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Raider baseball wins three of four, but needs help to make postseason

By Larry Etter

Press & Journal Staff

717-944-4628
Posted 5/15/19

Entering last week’s diamond action hanging on to a glimmer of hope of qualifying for postseason play, the Middletown varsity baseball team claimed victories in three of four games.

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Raider baseball wins three of four, but needs help to make postseason

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Entering last week’s diamond action hanging on to a glimmer of hope of qualifying for postseason play, the Middletown varsity baseball team claimed victories in three of four games.

The lone loss, an 8-7 setback to West Perry, clearly cast some doubt on those hopes. Because of their place in the power rankings heading into the week, the Blue Raiders were facing an uphill battle and it appeared as if they would need to win each of their remaining six games to have a real chance.

The three wins were a big plus, but the Raiders (10-8) also needed some help from other teams ahead of them in the standings as they entered this week with two games left in the regular season — at Bishop McDevitt on Tuesday and home to CD East on Wednesday.

Monday power rankings had Middletown at No. 14 with a .541723 rating. No. 10 was Bermudian Springs with a .557871 rating. The top 10 teams in AAAA make the playoffs.

Middletown 7, Trinity 1

On May 7 at Wass Park in Camp Hill, the Raiders turned back host Trinity 7-1 for their eighth win of the season. The game was delayed a day due to a wet field.

The offense, keyed by a pair of hits each from Cam Peters and Justin Yohn, provided starting pitcher Scott Ash the run support he wanted in the victory.

Peters, a senior first baseman, slammed the team’s first home run of the season on one of his two hits.

In the top of the fifth inning Peters hit the ball over the right field fence on a line drive with teammate Garrett Miller on base.

“It was a first pitch, inside fastball, and I turned on it and it went out,” Peters said.

Ash pitched six innings for the win. The senior right hander struck out 11 batters, issued just three walks and allowed just two hits before giving way to Michael Tuffy, who pitched the seventh inning.

Also on offense, Tim Wagner scored twice and Collin Heffner had an RBI.

West Perry 8, Middletown 7

On May 8 at home, the Blue Raiders rallied from a 6-2 deficit with a 5-run fifth inning to take a 7-6 lead over West Perry. But the Mustangs went back in front 8-7 in the top of the sixth and held the Raiders scoreless in the sixth and seventh to hold on for an 8-7 win.

In the season’s first half, the Middletown nine had held off a late charge by the Mustangs in a 7-6 victory.

West Perry scored a single run in the top of the first inning, but the Raiders picked up a pair of scores in the home half to take a 2-1 lead.

With one out, Avery Williams singled and Miller was safe on an error. After advancing on a fielder’s choice by Peters, both runners ended up scoring on a pair of West Perry errors.

The Mustangs tied the score at 2-2 in the top of the second on an RBI single by Dylan Reisinger. The score remained deadlocked until the top of the fourth when the visitors plated two more runs.

Two more tallies in the top of the fifth gave West Perry a 6-2 advantage. But, rather than give in to the pressure, the Blue Raiders charged back in the bottom of the frame as the bats came alive against pitcher Kaiden Robinson.

With one out, Yohn, Brady Keyser, Ash and Williams punched out four straight hits to tie the score. With two outs, Miller scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch.

But the Mustangs scored twice in the top of the sixth via an RBI single by Robinson and a bases-loaded walk with two outs. In the bottom of the sixth, Williams was safe on an error with two outs, but was left stranded.

In the home half of the seventh, the Raiders were sat down in order as the Mustangs held on for the win.

Middletown 13, Milton Hershey 3

On Thursday at Milton Hershey, the Middletown nine slowly pulled away in a tight game with the host Spartans before erupting for 8 runs in the top of the sixth inning to put the game out of reach.

Up through the top of the fifth the Blue Raiders had just two hits, but took advantage of several walks in building a 4-1 lead.

The Raiders had six hits in the decisive sixth stanza.

Jaxson Senior’s sacrifice fly in the first inning drove in Ash for the team’s first run. Starting pitcher Brady Keyser held the Spartans to just one run through four innings before Milton Hershey scored two more in the bottom of the fifth. The Raiders scored two runs in the top of the fourth, the first coming on a passed ball and error that allowed Wagner to race home and the second coming when Yohn tagged up and scored on a lineout by Williams.

The Raiders upped their lead to 4-1 on a balk with Peters on third.

In the bottom of the fifth, a two-run double by Dominic Williams made it a 4-3 game as the Spartans rallied. But the lift the home team earned from the two scores was short-lived as the Blue Raiders’ offense really came alive in the top of the sixth.

Ash led off with a single, and Williams doubled to center to drive in Ash for the first run. With two outs, Williams stole third and then scored on a Spartan error. Three straight walks loaded the bases with Middletown runners. Another free pass, this one issued by new pitcher Michael Sheppard-Gordon, forced in Jaxson Senior for another run.

With the bases still full, pinch-hitter Tony Powell punched out a two-run single to give the Raiders a 9-3 lead. Ash followed with an RBI single, and a wild pitch with Williams in the box let in another run before Williams’ single drove in run No. 12.

Keyser sat down the Spartans in order in the bottom of the sixth, and the Raiders plated another run in the top of the seventh on another wild pitch after Tuffy’s single loaded the bases.

A.J. Stains struck out the side in the bottom of the seventh to lock up the 13-3 victory.

Middletown 11, Boiling Springs 0

In a non-divisional game that had been postponed twice the Blue Raiders’ road trip to Boiling Springs turned out to be successful as the Middletown squad shut out the host Bubblers 11-0 on Saturday.

The game started at 11 a.m., which appeared to agree with the Blue Raiders.

Ash came within two outs of pitching a no-hitter, and he and his defense held the Bubblers in check from start to finish. As it turned out a bloop single to left was all the hosts could muster against Ash, who struck out eight batters and issued just one walk in the six-inning contest.

The Raiders punched out 11 hits against three Boiling Springs pitchers. The Raiders scored one run in the first inning, one in the third, two more in the fourth, one in the fifth and six in the sixth to secure the victory.

After Ash led off the game with a triple to deep center, Williams followed with an RBI single for the first run.

In the third, Peters singled with two outs and came home on a run-scoring single by Wagner for the 2-0 lead.

In the top of the fourth, Yohn led off with a double. (His teammates said it should have been a triple but joked that he runs like a diesel instead of a race car.) No matter, Yohn scored after Keyser was hit by a pitch and Ash walked to load the bases for Williams, who picked up the RBI on a sacrifice fly.

Miller followed with a single to right to push home run No. 4.

In the fifth frame, a bases loaded walk to Ash pushed in Cole Senior, who had doubled with two outs, for Middletown’s fifth run. In the top of the sixth, a pair of walks and a single by Jaxson Senior again loaded the bases with Raiders.

With one out, Cole Senior drew a walk, forcing in one run, and Yohn’s second double of the game drove in two more. Before it was over the Raiders would score three more times on another bases-loaded walk, a fielder’s choice and a single by Miller.

Down 11-0 at that point, the Bubblers tried to rally to keep the game going. But, after getting the leadoff hitter on a strikeout and giving up the bloop single, Ash struck out Kyle Swartz for the second out. With two down, a very good defensive play by Miller at shortstop and Peters at first finished off the host team in grand style.