a drive through the infield that knocked in Wagner from third base for the game-winning run. The victors recorded eight hits in the win.