SPRING GROVE – There was a lot of anticipation as the York-Adams League finally held the finals of the league’s baseball playoff tournament Thursday at Spring Grove High School.
After games for Monday and Tuesday were postponed due to inclement weather, the finals pitted the two hottest teams in the circuit against one another.
Division I champ Dallastown entered the evening on a nine-game winning-streak while Division II champion Gettysburg nearly doubled that, entering with an incredible 17 wins in a row.
So which team would extend their lengthy streak when they squared off for the second time this season?
It didn’t take long to find out.
The Wildcats sent 10 batters to the plate in the top of the first against Gettysburg starter Marshall Mott, putting up six runs in the process to take control. Dallastown starter Carson Wolf did the rest as he scattered eight hits over seven frames to help the Wildcats to an impressive 8-0 victory.
“They’re a really good team,” Gettysburg coach Ryan Brady said of the Wildcats, who owned a 15-3 victory over the Warriors earlier this season. “Obviously we wanted to win this game, but they have the record that they have for a reason. They are going to compete for districts and probably a state title. And when you play Dallastown, your margin of error is very small.”
The first inning was vintage Dallastown baseball. A hit batsman, a walk and a single quickly make it 1-0. That brought up No. 4 hitter Julian Bailey. Bailey did what a lot of cleanup hitters are supposed to with an RBI single, but it wasn’t in the manner most would expect.
Bailey drove in the second run by deftly dropping a bunt toward third. The ball died in the grass between the mound and third base, allowing the Wildcats to extend the lead and their rally.
“We knew that bunting was coming,” Brady said. “But when you lay it just here or just there, sometimes it’s just indefensible. And that’s their cleanup hitter. You see these big, burly guys walk up and the last thing you think is that they’re going to lay down a bunt.”
A couple of singles and a sac fly set the stage for Dallastown leadoff man Trent Rowland, who was hit by the game’s first pitch. This time Rowland lined a pitch from Mott to left for a two-run, two-out single.
That was more than enough for Wolf, who entered the night with an ERA below 1.00. That minuscule number got even smaller as the junior right-hander kept the Warriors off-balance throughout the night without walking a single batter.
And when the Gettysburg hitters were able to barrel up against Wolf, the Dallastown defense was there to take away what would have been hits on most other days.
“You know that they’re going to be play excellent defense,” Brady said. “The spots where a baseball can fall against them is not a big area. They seem to track everything down.”
The final out of the night was a perfect example. Zach Ketterman, one of Gettsyburg’s top hitters, ripped a line drive toward the wall in left-center. What appeared like a sure extra-base hit that would have broken up the shutout instead turned into the final out as Hoecke tracked it down.
“I couldn’t believe he caught it,” Brady said. “I turned and I saw all of their guys start to throw their gloves in the air and I just wondered ‘how did he catch that?’ I thought it was a triple and we finally scored a run.”
While the Gettysburg boys were clearly disappointed, Brady refused to allow them to hang their heads. With the District 3 playoffs coming up, Brady and his crew will look to start a new streak.
“I think (playing Dallastown) was good for our team,” Brady said. “I think we can learn from it. This is a similar type of team that we can see in districts. I think we’re going to take some good things away from this game and it will prepare us for districts.”
The Warriors will begin their quest for a District 3 Class 5A title Monday at home. The Gettysburg boys, who enter as the No. 3 seed in the 14-team draw, host fellow Y-A foe Dover, the 14th-seed at 4:30 p.m.
Brady’s squad already owns a pair of victories – 4-0 and 6-3 – against fellow the Eagles — who are in Division II with the Warriors — this season.