Prior to the start of the South Penn League championship series, Hanover manager Mark Lomenzo called Cashtown “the giant of the league.”
The Pirates proved Lomenzo correct as they swept the Raiders in the best-of-five series, winning the Game 3 clincher, 8-3, on Sunday afternoon at the Cashtown Fire Department.
The win gave the Bucs their third consecutive title and fourth in the past nine seasons.
This was Hanover’s fifth straight season losing in the league title series.
“I felt like we had a better chance against them last year and the year before,” Lomenzo said. “This year, they were just a much better team than us. We had a nice season and making the finals five years in a row is special, but they were better than us and deserved to win.”
Hanover (23-13-1) broke on top Sunday by scoring in the first inning, something the Raiders did in all three games in the series.
A two-run single by Bobby Taylor plated Austin Kibler and Pat Brady.
Cashtown (33-4) had an answer in its half of the first as Ethan Ketterman singled home Zach Ketterman, who had bunted for a single leading off the inning. Robert Rohrbaugh’s booming double chased home Ethan from first to even the game.
Zach Ketterman ended the day leading the Pirates’ 15-hit attack with three knocks.
“We talked about bunting to take advantage of our speed before the game,” Zach Ketterman said. “I saw where the fielders were and went for it. We needed to get something going and score some runs after they had scored that inning.”
Hanover grabbed the lead back when Beau Deatrick, who walked leading off the inning, came home on a wild pitch. Deatrick had made it around to third when Brady doubled with two outs.
Again, the lead didn’t last long as Zach Ketterman’s high hopper reached the outfield for a run-scoring single to plate Cooper Ayres, who had doubled with one out.
Things stayed at 3-3 until the bottom of the fourth when J.C. Collins singled down the right field line to score Chris Schachle and Chase King to give the Pirates the lead for good.
“I’ve been hitting the ball hard to the right side of the infield recently,” Collins said. “I was fortunate to do it again to score a couple runs for us.”
After a rocky first two innings, Cashtown hurler Josh Topper settled down and had a stretch where he retired 10 of 11 hitters that came to the plate in the middle of the game.
For the game, Topper went the distance to earn the victory. He allowed one earned run and five hits with three strikeouts and four walks.
“Josh struggled a little bit today,” Cashtown manager Eric Ketterman said. “Hanover’s hitters made him work and they made him pay when he made mistakes. He did a good job of settling in during the middle innings and getting outs.”
Cashtown put the game out of reach in the bottom of the sixth when Ayres singled home Schachle and Collins then followed with a two-run homer to score Ayres and himself to make it 8-3.
“It felt really good to hit that home run,” Collins said. “That gave us some breathing room and against these guys, that’s big.”
Down to its final licks, the Raiders tried to keep the game alive in the top of the seventh.
Jon Karlheim worked a one-out walk and Brady singled with two down before Topper retired Roche on a fielder’s choice to end it.
“J.C.’s home run really allowed me to relax in the dugout,” Eric Ketterman said. “Hanover is a very dangerous team. They can easily get a guy or two on and pop one of here to change the score in a hurry.”
Cashtown completed its run to a 3-peat with an 8-1 record in the postseason, the only loss a 1-0 defeat in eight innings in Game 2 of the semifinals against Biglerville.
The four combined losses on the year is the least since Brushtown captured the league crown in 2006 with a 35-4 combined record.
“We don’t feel that we’re the favorites, but everyone else says it, so the pressure does build. Especially on me, as the manager,” Eric Ketterman said. “Our guys just show up and play. Our team chemistry is great. We all get along and we play for each other.
“It really is a grind to get through the year. We’ve got great depth and that really helped us to get through the season.”
Zach Ketterman was joined by Collins, Ayres and Schachle as multiple-hit players for the winners. The latter three each had two knocks.
Brady had three of Hanover’s five hits.
Cashtown pushed the series to the brink with an 18-5 victory in Game 2 on Saturday at Hanover. The Raiders grabbed a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first on Mark Phillips’ three-run dinger, but Cashtown answered right back with a three-spot in the top of the second.
Cashtown’s lead stood at 8-3 when the Buccos erupted for six runs in the fifth and then added four more in the sixth.
Rohrbaugh and Michael Tempel each homered for Cashtown, who received two hits each from Zach Ketterman, Ethan Ketterman and Tempel.
Roche hit a two-run homer for the Raiders.
Appearing in the first championship series of his career, Cashtown’s Cody Smith struggled a bit on the mound but worked all six innings to earn the win.
Follow Tom Sixeas on Twitter at @TomSixeas
Hanover 210 000 0 — 3 5 1
Cashtown 210 203 x — 8 13 2
Tyler Null, Pat Brady (6) and Beau Deatrick; Josh Topper and J.C. Collins. WP: Topper. LP: Null. SO-BB: Null 1-1, Brady 0-0; Topper 3-4. 2B: H-Brady; C-Zach Ketterman, Robert Rohrbaugh, Cooper Ayres. HR: C-Collins.