“We didn’t lose the game,” observed a Hempfield assistant. “We just didn’t win it.”
And while that might sound a tad strange, it surely was the best way to cope with a heartbreaking decision.
Daniel Wiederecht out-dueled Jon Peterson as Manheim VFW shaved Hempfield Black 1-0 Thursday night at Mt. Joy’s Kunkle Field in nightcap of an opening day New Era Midget-Midget tournament doubleheader.
Manheim will face Donegal, an 8-5 winner over Mountville, Monday at 6 p.m. in the first game of a semifinal doubleheader.
Weiderecht, who didn’t pitch last year, scattered three hits over five innings, striking out four and walking none.
Josh Flanagan came on to pitch a nerve-wracking final inning for Manheim (13-10) before nailing down the victory.
“The fastball and the curveball were working for me,” said Weiderecht, who was unfazed by having no margin for error. “I just stepped up and did my thing.”
“Daniel’s been pitching some really good games like this,” said VFW coach Jeff Flanagan.
“And, like any other 12-year old boy, he’s had some games where it’s been two or three innings, and we put somebody else in.”
That wasn’t happening Thursday night and Flanagan and Jarred Seigrist paired to provide Weiderecht the only run of the game in the second inning.
Flanagan worked a leadoff walk from Peterson, who allowed four hits and two walks while striking out four.
After Flanagan stole second base, Seigrist singled off second baseman Grant Conway’s glove and into right field as Flanagan crossed the plate.
Meanwhile, Weiderecht, one of three returning players from last year’s New Era M-M runnerup team, navigated the Hempfield (23-7) lineup, allowing singles to Drew Scoggin in the second inning, Will Blair in the third and Peterson in the fourth.
“It was a pitching duel the whole way,” said Hempfield coach Eric Peterson, ” and every swing, every ball meant something.”
Flanagan came on in the sixth and promptly walked Timmy Gailor leading off the inning.
Following a steal, Conway sacrificed him to third, Hempfield’s deepest incursion of the game.
Flanagan, artfully wild, struck out Grant Oberholtzer on a pitch in the dirt before Scoggin worked a walk.
Facing Peterson in a left-left matchup, Flanagan zipped a fastball down the middle for strike one, then got Peterson waving at a changeup away.
He came back to the heater, Peterson missed it and the game was over.
“I was nervous, yes” admitted his father. “I told Josh he kind of reminded me of (Brad) Lidge of the Phillies. Make it a little exciting, and then get the out.”