Safe Harbor, Manheim VFW storm into LNP Midget-Midget finals

Mike Leitzel beats Austin Gallagher’s tag.

By Dave Byrne
LNP Correspondent

Some days it just doesn’t pay to get out of bed.

It was one of those days Friday for the Reamstown and Manheim Township Red baseball teams in the LNP Tournament ‘s Midget-Midget semifinals.

Each team was on the receiving end of a flogging so complete, even the 10-run rule could provide no mercy.

  •     Manheim VFW 15, Township Red 0.
  •     Safe Harbor Cubs 29, Reamstown 3.

The Cubs and VFW will return to Kunkle Field on Wednesday to contest the NET midget-midget championship. Game time will be 6:15 p.m.

It wasn’t Tom Kenneff against the world in the opener Friday night, it just seemed that way. The 12-year-old righthander did it all for VFW (37-4), dominating the game both on the mound and at the plate.

Kenneff held a decent-hitting Township lineup to one hit, Austin Gallagher’s two-out double in the first inning, and walked four while striking out 12.

At the plate he was even bigger, if that is possible, reaching base all four times on a walk and three two-run homers. In one special evening he doubled his season-output for home runs.

Kenneff homered to left and left center — clearing the scoreboard — and pulled his last dinger just inside the left field foul pole. He scored his fourth run of the night on a walk, a balk and two wild pitches.

“I don’t know,” he said afterward. “I never had that many home runs in one game, but I was just feeling good at the plate. After my first one I was confident. That kind of helped out my pitching too.”

“He’s been hitting in practice like that for like two weeks,” his coach, Bill Karns, said. “I’ve been ribbing him the last couple of batting practices, “When am I going to see these in a game?’ Well, it showed up tonight.”

Kenneff’s battery mate, Nate Mast, walked three times and tri pled, scoring in front of Kenneff on all three homers and once on an error. Shortstop Donaven Rodriguez joined the fun as he doubled, tripled, scored two runs and knocked in one.

But the story was Kenneff. He allowed just two runners to reach third — Gallagher on an error after his double and Chris Hartl, who walked in the second.

Hartl, who also walked in the fourth, landed at third when Kenneff proved human, walking the bases loaded with two outs before getting a strikeout to end the threat.

Besides Gallagher, only two batters for Township (19-12) put the ball in play. Designated hitter Matt Wood stung the ball twice, hitting a fly to center and a liner to third, and Derek Donmoyer flew out to second.

In the nightcap, Safe Harbor (18-11) scored 12 runs in the first and 10 in the third, leaving no question as to the game’s ultimate outcome.

In all, the Cubs rapped 26 hits to go with 10 walks and a couple of hit batters.

Leading the Harbor hit parade was catcher Dan Reist (5-for-5, five RBI, four runs), centerfielder Keith Rutt (4-for-6, three RBIs, four runs), shortstop Michael Thomas (3-for-5, three RBI, four runs), first baseman Curran Blevins (3-for-5, three RBI, three runs) and winning pitcher Ben Rowe (2-for-5, two RBIs, four runs).

Reamstown (16-5) did show a little spunk, scoring three runs on five hits and six walks issued by Rowe. But Rowe always got the key strikeout when he needed it, fanning the side in the third, fourth and fifth innings to finish with 12 punchouts.

Manheim’s Jarod Karns heads for home and Township catcher Austin Gallagher.

Reamstown catcher Scott Carvell shows the umpire the ball as Curran Blevins is out at home.

Tyler Charles slides under the tag of pitcher Kyle Dundore.

Pitching and hitting star Tom Kenneff delivers a pitch.