New Era Correspondent
Looking at the final result, it’s hard to believe these two teams played three previous games in the Eastern County Midget League, each decided by two runs.
But then again it was hard to believe this game. The New Era Tournament Midget matchup unfolded Tuesday on Lampeter-Strasburg’s JV field in not-too-classic fashion, and you rubbed your eyes. You blinked, hard. You shook your head.
Manheim Township Northeast Rotary 31, Reamstown 11.
This game never would have gone seven innings anyway, but it was shortened to five innings by the 10-run rule. Even so, it took three hours, 15 minutes to play.
Reamstown pitching walked 15 Township batters, 13 of whom scored. In the field, Reamstown committed eight errors, leading to 10 unearned runs.
Veteran Township coach John Dochterman said it was the wackiest game he had ever been involved in.
“By far,” he said. “(Reamstown coach) Al Reddig is one of the finest coaches I’ve been around. I feel bad for him. I thought we were back on our heels when they turned the momentum around, but his pitching let him down today.”
“We weren’t throwing strikes,” Reddig said. “All night we got ahead of hitters and let them slip away.
“We got ourselves in trouble, then threw the ball away a few times. We couldn’t avoid that big inning.”
Township (14-10) banged out 17 hits. Eight of the nine Township starters reached base at least once and scored at least once.
Shortstop John Snyder stepped to the plate six times, reaching base and scoring all six times.
“I don’t think I’ve ever scored six times in one game,” he said. “The rest of our team was batting, too, and that gave me the opportunities to get up there. Very easily, I could’ve only been up maybe three times, but our bats came through the whole way through the lineup.”
Greg Lausch, Mike Delaney and winning pitcher Mike McDonald each drove in four runs. Andrew Sapovchak drove in three.
Catcher Matt Davey was right behind Snyder in the scoring parade, crossing the dish five times. Lausch and Sapovchak each scored four times.
Manheim Township staked starter Jordan Arena, who missed last year with a broken arm, to a 10-1 lead.
But Reamstown (11-9), keyed by Matt Stegeman’s three-run triple, put up 10 runs in their half of the third to take an 11-10 lead.
They might have had more, but Delaney, ranging from his first base position, made a nice over-the-shoulder catch while running into right field to snag Matt Behney’s soft fly and end the inning, stranding two runners.
“Delaney, to me, is the best first baseman at this age in the county,” Dochterman said. “He makes a great play look routine in every game.”
An eight-run fourth gave Township an 18-11 edge going into the bottom of the fourth where Snyder, playing a virtuoso shortstop, re-established order.
Brad Howe opened the Reamstown fourth with a single, but Snyder scooped Ted Rathman’s grounder, stepped on second and threw to Delaney for the twin-killing. He played catch with Delaney again on Mark Rathman’s grounder and suddenly the momentum was with Township.
“Just routine plays,” Synder said modestly. “Our pitching started to come through and we got some ground balls to help out.”
“The momentum switched back,” Reddig said, “and we ran out of pitching.”
Township carried that momentum into a 17-batter fifth inning, scoring 13 runs before David Young, the fifth Reamstown pitcher, slammed the door with a pair of strikeouts.
The bulk of this Township team advanced to the junior-midget semifinals last year and are semifinalists again. With a tall task ahead of them, defending champion Solanco , Saturday morning back at L-S.
Meanwhile, Reddig and Reamstown have to again utter the rallying cry of the 50’s Brooklyn Dodgers, “Wait until next year.”
For five years now, Reamstown teams have entered the New Era starting gate. Reddig has had better teams, he’s had worse, but there’s been one constant.
Five years they’ve tried on the glass slipper, only to have it shatter in the prince’s hand. Five years they have looked for that elusive first tournament victory.
“We’re still looking,” Reddig said. “Hopefully, we’ll be back here again and get another shot.”
Aument powers Solanco Midgets past Manheim
By Toby Therrien
New Era Correspondent
It’s kind of funny listening to a guy like Greg Aument swear he’s a singles hitter just after he’s finished pounding the baseball deep into the hot horizon.
But that’s exactly what the burly Solanco first baseman did after leading his team to a 12-2 victory over the Manheim Barons at Lampeter-Strasburg Tuesday afternoon.
Solanco, the defending Midget Division champion of the New Era Midget Baseball Tournament, used a 14-hit barrage keyed by Aument’s power to advance to Saturday’s semifinals, where it will take on Manheim Township at 10 a.m. at L-S.
Aument is one big reason why Solanco is back in the hunt for another New Era title. And still he insists, “I’m not much of a power hitter. Mostly singles up the middle.”
Well, true, he did flare an RBI single over the shortstop to make it 3-0 in the third inning.
But wasn’t that a pretty nasty poke into the rightfield gap to score the first two runs with a double in Solanco ‘s first at-bat?
And how about when he crushed the ball over the rightfielder’s head for his fourth RBI of the game before motoring into third with a triple?
Think of a lefthanded Jeff Bagwell and you’ve got Aument’s approach to hitting. He hugs the plate with his back foot and opens his front foot so he’s almost facing the pitcher. Aument says he can see the ball better that way.
“I kind of like the ball in so I can get my bat around, turn on it, and drive it to right or right-center,” says the Solanco High School junior, who hit over .400 for the varsity as a sophomore this spring. “Lately I’ve been getting same pretty nice pitches and I’ve been able to get my hands around and drive them.”
His father, Solanco Midget coach Dave Aument, agrees.
“If (Greg) sees the pitch, he can drive it,” says Dave, “but he’s a singles hitter. If he tries to lift it, he’ll pop up.”
Solanco doesn’t pop up much.
After winning the Lanco Midget League championship on Monday night with an 11-6 win over Manheim Township, Solanco wasted little time in taking control of Tuesday’s game.
Aument’s one-out double in the top of the first scored Brian Tercha from second and Matt Wimer from first.
And with the umpire calling strikes on the outside corner, the Barons had little chance of capitalizing on any rallies against crafty righthander Tim Haverstick.
Haverstick gave up just one run and five hits through five innings, finishing with nine strike outs and three walks.
“If (the ump’s) going to be generous with the corner, you might as well try to extend it,” says the Solanco sophomore, who also went 3-for-4, with a double, two runs and two stolen bases. “I just try to throw the ball, work the corners, and keep it low so I get some ground balls and let the defense do it for me.”
Three of the hits off Haverstick were clustered in the second inning, when Manheim loaded the bases with one out on three straight singles from Matt Houser, Jason Bootie and Michael Schompert.
But with Josh Gehman at the plate, Barons coach Marland Fair called for a drag bunt.
“We didn’t have the fastest runner at third,” says Fair, “so I wanted to try and get the ball moving down the first-base line and bring the guy in.”
It didn’t happen and Houser was tagged out at home. Haverstick then struck out Gehman to end the inning.
Solanco struck for two more runs in the third, to make the score 4-0, highlighted by Aument’s single into short centerfield.
Then Solanco doubled its advantage with four more runs in the fourth.
Brent Grumbling lined a one-out single into left field and moved to second on an error. With two outs, he scored on Tercha’s slap single into right.
Tercha, a Solanco junior who finished with two hits and three runs, moved up a base when the throw went through to home and scored when Wimer followed with a line single to left.
Aument then came to the plate and pounded his triple against the rightfield fence, scoring when the relay throw went wide of third and out of play.
Manheim, which won the Penn Manor Gold Division and finished 11-3, notched a run in the fifth inning when Adam Swarr’s single scored Chris Hartenstine from second. Swarr, a sophomore at Manheim Central, also had a sacrifice fly in the seventh to score Schompert.