East Pete gains Midget-Midget semifinals

Sam Minder cranks up against Mount Joy Blue.

By Keith Schweigert
Special to the New Era

Take away the first inning of East Petersburg’s New Era Tournament midget-midget quarterfinal game against Mt. Joy Blue, and you have yourself quite a ballgame.

Unfortunately for Mt. Joy, the first inning counts.

East Petersburg took advantage of two Blue errors and slapped seven base hits in the first inning to take a quick 7-0 lead, then held off Mt. Joy the rest of the way for an 8-3 win in a makeup of Monday night’s postponed games.

In the other makeup game, the Ephrata Lions had an easy night, defeating the Mt. Joy Red by forfeit. Red could not muster enough players by game time, and was forced to concede.

With their victories, East Petersburg and Ephrata will meet in the midget-midget semifinals on Thursday at 8:15 p.m. at Mt. Joy’s Kunkle Field.

East Pete wasted no time in jumping on top of Mt. Joy Blue on Tuesday, chasing losing pitcher Dan Myers in the first inning. Myers gave up six runs and six hits before being pulled with David Brunozzi on third base after one-third of an inning.

Brunozzi then scored on an RBI single by leadoff hitter Ben Murray off of reliever Justin Bish to close the book on Myers.

Murray, winning pitcher Sam Minder, and Shawn Robinson all had RBIs for the Reds in the first inning. The other runs were aided by two Mt. Joy errors, including one on right fielder Jason Boll that allowed two runs to score.

“They definitely had some problems in the field, and that helped us extend the first inning,” said East Petersburg coach Skip Walters. “Sometimes that’s the way this level of baseball is.”

After the disastrous first inning, Mt. Joy seemed to settle down, allowing just one run and five hits for the rest of the game, but the damage had been done.

Mt. Joy got on the scoreboard in the third inning when Jere Hess singled and scored on an RBI double by Wade Groff, who had two extra-base hits and drove in two of Blue’s three runs.

Blue pulled closer in the fifth inning courtesy of Hess and Groff. With one out, Hess singled, followed by Groff’s RBI triple. Groff later scored on a groundout by Bish.

East Petersburg added an insurance run in their half of the fifth when Justin Tearney, who was 3-for-3 on the evening, tripled to left and scored when a passed ball went out of play.

“After that first inning, we didn’t seem to get a whole lot of breaks,” said Walters. “We hit some hard shots out there, but they made some good defensive plays on us.”

Danny Walters, who came in to relieve Minder, gave up a one-out single to Ryan Storm in the sixth inning. But Jeff Dombach popped up on a hit-and-run to double off Storm and end the game.

“All in all, we played a pretty strong game,” said Walters. “We made a few errors, but also had some good defensive plays out there.”