Entering this week, the Biglerville baseball team sat fifth in the District 3 Class 3A power rankings, one spot inside the playoff cut line.
Ahead of them stood a stretch of five games in five days, including the continuation of 12-12 game against Fairfield that was postponed for darkness on April 5.
The Canners started that stretch strongly on Monday, jumping out to an early lead and refusing to look back in a 9-4 victory over visiting Bermudian Springs.
“We talked about it,” Biglerville coach Jeff Taylor said of the importance of winning the first game. “We said ‘we’ve got to go out and get today before we can start to worry about Wednesday.’”
The Eagles (2-10) started strongly, loading the bases with none down in the first against Canners’ starter Eli Weigle. But they were only able to push across a single run on a Dalton Reinert ground-out and led 1-0 heading to the bottom half of the inning.
That’s when the Biglerville (6-4) bats showed up.
Cameron Hartzel, Logan Brewer and Connor Orner loaded the bases with no outs after a walk, a single and an error before Ben Angstadt knocked in two with a go-ahead double. Weigle then helped himself, singling to center to make it 3-1 before a pair of bases loaded walks pushed it out to 5-1.
All told, the Canners ended the inning with a 6-1 lead and gave Weigle a much-appreciated cushion.
“It was good to know I had a lead and good to know I could give up a couple and still be ahead,” he said. “Working with the lead is a lot easier than working down one or down two.”
From there on, Weigle settled in. He started the second with a punchout on three pitches and proceeded to retire the side in order.
In the bottom of the second, Biglerville extended its lead, with Brewer scoring on an Angstadt single and the latter later coming home on a fielder’s choice.
“Any time you can jump out to a lead it’s always a plus,” Taylor said afterward. “Then you can do things. You can bunt. You can steal. It gives you options. Better to be ahead by six than behind by six.”
Weigle allowed a one-out double in the third, but otherwise got out of the inning unscathed.
After Bermudian starter Connor Shaw was knocked out of the game in the first, Tyson Carpenter came on in relief and put in an admirable effort for the Eagles. Outside of the second inning, Carpenter was largely lights-out. He kept the Canners off the board in the third, fourth and fifth innings and allowed the visitors a feint smell of hope after they pushed across one run in the fourth and two in the fifth to cut the lead to 8-4 entering the sixth inning.
Austin Black, on in relief of Weigle, poured cold water on that rally as he put away the bottom of the Eagles’ order without any damage done in the sixth. Angstadt then added another RBI, his fourth of the day, on a single in the bottom half and Brewer closed it out despite allowing two hits in the seventh.
“It was huge,” Weigle said of the Canners’ victory after the game. “Now we’ve got to come out Wednesday and we’ve got to finish the first one right and then go after them the second time. But getting this one was big.”
Weigle ended with a line of one earned run on four hits, four strikeouts and one walk over four innings pitched. He threw just 52 pitches in the outing and Taylor says he expects to have him on the mound against the Green Knights on Wednesday.
“Our pitchers were good for us today,” he said. “With five games this week, we’ve got to sort of use our pitchers wisely.”
After Wednesday’s twinbill against Fairfield, the Canners head to Eastern York on Thursday and Camp Hill on Friday.
Bermudian, meanwhile, plays host to the Green Knights on Thursday.
Bermudian 100 120 0 — 4 10 2
Biglerville 620 001 x — 9 11 3
Connor Shaw, Tyson Carpenter (1) and Bryce Martin; Eli Weigle, Austin Black (5), Logan Brewer (7). WP: Weigle. LP: Shaw. SO-BB: BS-Shaw 0-4, Carpenter 4-2; B-Weigle 4-1, Black 2-0, Brewer 0-0. 2B: BS-Carter Stuart, Dylan Myers; B-Ben Angstadt, Brewer.