Check another box for the Gettysburg Warriors.
Ryan Brady’s club had all three key ingredients in synch in his team’s 3-1 victory over visiting Manheim Central on Friday afternoon. Marshall Mott and Josh Topper combined on a three-hitter with 12 strikeouts. Both pitchers had spotless defense behind them and the game’s only extra-base knock – an opposite field double by Zach Ketterman – proved the timeliest of all.
With the win, the Warriors (20-3) qualified for the state tournament – possibly for the first time in school history – and clinched a meeting with Lampeter-Strasburg at a neutral site on Tuesday in the District 3 Class 5A semifinals.
Mott was cruising along through four-plus innings. The sophomore southpaw had not given up a run and was staked to a 2-0 advantage. When he packed the pillows with one out on two walks and a hit batsman in the fifth, Brady didn’t hesitate to make a change. Topper, who twirled a shutout over Dover on Monday, was lights out. The senior workhorse surrendered a sacrifice fly that allowed the Barons (20-4) to score a run without a hit, then fanned four of the last eight he faced to douse the flames.
“I just tried to pound the zone,” said Topper. “If you get up (in the count) early, it’s a lot easier. It takes the pressure off the defense. Marshall was phenomenal. We couldn’t have asked for any more from him. I figured if it was close I was getting into the game. I just tried to do my job and get him the win.”
Topper could have pitched Thursday but the rainout gave the righthander an extra day of rest.
“It’s been a goal all year,” said Brady of the team’s ambitions for the campaign. “It was win the division, get a high seed in districts and now states. We have everything in front of us on Tuesday.”
Mott and Baron starter Colton Book traded goose-eggs through two. In the home third, the Warriors broke through. Topper led off with a sharp single. Xander Meckley was safe on a fielder’s choice and circled the sacks on Ketterman’s missile into the leftfield corner. Ketterman alertly moved to third on the throw home then dented the dish on Simeon Davis’ poke to center.
“It was a 1-0 pitch so I thought he would come with something over the plate,” said Ketterman of his seed. “It was on the outside half and I just went with the pitch. This is awesome – it’s what we’ve worked for all year. I’m excited for the games that are ahead of us.”
Brady appreciated the effort of his cleanup hitter.
“Zach’s done it for us all year – that’s why he’s one of our captains,” said Brady. “He’s one of our best players. He can hit it to all fields. That kick-started our offense.”
Mott sailed through the fourth and at one time retired nine consecutive batters – five via the punchout – but he was done after plunking Nolan Weaver. Topper came in and limited the damage.
Gettysburg added an insurance tally in the sixth with some small ball. Dillon Gebler started the frame with a base hit. He stole second, sashayed to third on a wild pitch and scored on Mott’s high infield chopper. It was more than enough for Topper.
By qualifying for the state tournament, Gettysburg is guaranteed at least three more games.
“We knew Josh was ready, he had a fresh arm,” said Brady. “We were fully confident in Marshall. I probably would have left him in there during the regular season. At that point, coming near the top of their lineup – they had seen him three times. I thought going with Josh – the senior – was the right move. It was the time to show them a different arm. It was more of a gut call.”
Brady opined that there was no evidence that a Gettysburg team had ever qualified for the state playoff.
“These guys love playing baseball. We have a shot to win another game and play for a district title.”
Manheim Central 000 010 0 – 1 3 0
Gettysburg 002 001 x – 3 6 0
Colton Book, Drew Mummau (6) and Garrett Bruckhart; Marshall Mott, Josh Topper (5) and Dylan Ed. WP: Mott. LP: Book. SO-BB: Book 3-1, Mummau 1-0; Mott 8-3, Topper 4-0. 2B: Zach Ketterman (G).