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Falcons + rain = 4-2 win over Warwick, trip to District 3 semifinals

Posted 5/28/13

Through five innings, Lower Dauphin’s nine were better than Warwick’s nine in a District 3 Class AAAA quarterfinal baseball playoff game in Fredericksburg on Thursday, May 23. Then the Falcons obtained the aid of a 10th player – the weather …

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Falcons + rain = 4-2 win over Warwick, trip to District 3 semifinals


LDONEPress And Journal Photo by Daniel Walmer Lower Dauphin catcher Deon Stafford prepares to hit during Lower Dauphin’s 4-2 victory over Warwick in a District 3 Class AAAA playoff game at Fredericksburg.The 4-2 rain-shorted win, aided by a gem of a pitching performance by Marshal Kiessling and a patient offense, lifted the Falcons into the District 3 semifinals on Tuesday, May 28.

Lower Dauphin (17-5-1), the highest remaining seed (No. 5) in the wild Class AAAA playoffs, was scheduled to face the winner of 16th-seeded McCaskey and ninth-seeded Spring Grove at a site that was undetermined by press time.

Lower Dauphin escaped an upset itself in the first round, scoring three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to eliminate Cumberland Valley, 3-2, on Monday, May 20 in Hummelstown.

Warwick started out strong in the bottom of the first inning, as shortstop Ben Keyser and pitcher Tyler Morris belted back-to-back one-out doubles to give the Warriors a 1-0 lead.  But LD’s Kiessling was able to retire the next two batters to escape any further damage.

Morris was initially brilliant on the mound for Warwick, dazzling Lower Dauphin hitters to the tune of four consecutive strikeouts in the top of the second and third innings. But control issues soon began to trouble the Warriors southpaw.

After a single by Falcon shortstop Kaylor Kulina and a double by catcher Deon Stafford put runners on second and third with two outs in the top of the third, a Morris wild pitch scored Kulina, tying the game at 1-1.
Meanwhile, Kiessling had settled down on the mound – and in the bottom of the third, luck and good defense came to his aid.

Warrior third baseman Braidy Weiler led off the inning with a sharp ground ball off of Kiessling, but the ball deflected perfectly to Lower Dauphin third baseman Blair Lewis, who threw out Weiler.

It still appeared that Warwick would take the lead in the inning when a line drive found its way into the gap with a runner at first and two outs. However, a perfect relay by the Falcon defense nailed Warwick’s Seth Earle at the plate, preserving the 1-1 tie.

In the top of the fourth, Morris’s control issues continued to surface, as he walked Falcon designated hitter Corey Atkins and left fielder Kyle Fails to begin the inning. After an infield single on a bunt by center fielder Jeff Light, Lower Dauphin had the bases loaded with nobody out.

Morris would wriggle out of the jam, allowing just one run – but the sacrifice fly by right fielder Jake Shellenberger gave the Falcons a 2-1 lead they would not relinquish.

LDtwoPhotos by Daniel Walmer Lower Dauphin designated hitter Corey Atkins, left, prepares to bat as the Warwick bench looks on during Lower Dauphin’s 4-2 playoff victory in Fredericksburg on Thursday, May 23.After Kiessling retired the Warriors in order in the bottom of the fourth, the Falcon bats caused more problems for Morris in the top of the fifth.

Kiessling led off the inning by lining a double to the left-center field gap, and Stafford reached base to give the Falcons two runners on with no outs.  

Lewis bunted to move the runners, but Morris was able to field the bunt – and his ill-fated decision to try to throw out Kiessling at third opened the floodgates for Lower Dauphin.  Morris’ throw to third sailed into the outfield, allowing Kiessling and Stafford to score, giving the Falcons a 4-1 lead.

By the bottom of the fifth, it was clear from the threatening clouds over Fredericksburg that Lower Dauphin faced a race against time to complete five innings and make the game official.

Kiessling worked quickly in the inning, allowing a run on a double and a sacrifice fly but getting the Falcons through the critical fifth stanza with a 4-2 lead.

The sixth inning had barely begun when umpires spotted lightning and suspended play.

Thunderstorms kept play from resuming, and the Falcons found themselves with a hard-earned victory over a tough Warwick team.

Daniel Walmer: 717-944-4628, or danielwalmer@pressandjournal.com


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