BY DAVE BYRNE
Buttressed by a three-homer outburst and shutdown — albeit not without drama — relief, Ty Vaughn pitched, and hit, the Mountville Angels into the Junior-Midget championship of the 70th LNP Tournament.
Vaughn pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing four hits and two runs, both coming on solo homers. He walked two and struck out three. He also went 2 for 3 at the plate, knocking in two runs with a solo home run and sacrifice fly.
It was just the second loss of the season for the White Sox, who never got untracked after falling behind. Hunter Cunningham and Connor Blantz homered for the Sox (20-2) who also plated a run on a bases-loaded walk to Joe Meck.
Up 4-1, Mountville (26-4) scored twice in the third on Vaughn’s sac fly and an error, closing out their scoring in the sixth on another error.
Turning point: No. 1, Cole Houser skied an opposite-field home run to right field off Sox starter Dylan Byler leading off the second inning. Before the inning was over Vaughn launched a solo blast way out of left field and CJ Saylor ripped a two-run shot — scoring Ryan Glenn, who singled — putting the Angels up 4-0. No. 2, having chased Vaughn on Blantz’s homer and Byler’s loud out to center, the Sox loaded the bases on reliever DJ Esbenshade on a hit and two walks. When Meck walked, Houser came on to strike out Austin Lauver and retire Derek Eckman, racing to the bag to beat Eckman as first baseman Nick Fiore went hard to his right to make a great stop.
Star of the game: Vaughn. Honorable mention to Saylor, who went 2 for 3 with two runs scored, and Houser who came on to close out the game with 1 2/3 innings of no-hit, two-walk relief.
Key statistic: The Sox left 10 on base, seven in the last three innings.
ELIZABETHTOWN NAVY 9, LITITZ VFW 3
For Elizabethtown Navy, like the Top 40 radio station jingle in the 1960s, the hits just kept on coming.
Banging out 15 hits, including a pair of home runs, E-town (16-6) stayed alive in the LNP Junior-Midget Tournament with the elimination of Lititz VFW on Thursday evening at Mount Joy’s Kunkle Field.
Cole Livingston (3 for 4), Nick Kreider (3 for 5) and Devyn Clair (3 for 3) paced Navy’s assault. Down 2-1 in the fourth inning, Livingston tied the game, scoring Clair on a sac fly to center. A Larry Locker ground out scored Evan Schneider (2 for 4 with a pair of infield singles) with the go-ahead run and E-town was never headed.
VFW (32-9-1) broke on top on Nick Breznak’s RBI fielder’s choice in the first inning. Navy evened the score on Schneider’s RBI infield single, an unearned run, in the top of the second, but VFW answered back in the bottom of the inning on Jeffrey Kline’s RBI double to the base of the fence in right.
Trailing 4-2, Lititz closed to a run on losing pitcher Brendan Martin’s RBI ground out in the fifth. Then the roof caved in.
Turning point: Locker slammed a three-run home run and Clair hit a two-run shot in Navy’s five-run sixth inning, an inning that blew the game open.
Stars of the game: Winning pitcher Hunter Murry was good enough, scattering four hits while walking three and striking out two. He allowed two of VFW’s three runs. Every time you turned around Livingston was on base. When he wasn’t Clair was.
Key statistic: All nine Navy starters reached base at least once, seven on hits.