Township reaches final: Reserves play key roles as Black defeats Penn Manor and sets up showdown with Donegal in Midget title game tonight

Manheim Township’s Paul Hester congratulates a scoring Carlos Medina.

By Dave Bryne
New Era Correspondent

A key ingredient to a successful baseball team is having depth on the bench.

Even more important, however, is knowing how and when to use that depth.

That’s something Manheim Township Black’s Lyle Hosler is learning in his first head-coaching endeavor.

For Township’s New Era Tournament semifinal against Penn Manor Comets Blue, Hosler tapped reserve Scott Coleman to be his designated hitter and lead off.

Coleman responded by walking twice, scoring three times and driving in two runs with a key double in the fourth inning.

In that same inning, Hosler called upon Derek Donmoyer to pinch hit for extra hitter Grant Wiest. All Donmoyer did was smoke a 3-run homer into the bleachers in left field at Ephrata’s War Memorial Field.

The blast gave Township a 9-0 lead, and it finished off Comets Blue (16-6-1) two innings later to claim a 10-0, mercy-rule victory in the completion of a game suspended Monday by unstable weather.

Township (15-6) will play Donegal tonight at the War at 7:30 for the NET Midget Division championship.

Donegal punched its title ticket with a 12-0 win over Lititz Oddfellows on Monday night.

“I’m learning as a coach, you have thoughts that just pop into your head, and sometimes you have to just go with them,” Hosler said.

“If it works, you look awesome. And if not, you’re the goat,” he said. ” Right now it looks real good.”

Monday night Coleman had walked and scored as Township reached Comet Blue starter Bobby Adams for a 3-run third inning.

According to the tournament’s PIAA-regulation pitching rules, Adams could not return to the mound Tuesday night.

Josh Rineer took over in his place when action resumed Tuesday. Carlos Medina greeted Rineer with a double to right, and Chris Hartl followed with a single up the middle.

Bernie Zaritzky knocked in Medina with an infield out – the second out of the inning – and, following a walk to Robert Schimaneck, Coleman ripped a double to center field.

“Since I don’t lead off a whole lot, coach said if you strike out, I don’t care. just give me good at-bats,” Coleman said. “I got down in an 0-2 hole and I just tried to fight ’em off and get a pitch to hit.”

“We’ve tried some different guys, (but) we don’t have a guy who’s a real, true leadoff hitter,” said Hosler.

“Scott has a great eye at the plate … he got on twice via walks and then came up with the big hit. What more can you ask out of that?”

Coleman’s hit was just the beginning.

Pete Fisher reached base when Tom Greene could not pick up his grounder to second, and Hosler sent Donmoyer to the bat rack.

Rineer got Donmoyer in an 0-2 hole – firstbaseman Curran Blevins nearly retired Donmoyer on a foul pop at the out-of-play fence – then threw three straight pitches out of the strike zone.

The next pitch was in the zone. Donmoyer’s zone.

“His curveball wasn’t working, so I knew he was going to throw a 3-2 fastball,” said Donmoyer. “It hit my perfect spot and I just swung, looked and saw it was going.”

Armed with a 9-run lead and a breaking pitch he didn’t have the night before, Township’s Kyle Hershey mowed Manor down.

Hershey nearly threw a complete game in the bullpen warming up Monday night, tying to find his curve.

He struggled in his two innings, walking three as Comet Blue stranded four baserunners, including three in the first inning.

Twenty-four hours later his curve was lively and he hit spots, picking up three of his five strikeouts.

He allowed Blevins’ two-out triple in the third and retired nine in a row before Andy Drexel’s single in the sixth, after a two-out walk to Blevins.

“Hitting-wise, it seemed our well ran dry today,” offered Comets’ coach Scott Keddie. “He (Hershey) was throwing strikes. Compared to when we faced him in the semifinals for the league (a 20-to-8, Manor win), he was a little off then.”

“Kyle’s biggest asset is changing arm angles and mixing the ball,” Hosler said. “When he’s had a lot of rest he tends to throw harder, and he might not have his curveball.

“When he threw last night it got his arm a little bit tired, and he relied tonight on his bread and butter.”

Setting Township’s title table.

For many of Township’s players, veterans of NET title teams at the Midget-Midget and Junior-Midget level, it is an expected invitation.

Still, based on the summer’s results, and Township’s tournament slot – bracketed with Hempfield Back and Penn Manor – Township is a surprise finalist, right coach?

“I think people would be a little surprised, ” he admitted, “but, personally, I’m not.

“As long as these guys in here are confident in themselves, that’s all that matters.”

Kyle Hershey delivers for Manheim Township.

Fate smiles on Hershey and Township

By Jason Guarente
New Era Sports Writer

Fate seems to be smiling on Manheim Township Black these days.

Coach Lyle Hosler doesn’t mind admitting it.

“Sometimes luck just falls into your lap,” he said.

It definitely has for Township. Consider all of the things that went right during its 10-0 win over Penn Manor in the New Era Tournament Midget semifinals at Ephrata’s War Memorial Field Tuesday night.

Actually, to be accurate, the good fortune began Monday.

That’s when pitcher Kyle Hershey walked to the mound for the start of the third inning with Township gripping a 3-0 lead. Before Hershey could throw his first pitch of that frame, the game was suspended because of lightning.

The timing couldn’t have worked out better for Township. Had Hershey started to pitch in the third, he would have been ineligible to return when the game resumed Tuesday. That’s what happened to Penn Manor righty Bobby Adams, who had to be replaced.

Instead of turning the game over to his bullpen, Hosler was able to stick with his No. 2 starter.

“If he throws one pitch in the third inning, we don’t have that luxury,” Hosler said.

How did it turn out?

Hershey, pitching on fumes because he was facing a rare back-to-back outing, tossed a six-inning, two-hit gem.

The righthander made the luck pay off.

“I go home, rest and then come back the next day to throw,” said Hershey. “That was just weird.”

Township did its best to make sure Hershey didn’t toss many high-stress pitches. Facing reliever Josh Rineer, who took Adams’ place in the fourth, Township struck for six quick runs to blow the game open.

In the middle of the huge rally was another slice of good fortune. With runners on first and third with two outs, it was Grant Wiest’s turn to bat. One problem: Wiest wasn’t able to attend the game.

Since Wiest is Township’s No. 3 hitter, that’s bad luck. Right? Well, it didn’t turn out that way.

Hosler asked Derek Donmoyer to pinch hit and he delivered a three-run homer.

“I had three guys to choose from and I would’ve been happy with any of them,” Hosler said. “I chose Derek Donmoyer and he came through in a big way. That was his first home run and it couldn’t have come at a better time.”

Here’s the final twist for Township: The Monday night suspension pushed the championship game from Tuesday to today. That means Hosler can give the ball back to his ace, Wiest, who twirled an eight-inning shutout in the quarterfinal win over Hempfield Black on Friday.

If the title game was Tuesday night, Wiest would have been unavailable because he needed four days rest.

“We’ve got our No. 1 starter back,” Hosler said.

Township has yet to allow a run in 14 innings during this tournament even though it has faced two of the most talented teams in the field. Township is playing its best ball of the summer at the right time.

“If you would have told me that we would play Hempfield and Township and had two shutouts, I never would have thought that would happen,” Hosler said.

It’s one thing to get the breaks. It’s another to capitalize on them.

Township has made its luck count. That’s why it’s playing for the championship.

Manheim Township’s Paul Hester beats the throw to Comet’s Curran Blevins.

Manheim Township’s Nick Downey slides safely into third with a triple ahead of the throw to Comet’s Andy Drexel.