Angels turn on the power and advance to quarterfinals

Mountville’s Jake Shellenberger homers against Pequea Valley.

By Dave Byrne
New Era Correspondent

The Mountville Angels looked heavenly in the first round of the New Era Midget Baseball Tournament Wednesday night in Mount Joy.

They advanced to the Junior Midget Division quarterfinals with an impressive display of hitting, flattening the Pequea Valley Braves 23-0.

Continuing New Era Tourney trends, the Angels (19-5) introduced their own group of Bash Brothers. Josh Albright, Justin Weaver, Jake Shellenberger and Vinnie Doyle all homered to pace a 16-hit attack.

Albright limited the Braves (21-6) to Steven Entrekin’s third-inning single, while striking out 11 and walking none in five innings. Doyle and Shellenberger mopped up with an inning each of hitless, scoreless relief, with only a walk to David Hall to break the Braves’ offensive silence.

But the big story was the big offense. Showing the sweetest swing this side of Ted Williams, Doyle went 4-for-5 with 5 RBI. Needing only a triple to complete hitting for the cycle, he smacked a bases-loaded single to right and skied to center in a fifth-inning Angels’ bat-around.

“Last year I hit pretty good, but I was pulling my head out and uppercutting,” Doyle said, noting that he carried those habits over to this year. “Somehow I just finally figured it out and it came through at a perfect time.”

Other soloists in coach Tom Sullivan’s hit parade included James King, who was 3-for-4 with 3 RBI; Weaver, 2-for-3 with 4 RBI; Albright, 2-for-4 with 2 RBI and Aaron Zeamer, 1-for-2 with 3 RBI. Shellenberger’s two-run homer was his only hit in four at-bats.

“I hope we didn’t use ’em all up tonight,” said Sullivan. “I hope we have some (hits) left for the rest of the tournament.”

Mountville utilized an eight-run second-inning bat-around plus-two and the 10-run fifth-inning bat-around plus-six to blow open the game.

Three errors in the second inning made all eight runs unearned. Starter Chase Hall deserved a better fate.

Reliever Scott Donkiewicz gamely forged on toward the finish line, absorbing an awful pounding and Entrekin actually re-established order, retiring the last four hitters of the game in order.

While Midget and Midget-Midget teams from Mountville have won New Era titles in recent years, the Junior-Midget groups have been silent.

That might change this year as Sullivan has blended Doyle and Shellenberger, two important cogs in M-M coach Bob Souders’ ’95 New Era champs, into a group of predominantly second-year players, led by Albright.

“I think we have a better team this year than last year,” Albright said. “This team seems to step it up a little more when we need it to.”

“I don’t like to compare one team to another,” Sullivan said. “They all have their unique style. We have more talent put together and they play together well.”