New Era Correspondent
Skip Walters had seen nothing like it in his long coaching career.
Bob Sauders had, but never in a championship game.
Sauders’ Mountville Indians scored 12 runs in their last at-bat – the top of the sixth – to snatch an 18-8 victory over Walters’ East Petersburg Reds Tuesday night in the New Era Midget-Midget Championship baseball game played at Mount Joy’s Kunkle Field.
It was the Indians’ second M-M title in six years and third overall. It also gave them the rubber match with the Reds after splitting two earlier meetings.
“That was a tough one,” Walters said. “There’s no excuses. They hit the ball. It’s their day.”
The Indians (29-9) banged out 10 hits in the decisive inning, batting around plus-six.
The Indian rampage came just after the Reds (21-8) had claimed an 8-6 lead with three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning.
A single and hit batsman set the table for Matt Baker, who was hitting .625 in the tournament , but was 0-for-3 Tuesday.
He fouled off a 3-2 offering against reliever Dan Walters, then singled to right scoring Tim Mays – running for Mike Slaugh – and Eric Sload.
“I was shaking so much, I was afraid I was going to pop it up,” Baker said. “I just wanted to get a hit and drive in some runs.”
“Matt’s a good ballplayer,” Sauders said, “You knew he was going to snap out of it.”
That brought to the plate Ryan Wile, who had singled in two runs against Walters in the second. Wile ripped Walters’ first pitch to right for a triple, scoring Baker with the go-ahead run.
Skip Walters brought starter Sam Minder back into the game and Vince Doyle greeted him with an RBI double followed by Jake Shellenberger’s RBI single.
Nate Poulos’ foul sacrifice fly scored Shellenberger, and Walters hit Mays after singles by Mike Haubert and Brian Miller to load the bases.
Adam Silliman, running for Haubert, scored on a passed ball, but after a strikeout, Minder could see his way out with Baker at the plate.
Back up, Baker banged an RBI single through the hole. Another run scored as Chad Baker bobbled in left, allowing Matt Baker to take third. Wile doubled Baker home to complete a 3-for-5, 5 RBI day.
“I guess I just got up at the right time,” said Wile, a little overwhelmed by his success. “I’m just all crazy,” he admitted, “I can’t think straight.”
Walters lifted Minder in favor of Dan Walters once again. Doyle (3-for-4) singled in Wile, stole second and third and came home with the final run on a wild pitch.
“I’ve been through some exciting innings, yes,” Sauders said. “The ’90 team had quite a few of those kind of innings. We just hit and the ball found some holes.”
Mountville broke on top on Haubert’s two-run single in the first. East Pete got a run back in the bottom of the inning, but two walks and a hit batter loaded the bases against Minder in the second.
That brought the first Walters-for-Minder switch and Walters induced Baker into an RBI ground out. Wile pounced on the first pitch, drilling it into right for two RBIs.
Wile’s RBI ground out in the fourth was sandwiched by RBI singles by Minder and Brett Nelson in the third and an RBI fielder’s choice off the bat of Shawn Robinson, who then scored on a wild pitch leaving the Reds down 6-5 with two innings to go.
An innocent trip over the bag at first by catcher Bryan Grier in the top of the fifth came back to haunt Mountville.
Grier landed hard, knocking out his wind and, four batters into the bottom of the inning, he took himself out of the game.
That forced Sauders to make a decision. Shellenberger, who was not as powerful as he was in his two previous New Era starts, had only given up four earned runs on four hits, but he was the backup catcher and with Grier down, Shellenberger was the man.
Sauders brought in Vince Doyle from center to pitch and Justin Tearney tied the game with an RBI single to left.
A passed ball brought in the seventh run and moved Tearney to third. Tearney broke for home on the first pitch to Chad Baker who, protecting the runner, bunted into an RBI sacrifice.
“Boy, I thought we had it there,” Walters said.
Doyle, who said he wasn’t ready to come in, got credit for the win in the wake of the Indians’ big inning.
“I was surprised, I had no idea he was coming to me,” Doyle said. But he was glad to see Grier answer the bell for the bottom of the sixth, meaning Shellenberger would return to the mound.
“I wouldn’t mind pitching but Jake deserves to pitch. It wouldn’t be right for me to come in at the very end and pitch.”
The title is Sauders’ second at the helm of the Indians after winning in ’90.
“I wasn’t sure it was going to come either,” he said. “It’s a different kind of sweet.
“The ’90 team, Mountville hadn’t won it in so long (28 years) and we kept hearing that. That was really nice to be able to win for the community.
“This team was different. They had their own personality. I enjoyed it. I will miss them next year.”
Son follows father’s footsteps to crown
By Keith Schweigert
Special to the New Era
When Mountville’s Ryan Wile smoked a two-run triple in the top of the sixth to give the Indians a 9-8 lead over East Petersburg in Tuesday’s New Era Tournament Midget-Midget championship at Mount Joy’s Kunkle Field, he did more than drive in the game-winning run.
He helped preserve a Wile family tradition.
Wile’s clutch hit was part of an emotional 12-run rally by Mountville in their last at-bat that turned a two-run deficit into an 18-8 edge as Mountville roared to just its third Midget-Midget title since 1962.
Wile’s father Dale was a member of that 1962 championship squad, and Tuesday night he was standing tall on the sidelines when Ryan smacked his game-winning hit.
“Seeing him come through with that hit made me feel really great,” said Dale Wile. “Especially with the fact that I played on the 1962 team. We talked about this last year when they made the semifinals, but they got beat by Strasburg. This is really great for them to win it.”
Mountville’s other Midget-Midget title came in 1991.
According to Ryan Wile, the fact that his father helped win the same championship 34 years ago made winning this year’s crown more special.
“I just wanted us to win the championship for the sake of winning it,” said Ryan, who went 3-for-5 on the night with a single, a double, a triple, and five RBIs. “But feels good to know that my dad won it, too.
“We talked about it a little bit,” Ryan continued. “He has a scrap book from when his team won it, so he got that down and we looked at that for a while and he told me about winning it when he was a kid.”
Dale Wile said he tried to give his son some advice on the way to Tuesday’s game, but Ryan wasn’t feeling nervous.
“He wasn’t nervous at all,” said Dale. “On the way up to the game, I told him “hey bud, this is just another game,’ and he said he wasn’t nervous. Obviously he wasn’t, the way he hit the ball.”
Ryan agreed with his father.
“I wasn’t nervous,” said Ryan. “I felt O.K. And when I got the hit I felt really great.”
Ryan Wile’s clutch hit came on the second pitch, which shows that he listened to the advice his father has given him all season long.
“The main thing I’ve always told him is if a pitch is in there, hit it,” said Dale. “I told him not to wait and let the pitcher get him in a hole. I kept telling him to get in there and be ready.”
Wile said he hopes that the members of this year’s championship team take the time to savor what they’ve done.
“Sometimes these kids don’t realize it’s been 50 years and Mountville’s only won three times,” said Dale. “I don’t know if they really realize what a great achievement this is, winning the New Era Tournament .”
Who knows? Perhaps someday Wile will have to try and explain what an honor winning the tournament is to his grandson.