New Era Correspondent
In his pregame instructions Mountville Angels coach Ron Brubaker challenged his team to come out and attack the ball.
Mountville mounted a six-hit, eight run first-inning assault on E-town Blue and starter Travis Epply and went on to record a 13-5 victory in the first game of a New Era Tournament Junior-Midget semifinal at Mt. Joy’s Kunkle Field Monday evening.
The win gives the Angels a shot at their second J-M title in three years as they take on defending champion Manheim Township Black, tonight at 7 p.m. at Kunkle.
Township got the best of a pitcher’s duel between its own Darren Yoder and Lititz VFW’s Adam Zipko, prevailing 3-0.
Mountville strafed four E-town pitchers for 12 hits and drew seven walks.
Brandon Hickey knocked in four runs in the first inning with a three-run homer and a bases-loaded walk.
Andrew Weitzel singled three times, knocked in two runs, scored one and stole five bases.
Cullen Wolf was 3-for-4 with a solo homer, and was one of four Angels to score twice.
“I could see a different energy level in them tonight,” said Brubaker. “They came out and they just started banging the ball.”
Mitch Bachman walked to innocently open the first inning and Wolf singled on an 0-2 pitch.
Hickey blasted a 1-1 fastball over the fence in right-center, and the carnage commenced.
“What I usually do is lay off the first pitch, see if the pitcher has good stuff,” Hickey said.
Steve Remley singled, but was thrown out trying to stretch it to second. Mike Garner walked and Patrick Welsh doubled him to third.
When Weitzel singled home Garner, E-town coach John Fosnot came and got Epply, replacing him with Jordan Eberly.
Aaron Law scored Welsh with a sacrifice bunt and Weitzel scored on a wild pitch to winning pitcher Alex Manacher.
Manacher eventually walked, as did Bachman. In his second turn of the inning, Wolf dropped a single behind first to load the bases, then Hickey walked to force in a run.
“I’ll take a walk. It’s an RBI,” Hickey said. “It’s kind of tough doing that. “You’re really focused on hitting the ball. You want to drive the ball out of there.”
Presented with an early eight-run cushion, Manacher scattered five hits in five innings, yielding home runs to Brad Garber and Michael Van Horn.
“He did an excellent job, for the most part,” said Brubaker. “He kept the ball down, threw groundball outs.”
When E-town got back-to-back hits to start the sixth, Manacher gave way to Welsh, who restored order – but not before a two-base error in center allowed Blue’s fifth run to score.
Unfortunately for E-town, Mountville didn’t stop putting up runs after one inning.
Wolf hooked a solo shot over rightfield in the third inning. Weitzel knocked in his second run with a fourth-inning single.
Josh Longsderff and Bachman singled in runs in the sixth and another scored on an error as the hits just kept coming.
“Actually, those were big runs, said Brubaker. “If we don’t score any (more) runs, it’s 8-4 and who knows what happens at that point.”
But it never came to the dreaded game-tying homer that had Brubaker sweating and, when Welsh consumed Danny Secord’s two-out grounder to short, with two on in the seventh, Brubaker could relax.