Donegal beats Lititz – and rain

Donegal pitcher Darin Gorski tags out Lititz runner Jordan Weaver at second base.

Donegal wins 12-0 to earn berth in Midget final, but the Township-Penn Manor nightcap is suspended by storms

By Dave Bryne
New Era Correspondent

Donegal beat Monday’s unsettled weather to the finish line in the first game of a New Era Tournament Midget semifinal doubleheader.

Led by the strong arm of Darin Gorski and the clutch hitting of Charlie Carper, Donegal wrapped up a 12-0 win over the Lititz Oddfellows at Ephrata’s War Memorial Field in a game shortened to five innings by the 10-run mercy rule.

Manheim Township Black and Penn Manor Comets Blue were not as fortunate.

The thunderstorms that settled into the northeast end of the county threatened to linger well into the night, causing the suspension of their second game.

Township led 3-0 going into the bottom of the third inning, from which point the game will be resumed tonight at 7 p.m.

Donegal (17-5) followed a familiar pattern for its second win of the tournament: good defense, timely hitting and outstanding pitching.

Gorski tossed his second shutout in five days, backing his 6-inning 1-hitter on Thursday with a 5-inning 3-hitter last night.

He pitched his way out of Lititz’s only threat of the night in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Oddfellow’s Andy Thompson tomahawked a high pitch into center field and Nick Ruscigno followed with a ringing double to right center to open the inning.

With runners on second and third, Gorski got Kent Gerdes on a bouncer to the mound, induced Jordan Zimmerman to foul out to first and retired Alex Hart on a nice play by second baseman Tyler Persun.

Even though the score was 11-0 at the time, Donegal’s sense of urgency showed no signs of diminishing.

They threw three double plays at Lititz and Carper was in the thick of all of them.

He fired to Persun at first to double off Alex Hart after Tyler Kline popped up a bunt attempt in the second.

He gunned down Jordan Weaver at second on a strike out/double play in the third.

With one out and a runner on first in the fifth inning he trailed the play on Jason Griffith’s fielder’s choice grounder to short.

When Persun threw the ball away at first, Carper pounced on it, returning it to Persun in time to tag Griffith, who was trying to advance to second. The play ended the game.

“That’s why it pays to run it back,” Carper said. “That’s basic instinct. You always run it back just in case it comes through.”

“I told him we want him to beat the baserunner to first,” said his coach, Jerry Hess. “He’s worked hard at it. This will keep him doing it.”

Carper was also in the middle of two big innings for the Donegal offense.

His pop single into short center field loaded the bases in the first inning and, after a force out at home, for the second out of the inning, Greg Breneman blooped a 2-run double between rightfielder Steve Elmer and secondbaseman Martin Sommers.

An error on the play allowed the third run to score and Breneman came home when Andrew Flattery’s fly ball to left was dropped.

“Falling down 4-0 early took a lot out of the guys,” lamented Lititz coach Frank Camera. “We were trying for some damage control.”

Instead they got more damage.

Jordan Mellinger led off the third with a single to left and Carper lined a 2-run homer into the football bleachers in left to make it 6-0.

“Lately, I’ve been seeing the ball better, relaxing at the plate,” he said.

His blast was the opening salvo in what would become a 6-run inning as Donegal sent ten men to the plate.

“Once again, timely hitting,” declared Hess.

“Donegal hit the ball,” agreed Camera, “they got the ball in play. But the only two balls they really laced into were Matt Cafrelli’s (2-run) single to left and Carp’s line-drive homer. They had a lot of small stuff.”

Small stuff leading to big results. And a sense of satisfaction.

“We wanted this team from the get-go,” Carper said. “They’re the only team that pretty much slaughtered us during the season.”

Hess allowed that Lititz’s 13-4 league playoff semifinal victory – on Donegal’s home field – was an incentive.

“That didn’t sit too well with the kids,” he said. ” I’ve got a lot of respect for Frank (Camera) but we wanted that back.”

Donegal teammates congratulate Charlie Carper after his home run.

Donegal duo makes sure team is loose

By Jason Guarente
New Era Sports Writer

If you watch Darin Gorski and Charlie Carper during a baseball game, you can only draw one conclusion.

They’re both a little crazy.

Donegal’s charismatic duo never stops talking. They cheer. They joke. They laugh. They bounce around. And all of their teammates join in with them.

Why do they behave this way? Lots of reasons.

“It kind of messes the other team up,” said Gorski, Donegal’s ace pitcher. “It gives them a little something to think about.”

“That’s just the way we play ball,” added Carper, the catcher. “We grew up together. I’ve been catching him since Midget-Midget and it has just carried on.”

It doesn’t take long to figure out that Gorski and Carper represent the spirit of their team.

They were at their noisy, riled-up best when Donegal defeated Lititz Oddfellows 12-0 in the Midget semifinals of the New Era Tournament at Ephrata’s War Memorial Field Monday night.

What Gorski and Carper provide more than anything else is energy. In a game with a pace that can often lull you to sleep, Donegal’s players always seem to be on their toes. Baseball never gets boring for them.

“When this team has fun, we win,” Carper said. “When we don’t have fun, we’re in the gutter. We try to keep up the inspiration.”

When one of Donegal’s hitters swung through a breaking ball, Gorski offered some loud advice from the dugout.

“Keep your cabeza on the ball!,” he screamed, pointing to his head.

When Carper threw out a runner trying to steal second, he made sure everyone knew how he did it.

“From the knees!” he shouted with a smile. “From the knees!”

Everyone seemed to get a kick out of it.

There’s a reason this dynamic works for Donegal, which is 17-5 this season. The two wackiest players on the team are also two of the most talented.

Gorski, a tall, lanky kid, is a hard-throwing lefty who has fired 10 shutout innings in Donegal’s two victories in this tournament. Armed with a mid-80s fastball and a forkball, the junior-to-be is expected to be part of Donegal High’s rotation in the spring.

Carper, who will be the starting catcher for the varsity, is built more like a Mack truck. He’s the slugger in the middle of the lineup. Carper went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer against Lititz.

Their non-stop energy and enthusiasm, and their friendship, fuel Donegal.

In the fourth inning against Lititz, Gorski was in a rare jam. With runners at second and third and no outs, Carper paid a visit to the mound.

After a few seconds, Gorski was wearing a huge grin and Carper was jogging back to his spot behind the plate.

“He makes comments to get me thinking, to get my mind off the task at hand,” Gorski said. “He tells me jokes and strange sayings.”

After Carper’s visit, Gorski retired the next three hitters to escape the threat without a run. Once he was relaxed, he pitched better.

“He keeps me from getting too uptight,” Gorski said.

That’s one of the keys to Donegal’s success this summer. The boys in green are one step away from a New Era title because they never feel tense.

Gorski and Carper simply won’t allow it.

Lititz pitcher Jordan Zimmerman tags Donegal’s Matt Cafrelli.

Darin Gorski cranks it up for Donegal.

Lititz player Kent Gerdes ponders the game during a team huddle.