New Era Correspondent
Exiting the dugout after a loss to the defending New Era Midget-Midget champion Mountville Indians Wednesday night at Kunkle Field, one Terre Hill player was overheard telling a teammate, “They’re the best team ever!”
The youngster in the Terre Hill uniform could be forgiven his wide-eyed gush. Mountville had just handed Terre Hill its first loss of the year, and had done it quite convincingly, 15-0.
The Indians (21-11) rapped out 20 hits, including eight in a 15-man first inning that saw nine Indians cross the plate.
Mountville advances to the Midget-Midget semifinals next Tuesday against the Susquehanna North champ. That game is set for 6:15 p.m. at Mount Joy’s Kunkle Field.
Terre Hill (17-1-1), the champion of the Cocalico Area Midget-Midget B League, was clearly out of its league, a fact coach Keith Slovak was fully aware of.
But neither he, nor his team, approached the game like Dead Men Walking, and their enthusiasm for the game was refreshing.
“It was a good experience for them,” Slovak said. “They’re still laughing. They really didn’t expect to win this game. They knew coming in they were the big underdogs here. Obviously (Mountville) is at a different level than we are. ”
“I didn’t know anything about Terre Hill, said Mountville coach Bob Sauders. “And not knowing a team is a little scary going in.”
Any questions he had were quickly answered as Brent Wile singled home Matt Johnson, who had doubled to lead off the game.
Base hits by Cody Wile (4-for-4, 2 RBI) and Matt Ressler (3-for-4, 2 RBI), a walk, a fielder’s choice and three errors recycled the lineup and Keith Dowell doubled home the seventh run of the inning.
Two more runs would score before Dennis Gaul squeezed the third out of the inning in center field.
Slovak attributed the three errors, and two subsequent boots, to nerves. “We usually catch most of those balls,” he said. “We didn’t get to be 17-and-0 by accident.”
And it was no accident that Mountville crossed its first title-defense hurdle. Besides the hot bats, which spewed tracers all over Kunkle Field, there was the dominant right arm of Dowell.
Dowell crafted five innings of no-hit ball, recording 14 of the 15 outs of the game on strikeouts. The only batter retired in the field was Justin Martin who walked, (one of four issued by Dowell, two to Martin), but was caught leaning and was retired in a rundown.
Besides the free passes, the only other hitter to reach base was Chris Slovak who reached on a third-inning error.
While Dowell was taming the Terre Hill bats, Mountville pushed across six more runs over the next four innings, playing station-to-station baseball. Sometimes they got to a station, only to find an out waiting for them.
But it was in good fun and certainly made the Terre Hill players’ day.
“It was a great experience and a great way to build the Cocalico League up to this level,” Slovak said. “I’d like to thank the New Era for giving us the opportunity to play.”