New Era Correspondent
To mix a sports metaphor, watching Manheim Township Black subdue Mount Joy Blue Tuesday night was a lot like watching Mike Tyson box Sugar Ray Leonard.
If indeed the disparately-sized pugilists had ever met.
Yes, Sugar Ray could, and would, land a punch or two.
But, in the long run, there was no way he could avoid getting his head beaten in.
Midget championship belt that eluded it last year.
Black, the 2006 NET J-M runnerup, 10-runned Blue 12-2 in five innings Tuesday night at Mount Joy’s Kunkle Field.
The knockout left Mount Joy manager Buzz Albert nodding his head in admiration.
“We thought, coming in, we’re here, it’s baseball, we’ve got a chance,” Albert said.
“We told our kids the better team won tonight. They (Township) came as advertised.”
Black’s 12-hit attack supported the lights out pitching of Adam Yuninger.
Mount Joy was no pushover at the plate, hitting .423 in their two NET victories.
But Yuninger, after getting touched for two runs in the bottom of the first inning, slammed the door the rest of the way, allowing four hits, two after the first inning, walking two and striking out 10.
Township (27-2-1) came into the tournament with a team batting average of .414 and did little to hurt that, hitting .436 in its first two tournament games.
Black landed the first blows Tuesday. Catcher Ben Woratyla was safe on a one-out error by shortstop Kyle Kreider on a ball up the middle.
Then Cameron Gallagher (3-for-4, 3 runs, 2 RBIs) singled into right field and both runners moved up as Peter Sheetz overran the play.
Yuninger plated Woratyla with a groundout to short, and Gallagher did a head-first belly-flopper into home on an 0-2 wild pitch to Jon Rieker for the second run.
Blue (23-8) got that right back on a leadoff walk by losing pitcher Jason Sauder and, with two out, Taylor Nauman’s two-run homer to right-center field.
Sauder got the first two outs of the second inning, but with a 1-0 count to Robert Lehman, the eighth hitter in the Township lineup, Sauder grooved a fastball.
Lehman isn’t your ordinary 8-hole hitter: he finished the tournament 7-for-10 with six runs scored, seven RBIs and two home runs.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better tournament,” he said. “I got hot in the first game and it just kept going.”
Just a continuation of what he’d been doing all season, according to his coach Lew Chillot.
“He’s hitting between .400 and .450,” Chillot said. “He struck out one time all year, and he’s walked two times all year. He gets pitches and he just crushes them.”
He got all of Sauder’s offering, sending it high and well over the right-center field fence.
When Adam Kambic, the No. 9 hitter, jacked Sauder’s next pitch out to dead center, it was obvious this would turn out to be Albert’s worst nightmare.
“When the eight and nine hitters hit the ball out of the park, you’re in a slugfest,” he said, “and we were on the short end of that stick.”
Black greeted reliever Kyle Maurer in the third with Gallagher’s double off the fence in left-center and, after a passed ball, Yuninger’s RBI single past first. Township loaded the bases on a walk to Rieker and an error on Alex Manacher’s grounder to third.
With the infield up, Lehman unloaded, grounding a two-run single up the middle.
Township posted four more runs in the fourth on Gallagher’s towering two-run homer down the left-field line and Manacher’s two-run single up the middle.
“It’s like Robert (Lehman) said, there’s no holes in our lineup,” Gallagher offered. “We’re solid, one through nine.”
Black then triggered the 10-run rule in the fifth on Yuninger’s RBI fielder’s choice in the middle of the infield.
Yuninger got the final three outs, the last on third baseman Darren Chillot’s dive-in-the-dirt catch of Travis Hess’ popup, and the celebration began.
“I think it helped being here before,” Chillot said. “We’ve been here three years in a row now.
“We won it in ’03 with coach (Glenn) Gallagher’s oldest son Austin. We won it again (in) ’05 and here we go in ’07.”
The ’03 team set the stage for Township’s 2006 PIAA runner-up squad.
How does this group match up?
“That’s a great question,” Chillot said, “because I coached all of those kids as a volunteer high school coach.
“I think, power-hitting wise, they were better. As an overall, top-to-bottom hitting team, I’ll put our squad up against theirs.”
Pitcher Yuninger as good as the bats
By Harold Ziegler
New Era Sports Writer
Buzz Albert made a surprising statement Tuesday night.
In sifting through the ashes of his team’s 12-2 loss to Manheim Township Black in the New Era Tournament’s junior-midget championship game, Mount Joy Blue’s coach looked right past the obvious when he came up with a reason for the debacle.
“Yuninger,” Albert said. “He beat us tonight.”
It was a rather odd answer.
How could anybody look past Township’s bats, which delivered three home runs, six extra-base hits, 12 hits total and 12 runs?
This was a team that entered the New Era Tournament hitting .414, and left it with an even higher batting average. Township hit .439 in three NET games, going 36-for-82.
Adam Yuninger was just the beneficiary, a 5-11, 165-pound righthanded pitcher who took advantage of a big early lead to coast to the win.
“To Yuninger’s credit, he pitched a great game,” Albert insisted.
“He was incredible.”
“I agree with that,” said Township coach Lew Chillot.
“Adam pitched great. After the first inning, he settled down and was throwing hard. We played at 55 feet (pitcher’s mound to plate) all year, and at 52 feet, we knew he’d be tough.
“And with playing the quarterfinal game Thursday (Mount Joy played Friday), we were able to save him with full rest. They had a heckuva pitcher too, but they were not able to use him as effectively as we could use Adam.
“That could’ve been a real key to the game.”
Here’s why Yuninger might’ve been better than Township’s hitters.
The 14-year-old, who will be a freshman at Manheim Township in the fall, allowed only four hits in five innings. He struck out 11, walked just two and allowed only a two-run, first-inning home run to Mount Joy’s Taylor Nauman.
From the final out of the first inning to the first out of the fourth inning, he struck out eight straight batters, fanning the side in the second and third innings.
If that wasn’t enough, he contributed offensively too, going 1-for-3 with three RBIs and two runs scored. Yuninger, who hit a grand slam homer against Hempfield in the semifinals, went 4-for-8 with eight RBIs and five runs scored in the three tournament games.
On the mound, in two games, he pitched nine innings, allowed five hits, three runs (two earned), walked four and struck out 20. His tournament ERA was 1.55, and opposing batters hit just .151 against him.
He threw 171 pitches in those two games, 107 for strikes (98-57 Tuesday night).
He did not lose a game all season, although he couldn’t tell you how many he won.
“I’d say 9 or 10 and 0, I guess,” Yuninger said.
He also couldn’t have told you that eight straight Mount Joy outs came on strikeouts.
“Too caught up in the moment,” he said. “Could’ve told you how many walks I had though.”
Yuninger did not pitch at all last year, when Township reached the NET junior-midget title game only to lose to Mountville.
He was a reclamation project this season, and under the tutelage of Chillot and his pitching coach, former minor-leaguer Glenn Gallagher, they turned Yuninger into a powerful pitcher.
“Adam wasn’t always a pitcher, but he turned himself into (one),” Chillot says.
“And he was a very good big-game pitcher for us this year. I tried to match him up against the better teams. He seems to thrive in big games.”
Of course, he’s the first to admit it’s certainly advantageous to pitch behind an offense that’s hitting over .400 as a team.
“It gives you a lot of confidence going out there,” he said.
So who was better?
The offense or Yuninger?
“It was a combination tonight,” Chillot said. “I think we played almost our perfect game.”
“The better team certainly won tonight,” said Albert. “They came as advertised.”