Solanco Gray tops Man. Twp. Black; SWS Blue edges Hempfield Black

SWS Blue centerfielder Nate Shenk snares a liner.

By Dave Byrne
Sports Staff

Baseball can teach harsh lessons.

As an example, catching a infield pop fly is not automatic.

Even if it seems so.

Baseball also has its redeeming qualities.

Nick Carson knows that firsthand.

When the SWS Blue first baseman let a sure out ricochet off his glove in the top of the seventh inning, allowing Hempfield Black to tie the game at 4-4, he was sure a loss would ensue.

But, sure enough, there was Carson at the plate in the bottom of the seventh with the go-ahead run on third.

“I was looking for a fastball,” he said, minutes after delivering a game-winning single to left field. “You can’t throw anything off-speed there, so I figured it would be a fastball.”

He figured right and that decision and subsequent hit enabled SWS Blue to defeat Hempfield Black 5-4 in a New Era Tournament Midget Division quarterfinal game Monday night at Clipper Magazine Stadium.

In the first game, Solanco Gray plated five runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a 12-9 lead only to see Manheim Township Black mount a rally in the top of the seventh.

Solanco’s Bryce Keys came on in relief to record the final out, giving Solanco a 12-11 wild victory.

So, SWS Blue will meet Solanco Gray in a semifinal game tonight back at Clipper. That game will follow the semifinal pitting the Ephrata Pride against Bears Blue, which begins at 5:15 p.m.

With runners on first and third, Buchko hit a pop-up behind first base. Carson couldn’t handle the pop and his throw to the plate was late, allowing Wilt to score and tie the game at 4-4.

“I just felt horrible,” Carson said. “I kind of lost and then fumbled over my feet. I just botched it. But the team came together. We loaded the bases (before he came up), which I knew we could.”

In the first game, Solanco’s Kyle Eby came to the plate in the sixth inning and his RBI single to right tied the game at 9-9. The run marked the culmination of a comeback since Solanco at one point trailed 7-1.

Ralph Brown followed with a sharply hit ball to short which couldn’t be handled, enabling Solanco to score two runs and take a 11-9 lead.

Brown then scored on a wild pitch to push Solanco’s lead to three, 12-9.

But in a game that featured six extra-base hits, no lead was safe.

Township’s Adam Yunginger, who reached on a fielder’s choice, came in on an error to cut Solanco’s lead to two, 12-10. Two batters later, Alex Vigilante singled to right to plate another run, closing the gap to one, 12-11.

But Keys fanned the next batter, enabling Solanco coach John Girvin a chance to breathe again.

“I’ve tried to be more relaxed as a coach,” he said. “The seventh was a little frustrating … but Mark Kreider came on and pitched well in relief. He just throws strikes.”

Hempfield’s Doug Totaro beats the tag of SWS Blue first baseman Nick Carson.

Solanco’s Zac Bechtold takes a swing.

Solanco’s Mike Malloy hits against Manheim Township.

Darren Yoder of Manheim Township checks Solanco’s Mike Murray. First baseman is Adam Yunginger.