For a team that couldn’t buy a victory in the early going, Manheim VFW has certainly found its winning ways.
The latest example, for a team that started the season 0-for-8, was an exciting 7-6 victory over the Mountville Indians, Thursday night in the opening game of the 65th LNP Tournament.
The win was Manheim’s 10th in its last 13 games, improving VFW’s overall record to 11-15.
Winning pitcher Jared Siegrist singled Kody Kegarise home from third with one out in the bottom of the sixth, sending VFW into Monday night’s Midget-Midget semifinals opposite the Warwick Phillies. The Phillies defeated Donegal 4-0 in Thursday night’s second game.
Game time Monday is 6 p.m.
Mountville jumped on top with a 3-run first inning highlighted by an RBI double from Ben Miller and RBI singles from Avery Dombroski and Reilly Workman.
When Manheim came into the dugout, coach Jeff Flanagan told them, “Three runs ain’t going to win this game.”
Mountville ace Jonathon Beck walked two batters and hit another in the bottom of the first and yielded to Ben Miller.
Manheim plated a run on a pickoff error by Miller, then took the lead on a pair of two-out rallies in the third and fourth innings.
Down 6-4, Mountville tied it up on an error and a ground out, setting the stage for the big finish.
Miller walked two batters and Tanner Fahnestock bunted the runners up.
Siegrist hit Miller’s first pitch up the middle, ending the game.
“I was nervous up there,” he said. “I was just going to swing at the first pitch that I saw that was a strike.”
“He leads the team in batting average and on base percentage,” said Flanagan. “If we had to have somebody up there in that situation, that’s the guy we wanted.”
In the nightcap Warwick’s Collin Gibble did his best Karl Wallenda impression, walking a tightrope without a net, but made it to the end practically unscathed.
Despite getting its leadoff batter on in each of the first five innings, Donegal could not dent Gibble, who walked three, hit two batters and scattered three hits. He struck out 12.
With the score 1-0 Warwick, the Indians did have a runner thrown out at home in the second inning, trying to score on a wild pitch. A real momentum shifter.
Donegal also had a runner picked off at first and Warwick turned a double play behind Gibble to end the game.
One hit, Ben Ross’s one-out home run in the sixth inning, spoiled what was otherwise an outstanding outing.
“It was a good pitch,” Gibble shrugged.
Meanwhile, Warwick was pecking away at Donegal starter Cameron Ney, scoring single runs in the first, third, fourth and fifth innings on hits by Jordan Cipalla, Tim Griest, Patrick Mullen and Gibble.
“We’re not going to score a ton of runs,” said coach Eric Martin. “But they understand, we’re going to get runners on, we’re going to apply pressure on the defense and we’re going to scratch runs across.”