Lancaster Township, Manheim win LNP J-M openers

Josh Sangrey mows down Garden Spot.

By Keith Schweigert
Special to the LNP

The Lancaster Township Royals and the Manheim Lions were victorious Tuesday night in a junior-midget doubleheader as the 50th annual LNP Tournament got underway at Mount Joy’s Kunkle Field.

The Lions outlasted the Elizabethtown Blue 12-9 in the opening game of the twinbill, while the Royals defeated Garden Spot 5-4 in the nightcap, which was a makeup of a game postponed by rain on Monday night.

The two teams will now prepare to face off against each other in the quarterfinal round on Tuesday, July 25 at Kunkle Field.

In the opening game, Manheim pitcher Matt Mumma prevailed despite giving up 11 walks, coming up with enough magic to hold off the Blue. He limited E-town to four hits on the night.

After a scoreless first inning, the Lions jumped out to a 2-0 lead against losing pitcher Eric Meechum. Tanner Strickler got the Lions started with a single, stole second, and scored on a base hit by Shane Ecenrode. After Joe Kenneff walked and Ecenrode took third on a passed ball, Mike Kernisky scored Ecenrode with a sacrifice fly.

After E-town scored a run in the top of the third to cut the Lion lead in half, Manheim carved out two more runs in their half of the inning to make it 4-1 when Mumma scored on a single by Mark Bell and Bell scored on a base hit by Ecenrode.

Manheim widened the gap in the fourth with a six-run rally. After Meechum loaded the bases with two walks and a single, Lion shortstop Jeff Smoker slugged a grand slam home run over the left field wall to chase Meechum in favor of reliever Eric O’Conner.

The Lions’ two other runs came in when Bell and Strickler, who reached base on a single and a walk, scored on an error by second baseman Casey Greinermiller.

E-town made the game interesting in the fifth, scoring five runs by taking advantage of two Lion errors and three walks by Mumma. Greinermiller had a key hit for the Blue with a two-run single.

After the Lions scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth, the Blue staged a final rally in the seventh, scoring three runs to pull close. Eric Hiller nailed a solo home run to lead off the inning, while Meechum and Justin Klinger scored on walks.

The Blue loaded the bases with two outs, putting the potential tying run at the plate. But Mumma came through by striking out O’Conner to end the game.

The second game was much closer than the first, as Township pitcher Josh Sangrey outdueled three Garden Spot hurlers as the Royals erased a 4-2 deficit in the come-from-behind win.

Sangrey went the distance for the Royals, giving up just three hits for the outing. He also struck out seven batters while walking five, and pitched himself out of several jams to deny Garden Spot.

Township quickly jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Lucas Gonzalez singled to get on base, stole second, and took both third and home on two passed balls. The other run was scored by Mike Saladik, who walked and eventually scored on an error.

Garden Spot scored in the bottom of the first to make it 2-1, and then took a 4-2 lead in the second when Jeremy Grabill smashed a three-run home run.

The Royals made it 4-3 in the third when Saladik walked, stole second, took third on a single by Chris Wilson, and scored on Joe Wilcox’s groundout to second.

Brett Herrlinger tied the game in the fourth with an RBI single, and then scored the game-winning run in the sixth off reliever and losing pitcher Aaron Miller.

After walking to start the inning, Herrlinger took second on a missed pickoff attempt, and went to third on a fielder’s choice. Sangrey then struck out for the second out of the inning to bring up Saladik, who also drew a walk.

But the fourth ball eluded Garden Spot catcher Steve Stolzfus, going all the way to the backstop. Herrlinger took off for the plate and beat the throw for the go-ahead run.

Jeff Smoker is congratulated after hitting a grand slam homer against Elizabethtown.