Lightning, rain postpones nightcap
By Dave Byrne
Severe weather left its mark on the first night of the 67th New Era Tournament’s Midget Division schedule.
Not only did Thursday night’s storm postpone the second game of a scheduled quarterfinal doubleheader at Clipper Magazine Stadium, it truncated the first game as well.
In that game, Manheim VFW scored three runs in the fourth inning to take the lead over Comet Blue, then collected a 5Â½-inning, 5-4 victory when lightning and rains rendered further play impossible.
Postponed until Sunday at 2 p.m. was the Solanco-Donegal contest, originally set for Thursday night.
Today’s twinbill, Ephrata Pride vs. Lititz Oddfellows and Manheim Twp. Black vs. SWS, is set to go on as scheduled at 5:15 p.m. and 20 minutes following the conclusion of the first game.
With Solanco and Donegal playing early Sunday afternoon, the semifinal schedule will change slightly.
Instead of the Solanco-Donegal winner playing at 5:15 p.m. Sunday — essentially playing back-to-back games — the Ephrata-Lititz and Township-SWS winners will play at 5:15 with Manheim taking on the Solanco-Donegal winner in the final game of the day, weather permitting.
It permitted enough game action Thursday to allow Manheim (19-2) to overcome some early unpleasantness.
Comet Blue (11-8) put up four first-inning runs on just two hits as VFW starter Colin Fry walked three behind an error.
The third walk, to Collin Groff, forced in the first run of the game. Then the Comets unleashed some base running daring-do.
With Hunter McVey breaking from third on a suicide squeeze, Anthony Knight dropped the bunt in front of the plate.
McVey was about two yards from home when Knight made contact and scored easily as catcher Shane Good threw Knight out at first.
Cameron Dickerson dropped a two-run single into left field to make it a 4-0 game, then pulled into third on Ian Batchelor’s single. However, Batchelor was out at second trying to stretch the hit.
Picking itself off the canvas, VFW posted a first-inning run on Josh Flanagan’s single, then added a second-inning score on the second of J.J. Sanchez’s three hits.
Putting the first inning behind him, Fry settled in to retire 12 straight batters.
With the pitching part of the game shored up, Manheim’s offense took care of business in the fourth.
Shane Good walked with one out and, with two out, Brenden Good singled.
Ben Bomberger followed, doubling to the warning track in right center to score two runs and tie the game.
Sanchez singled into right and Bomberger came the whole way around with what turned out to be the winning run.
The Comets made some two-out noise in the fifth inning as losing pitcher Cody Simet singled and McVey lived on an error.
But Fry got Brad Underkoffler to ground to Andrew Bucher at third for the force.
Soon enough, lightning forced the teams from the field.
And the game into history.