Josh Topper hadn’t pitched since Gettysburg High School’s season-ending loss in the PIAA playoffs on June 3. The young righty didn’t have his usual pinpoint control on Wednesday, but he shut out New Oxford for six innings in helping Cashtown to a 2-0 victory over the homestanding Twins in South Penn League action at New Oxford.
Topper, who threw 60-plus innings during the Warriors’ season, allowed one hit with three strikeouts and five walks. He threw 85 pitches, 51 for strikes.
“Since the last game I pitched in, I’d only thrown one bullpen and that was three weeks ago,” Topper said. “My stamina wasn’t there like it usually is and I was just trying to throw strikes. I was fresh early in the game, but not pitching for a month definitely wore me down as the game went on.”
Cashtown (17-2) plated the game’s only runs in the top of the fifth with a rally that began when Michael Tempel notched a leadoff single. He stole second and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Chase King.
Ethan Ketterman followed with a squeeze bunt that scored Tempel, and Ketterman reached base on a fielding error. Robert Rohrbaugh’s singled moved Ketterman into scoring position and Chris Schachle plated him with another single.
“I expected a low-scoring game tonight,” Cashtown assistant manager Matt Rebert said. “It felt like a run or two either way would be enough to win this game.”
New Oxford (16-4-2) threatened a few times but only got one runner past second — Davey Zaminski in the fifth. Zaminski walked to start the inning, took second on a throwing error and then third on a wild pitch with one down. But he was stranded there following a diving catch by Pirate shortstop Cooper Ayres to rob Conrad Miller of a hit for the second out.
Topper then retired Larry Baumgardner on a fly ball to end the inning.
“We had four innings where we got our leadoff runner on, but were unable to get bunts down and that’s unusual for us,” New Oxford manager Scott Meckley said. “Our guys said that (Topper’s) fastball was really moving a lot. We did get some guys on, but we weren’t able to capitalize on it.”
Rebert was more than happy to add Topper to the Buccos’ stockpile of pitching options.
“Josh threw a lot of innings during the high school season and he’s had a busy schedule since then,” Rebert said. “He was available to pitch and we needed an arm tonight. We’re going to take the next few weeks to try to build his stamina up so that he can help us in the playoffs.”
Cashtown has taken the first two meetings of the season with the Twins and the teams will hook up two more times, at Cashtown on July 11 and at New Oxford on July 20, the final day of the regular season.
“They’re the team to beat in the league, for sure,” Meckley said. “They’ve got great depth, more than anyone else in the league, and you can add Topper to their already deep staff. They were missing like nine guys and if you took the guys that weren’t here for them tonight and made a team out of them, they could contend for the league championship.”
Schachle and Rohrbaugh were the only players to register multiple hits in the game as they each had two knocks.
Both teams return to action with doubleheaders on Sunday. New Oxford plays at Hanover, while Cashtown hosts Brushtown.
Follow Tom Sixeas on Twitter at @TomSixeas
Cashtown 000 020 0 — 2 7 1
New Oxford 000 000 0 — 0 1 2
Josh Topper, Michael Tempel and J.C. Collins; Doug Politz, Derek Smith (4), Jordan Arnold (5), Conrad Miller (6) and Zach Keffer, Austin Roth (6). WP: Topper. LP: Arnold. SO-BB: Topper 3-5, Tempel 2-1; Politz 4-2, Smith 1-0, Arnold 0-1, Miller 1-0.