Norlanco advances with blowout over Manheim VFW

Jake Rutt fires for Norlanco.

By Dave Byrne
New Era Correspondent

Jake Rutt’s nickname is “Diesel.”

He’s not really sure why.

“Probably from pitching,” he offered. “There’s a major league pitcher, I guess that’s where they got it.” Monday night, in the New Era Tournament Midget-Midget semifinals, Rutt’s pitching was the engine that pulled his team into the championship game as the Norlanco Redbirds defeated Manheim VFW Maroon, 10-3.

The Redbirds (25-4), champions of the Penn Manor League, will find a familiar face opposite them tonight in the finals, the Mountville Indians.

Mountville, the PM runnerup, stopped defending champion Mt. Joy Blue 4-1 in Monday’s other semifinal.

Game time is set for 7 p.m. at Mt. Joy’s Kunkle Field.

Rutt’s second start of this tournament was much better than his first.

On Thursday he got no decision, lasting 11-e innings while giving up two runs on two hits and two walks. Three of the four outs he got were by strikeout.

Monday, throwing mostly fastballs, he went five innings for the win, giving up three runs on five hits. It was his eighth win this season against one loss.

He was still a little wild, walking four, but he struck out seven. The hallmark of this outing was his willingness to get his fielders involved.

“When he relies on his defense, and trusts his mechanics, he’s really a good pitcher,” said Redbird’s coach Mike Lowrie. “And you saw that tonight.”

The Redbirds’ attack was also a little more potent this game, banging out 11 hits and giving Rutt a four-run cushion before he threw a pitch.

“The guys started hitting the ball a little bit,” said Lowrie. “Tonight was a lot better.”

Designated hitter Andre Hoover (3-for-4, 2 RBI, 2 runs) was the catalyst in the first, knocking in a run with a double and later scoring on a wild pitch.

Brian Neff scored on an error on Parke Martin’s grounder and Jair Saenz doubled home Martin with the fourth run.

Hoover singled and scored the ‘Birds’ fifth run in the second, and knocked in another run with a sixth-inning hit.

Manheim (19-10) made a run at getting back in the game in the latter stages.

Derik Fahnestock singled home a run in the fourth inning. One inning later Kyle Winters scored on an error and Josh Good plated Ben Hollinger with an infield out to make it a 6-3 game.

But the ‘Birds put the game away with four runs in the top of the sixth inning on John Armbrust’s RBI double, Hoover’s hit, a wild pitch and a delayed steal of home on Tim Murray’s bunt single.

Redbirds’ Parke Martin slides safely home in front of Manheim VFW’s Derik Faunestock.

Redbirds teammates congratulate Jair Saenz (11).

Redbirds relief pitcher Brian Neff delivers against Manheim VFW.

Norlanco’s Brian Neff is thrown out a second base as Manheim VFW’s Lucas Gantz makes the catch before applying the tag.