Cashtown’s Eric Ketterman has transitioned from full-time player, to part-time player and finally to manager over the years, and he thought he was done playing after he helped the Pirates win the South Penn League title in 2017.
But short on players, the grizzled veteran stepped in and delivered the game-winning hit in the Bucs’ 7-6 victory over Hanover on Sunday afternoon at the Cashtown Fire Department.
“I thought I was already retired as a player,” Ketterman said. “Hopefully, it’s for good now.”
Ketterman came to the plate with nobody out after Anthony Lippy inside-outed a double to right field to begin the eighth inning, and he was looking to bunt Lippy to third.
A pair of failed bunt attempts put him in an 0-2 hole, but Ketterman responded with a line drive single to left field that chased Lippy home with the winner.
“I was trying to bunt the ball down the third base line and they threw me two outside pitches,” Ketterman said. “I was fortunate to get a pitch to hit and squared it up.”
Lippy took the ball to start the game on the hill for the Pirates and hung four consecutive zeros to start the game, before running into significant trouble in the fifth.
Hanover (1-2) struck for six runs in the inning, as a pair of Pirate miscues aided the cause for the Raiders.
The Raiders received run-scoring singles from Andrew Burke, Kyle Bowman and Zach Rudisill, while Alex Smith doubled home a run and Adam Smith hit into a fielder’s choice to plate another.
“Lip looked good for four innings and I wanted to try to keep him to 60-70 pitches today,” Ketterman said. “He started the inning at 58. It was the third time through the order and we didn’t play well defensively behind him that inning.”
Lippy exited after Bowman’s single and his final line was six runs (three earned) and eight hits with eight strikeouts and one walk in 4 2/3 innings.
Following the six-run uprising, Hanover lifted Burke with a 6-2 advantage and the Pirates responded with two runs in the fifth and two more in the seventh to even things at 6-6.
Burke worked four innings and allowed two runs and four hits with eight punch outs and one free pass. He threw 57 pitches, 40 of them were strikes.
“Burke pitched well for us today,” Adam Smith, Hanover’s player-manager said. “We didn’t want to push him too far this early in the season.”
Ethan Ketterman’s two-run double in the fifth cut the deficit to 6-4, then in the seventh, back-to-back RBI singles from Robert Rohrbaugh and Chris Schachle tied it.
“We didn’t really play very well today and we were without a few of our regulars,” Eric Ketterman said. “But we were able to grind it out and get the win.”
Lippy was replaced on the mound by D.J. Cool, who got out of the fifth with a ground out to avoid further damage and then tossed threw more scoreless frames.
“We were patient and got to Lippy the third time through the order,” Smith said. “But then we stopped being patient when he came out of the game and started swinging at pitches that we shouldn’t.”
Cashtown (1-0) put together a 14-hit attack with leadoff hitter Chase King supplying three hits, two of them doubles, while scoring three times. Ethan Ketterman, Eric Ketterman and Schachle each had two knocks for the winners, while Ethan Ketterman drove in three runs. Eric Ketterman, who played first base defensively, also flashed the leather with a diving catch on a line drive hit by Rudisill to save a run in the third.
For Hanover, Burke and Zach Keffer each had two knocks.
Cashtown, which has won the last four league titles, is looking to become the first team to capture five straight crowns since Taneytown won six straight in the 1990’s.
Hanover returns to action when it plays at North Carroll on Tuesday, while the Buccos’ are off until playing Frederick in a twinbill on Sunday.
Follow Tom Sixeas on Twitter at @TomSixeas
Hanover 000 060 00 — 6 10 2
Cashtown 000 220 21 — 7 14 6
Andrew Burke, Logan Strausbaugh (5), Blake Phillips and Zach Keffer; Anthony Lippy, D.J. Cool (5) and J.C. Collins. SO-BB: Burke 8-0, Strausbaugh 0-0, Phillips 1-1; Lippy 8-1, 1-1. W — Cool. L — Phillips. 2B: H — Alex Smith; C — Chase King 2, Ethan Ketterman, Chris Schachle, Cool, Lippy.