Mother Nature made her point, now it’s time to play ball.

Finally.

After a couple days of soaking rain and subsequent postponements, the YAIAA baseball and softball tournaments should get under way today with four Times Area teams in action. The marquis matchup takes place at New Oxford, where red-hot Gettysburg faces Biglerville in a battle of highly touted baseball squads.

The Warriors are the hottest team in District 3, having won 16 straight games after a 1-2 start to the season. Much of that success can be attributed to a pitching staff that has been beyond stingy. As a group, Gettysburg hurlers have comprised an earned run average of 1.32, striking out 121 batters while walking 47.

Josh Topper has been virtually untouchable, allowing three earned runs in 37.2 innings of work. Topper has fanned 34 while issuing only four free passes. Sophomore southpaw Marshall Mott is 5-1 with a team-high 46 punchouts, and Zach Ketterman is 4-1 with a paltry 0.73 ERA in 28.2 innings on the bump.

Trying its luck against that impressive stable of arms is a Canner lineup that is blistering the ball at a team clip of .354, averaging nearly nine runs per contest. Sophomore Logan Brewer has blossomed in the leadoff spot, where he sports a .424 average with 28 hits and 28 runs scored. His classmate, Connor Orner, continues to swing heavy lumber with a team-best five home runs in 57 at-bats. Orner has a dozen extra-base hits and 19 RBI.

Aaron Stremmel (.456, 26 hits), Tyler Weikert (.409, 27 hits, 23 runs) and Nick Wright (.371, 22 RBI, 20 runs) give the Canners plenty of punch.

Biglerville can’t match Gettysburg’s rotation depth but its ace is as good as they come. Senior Ben Bretzman has been a workhorse, going 6-3 with a 1.99 ERA in 52.2 innings from atop the hill. Bretzman has struck out 86 batters while walking 21.

Weikert, Wyatt Kline and freshman Eli Weigle have combined to throw 49.2 innings behind the big righthander.

Should Bretzman get the nod, he’ll contend with an opportunistic Warrior lineup led by the likes of Ketterman, Dillon Gebler, Mott and Topper. Ketterman is a do-it-all righty who is batting .339 with 19 hits and 11 walks. Gebler, who is tied with Simeon Davis for the team lead in RBI with 15, checks in at .369 with 24 base knocks.

Mott (.364, 20 hits) and Topper (.370, 17 hits) give Gettysburg additional firepower.

Ketterman and Co. could test fine Bville backstop Wright on the basepaths, where they have swiped 51 bags. Ketterman has 15 thefts to his credit.

Gettysburg is third in the unofficial District 3 Class 5A playoff rankings, just behind No. 1 Red Land and Lampeter-Strasburg. If the current rankings hold, the Warriors would host No. 14 Dover (11-8) next Monday. Gettysburg bested Dover by scores of 6-3 and 4-0 in the regular season.

Biglerville (15-5) looks to enter the D3-3A tourney as the top seed over Oley Valley (13-5). The Canners will receive a bye in next Monday’s quarterfinals and likely face the winner of a game between Annville-Cleona (13-6-1) and Brandywine Heights (10-8) in the semifinals on May 23.

The winner of today’s game will move into Thursday’s YAIAA title tilt where it will face either West York or Dallastown at Spring Grove.

While the Warriors and Canners slug it out today, the Littlestown softball team will be across the parking lot at the Ox, taking its swings against Spring Grove in the YAIAA softball tourney. Delone Catholic, fresh off another YAIAA-4 title, journeys to Susquehannock where it will meet up with Eastern York.

The Thunderbolts (16-4) have turned up the wick in the second half of the campaign, reeling off wins in 11 of their last dozen outings. The Bolt lineup has been monstrous, getting contributions from all comers. Bailey Smith and Kacie Frock are softball’s version of the bash brothers, combining for 59 hits, 64 RBI and 23 extra-base hits. Frock’s power is on par with the best in the YAIAA as she sports a team-high six round-trippers and eight doubles and 34 runs driven in.

Smith, whose .470 average edges her slugging teammate by a smidgeon, has 31 hits and 30 RBI.

Caitlin Eader (.382, 21 hits, 20 runs), Carter Clabaugh (27 runs, 8 extra-base hits), Jada Mummert (.344, 28 runs, 22 hits), Megan Gorsuch (.367, 18 RBI), Carli Thayer (.341, 13 RBI) and Molly Watkins (.375, 24 hits) help comprise a lineup that just doesn’t quit. Head coach Jeff Laux’s bunch is ripping the cover off the pumpkin at a collective rate of .359.

Littlestown is lethal in the pitching circle as well thanks to Amaya Bowman. The Bolt ace checks in with an ERA under 3.00, having sent 133 opposing batters back to the dugout via strikeout. Bowman’s control has been excellent, with just 26 walks issued over her first 113 innings of work.

Delone (16-3) has won four straight games entering today’s matchup, including a title-clinching victory at Fairfield a week ago. The big-hitting Squirettes are batting a robust .394 as a unit, with three regulars above the .500 mark. Katie Ernst is a thumper with a .574 average and a mind-boggling 23 extra-base hits, including 15 doubles and five home runs. Ernst has posted a triple-30, with 35 hits, 34 RBI and 32 runs scored.

Emma Schneider and Maggie Rickrode step in at .517, respectively. Schneider has 30 hits and 21 runs scored while Rickrode has belted 31 base knocks and crossed the plate 21 times. Three of Rickrode’s extra-base hits have been dingers.

Lauren Little (.478, 33 runs, 32 hits, 19 RBI) is as dangerous as they come and Kylie Funkhouser has tormented opposing hurlers to the tune of a .377 average with 20 hits, 20 RBI and 26 runs scored.

Rickrode has posted a 15-2 record inside the circle with a 2.38 ERA in 106 innings. While her strikeout total of 140 is eye-popping, control has been a bit of an issues with 79 free passes awarded.

The Squirettes and Thunderbolts are currently 1-2 in the District 3 3A power rankings. Should those seeds hold true, both squads would have a bye into next Thursday’s semifinals.

Contact Josh Martin at jmartin@gettysburgtimes.com. Follow on Twitter at @JoshMartin33

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