Eastern York senior southpaw Evan Rishell came into Wednesday’s matchup with Littlestown having thrown 14 straight scoreless innings to begin the season.
Rishell tacked on five more spotless frames before the Thunderbolts got to him for two runs in the bottom of the sixth and that was enough for Littlestown to emerge victorious, 2-1, in YAIAA-3 baseball action at Littlestown’s Memorial Field.
Littlestown senior Andrew Olvera matched him almost every step of the way to earn the complete-game win. Olvera went the distance on 94 pitches, 65 of them strikes and allowed an unearned run and five hits (all singles) with five strikeouts and no walks.
“You feel like you almost have to be perfect and you have to stay focused on every pitch,” Olvera said. “I was really locating my fastball well. I got a couple of swings and misses with my curve and just mixed my pitches, speeds and locations.”
Rishell worked six innings in defeat and allowed two runs and seven hits while fanning eight and not issuing a free pass. He threw 89 pitches, 58 strikes.
“He’s a tough pitcher,” Littlestown head coach Robert Rohrbaugh said of Rishell. “He’s got good heat and good off-speed stuff. He made it tough on our hitters.”
Rishell retired the first eight hitters he faced before Nate Thomas lined a single to center with two down in the third. Ryan Jones had an infield single in the fourth, but was picked off to end the inning.
Then in the fifth, Dalton Small singled with one out, but was cut down trying to take third on Olvera’s single.
Thomas began the decisive rally with a leadoff single in the sixth. Braden Unger, was trying to drop a sac bunt, but was hit by a pitch and a sac bunt by Bradin Peart gave the hosts runners at second and third with one out.
A single on Rishell’s 2-2 offering by freshman Colby Hahn plated Thomas to even things up.
“Colby has been having some good turns at the plate recently. He homered earlier this week against York Catholic,” Rohrbaugh said. “I thought that we’d see a lefty today, so I decided to move him up in the order.”
Jones, another freshman, then followed with an infield single to load the bases and Unger scampered home with the go-ahead run on a wild pitch.
“Facing the guy they were pitching today, you’re just trying to find a way to scrape across a run or two. Because that’s all that you can realistically hope for against a pitcher of his quality,” Rohrbaugh said. “We had a couple of big at bats in the sixth and that got us a couple of runs.”
Olvera fanned Quinton McNew to begin the seventh, before Nate Dandridge singled with one down to bring the go-ahead run to the plate in Jake Myers. But Olvera also sat him down and then retired Rishell on a ground out to end it.
“Andy has been our money pitcher all year,” Rohrbaugh said. “He’s been a grinder for us in his entire time in the program and it’s great to see him having the success that he’s been having. He’s worked very hard at his craft.”
Olvera added, “It gives you a lot of confidence when Coach chooses you to pitch in a big game. You just want to prove him right.”
The win gives Littlestown its fourth win in its past five games and moves the Bolts to within one game in the loss column behind the Knights and Kennard-Dale in the race for the division title.
Littlestown (8-4, 8-2) was paced by two hits apiece from Jones and Thomas. Dandridge had two knocks for the Knights.
The Bolts return to action with a non-division tilt at South Western on Friday, before hosting Kennard-Dale next Monday. Both of those games are scheduled to start at 4:15 p.m.
Follow Tom Sixeas on Twitter at @TomSixeas
Eastern York 000 010 0 — 1 5 0
Littlestown 000 002 x — 2 7 2
Evan Rishell and Drew Dillinger; Andrew Olvera and Ryan Jones. SO-BB: Rishell 8-0; Olvera 5-0. W — Olvera. L — Rishell.