Safe Harbor and Manheim reach Junior Midget semis

Safe Harbor did a lot of celebrating Tuesday night.

By Dave Byrne
New Era Correspondent

The Safe Harbor Lions came ready to do a little yard work. The Manheim Lions just came ready.

As a result of their respective victories in the Junior Midget quarterfinals of the 50th New Era Tournament Tuesday night in Mount Joy, the two familiar foes will meet yet again.

Safe Harbor (27-5) pounded out 22 hits, including seven over-the-fence, no-doubt-about-it home runs, for a 28-3 pounding of Elizabethtown Red.

Manheim (28-5) capitalized on two errors in a nine-run third inning and went on to defeat the Lancaster Township Royals, 10-1.

The Safe Harbor Lions scored nine runs in a first-inning bat-around that included home runs by winning pitcher Chris Stark (2-for-3) and Adam Young (3-for-7) and the first of three homers by Doug Stevens.

Stevens (3-for-5) blasted two-run shots in the first and fifth innings and a solo blast in the third to drive in five runs for the night.

Safe Harbor also got homers from Shawn Smith, a grand-slam in the third, and his replacement, Mike Minchoff, who drilled a three-run shot in the fifth. In all, the Lions ripped 13 extra-base hits.

Stark pitched no-hit ball for 3 2/3 innings before Jeremy Mohnshine doubled to straightaway center. Mohnshine eventually scored on a stolen base and a wild pitch and Stark finished up his night at the conclusion of the inning.

His replacement, Kurt Miller, pitched no-hit ball the rest of the way. He walked two batters in the sixth and Elizabethtown (15-10) brought them around on a ground out and a wild pitch.

In the second game, Lancaster Township (13-14) scratched out a run in the second on a single by John Walton, a walk, sacrifice and RBI ground out by Brett Herrlinger, but the Manheim Lions cuffed Josh Sangrey in the top of the third as two errors opened the door to seven unearned runs.

Matt Mumma opened the inning with a mile-high pop up to short that Herrlinger dropped. A steal and wild pitch put Mumma on third from where he scored when Jeff Smoker singled up the middle.

Winning pitcher Mark Bell walked and with one out, Shane Ecenrode doubled over a leaping Chris Wilson at first, driving in two.

Joe Kenneff’s bunt pushed Ecenrode to third and Ecenrode scored ahead of Jon Miller _ who walked _ when Walton booted Mike Kernisky’s grounder.

Kernisky and Casey Bires _ who also walked _ came home on Mumma’s two-run single past Herrlinger and Smoker concluded the carnage, smoking two-run homer to dead left field.

Lions’ coach Jeff Mummau observed, “We hit the ball well, played good defense and our pitching’s starting to come around now.”

The Lions’ successful defense of their Red Rose League Championship bears witness to that.

Given a lead, Bell, who had given up two hits and three walks in the first two innings, became untouchable. He retired 14 out of 15 batters following Sangrey’s leadoff single in the fourth, getting lifts from Bires in center in the fourth and Blaine Zern in left, who, after turning outs into errors with dropped balls, gunned out Andy Mumma and Lucas Gonzales (2-for-3) at second and third respectively in the fifth.

“He pitched well,” Mummau said of Bell. “He didn’t throw a whole lot for us this year, only about 25 innings coming into tonight.

“He threw a one-hitter down at Garden Spot the other night. Once he got the lead tonight, he really started to throw the ball hard.”

Mumma did well with 4 1/3 innings of one-hit releif for the Royals, walking three and striking out eight. He gave up a tainted run in the fifth when a two-base throwing error on a ball hit to short by Bires scored Casey Martin, who had singled and stolen a base.

Royals manager Frank Mincarelli, who just missed the New Era Tournament last year, was surprised to be here this year as he returned only three players.

Showing its youth, Lancaster Township was 5-12 at one point this season, but ripped off six straight wins to qualify for the New Era Tournament .

“We’re a year away from being a good team,” Mincarelli said. “Defense has been our Achilles heel and that’s what hurt us all year. Against a team like this you have to play perfect baseball.

“Plus we didn’t score,” he added. “I didn’t expect to be here. Obviously, this is a bonus for us.”

The Lions will square off to see who is truly King of the J-M Beasts in the first game of a semifinal doubleheader Saturday at 6:15 p.m. at Kunkle Field.

The winners of tonight’s doubleheader _ Strasburg Twins vs. Mt. Joy Blue and Willow Street Twins vs. Adamstown _ will play the 8 p.m. game.