New Era Correspondent
You won’t find this anywhere in the Spaulding Baseball Guide, but it’s nonetheless a self-evident truth:
If you don’t hit and you don’t field, you won’t win.
Comet Blue found itself in a no-win situation Thursday night at Clipper Magazine Stadium, dropping a 7-5 decision to the Lititz Oddfellows in the first game of a New Era Tournament Midget quarterfinal doubleheader.
The second game of the night, Manheim Township Black versus Strasburg/Willow Street, was suspended by bad weather in the top of the fourth inning with the teams tied at 1-1. (See SWS’s semifinal game for completion)
That game will be completed prior to Monday’s semifinals, beginning at 3:30 p.m.
The Manheim-Donegal semifinal follows the completion of the suspended game and the Oddfellows (16-3) will take on the winner of the suspended game 20 minutes after the conclusion of the second game.
The championship game is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday evening.
The Comets (13-7-1) committed six errors, a recipe for disaster in itself.
“Defense wins and loses games, said Comet coach Scott Keddie. “It comes down to who makes the plays and who doesn’t. In this case, they made a few more plays than we did.”
Lititz got a few more hits, too. Comet Blue managed just four off Oddfellows pitching.
Two of those four hits came in a three-run seventh inning that made the final score more respectable.
Lititz banged out eleven hits and never trailed, scoring two runs in each of the first, fourth and fifth innings before capping the night with a single run in the seventh.
Leadoff hitter Zach Snyder scored three runs and got the night off to a grand start for Lititz, working a walk from Comet starter Cameron Black, who was possibly nonplused by his surroundings.
Snyder stole second, took third on a wild pitch to Mike Freeman and scored on another wild pitch.
Freeman eventually got a pitch in the strike zone and grounded to third, but was safe on a two-base throwing error.
After taking third on Black’s third wild pitch of the inning, Freeman came home on Zach Shank’s grounder to second.
Before the Comets came to bat, the game was halted for 77 minutes by lightning and rain.
Black appeared to settle in after that, allowing two hits over the next 22-e innings.
Shank and Skylar Gingrich opened the fourth inning with singles, each advancing a base on a bobble in left on Gingrich’s hit.
Tyler Kline grounded to short, scoring Shank, but was safe on an error that also allowed Gingrich to touch home.
“Put the ball in play and make things happen,” said Lititz coach Frank Camera.
“We saw Cameron twice before this year. They beat us 6-1 and we beat them 7-4. They are a very tough eight seed to be facing.”
Mark Stuckey’s one-out triple to right set the table for Snyder’s RBI double to center in the fifth inning. It also chased Black.
Andy Sellers replaced him and Freeman moved Snyder to third on a grounder to the secondbaseman.
Snyder then came home as Shank bounced a single back up the middle.
Snyder set the table in the seventh inning, reaching base on what else? An error. He scored on pinchhitter Andy Glassmyer’s single.
Down 4-0, Comet Blue made a move to get back in the game in the bottom of the fourth.
Stuckey, in his second inning in relief of Snyder _ Camera found work for four pitchers getting them acclimated to pitching at the Clip _ issued a one-out walk to Black, and suddenly Lititz couldn’t field the ball either.
Sellers was safe on an error on his grounder to short, with Black crossing the plate. Then Tyler Gault reached base as Gingrich dropped his popup on the left field line.
Mike Spisak hit a ball to short that Shank backed up on, then took off the head on a bad hop.
Credited with an infield single, Spisak’s hit loaded the bases, setting the stage for Steve Sigel’s, two-out RBI base-on-balls.
Stuckey then poured three straight pitches past Aaron Breneman, ending the inning.
Mike Freeman pitched the fifth and sixth innings for the ‘Fellows, earning the win with an effective six up, six down outing.