Littlestown’s Brandon Naill steals second as Hanover shortstop Pat Brady fields the throw and second baseman Andrew Worley backs up the play during Thursday’s South Penn League game in Littlestown. The Dodgers blanked the Raiders, 5-0. (Darryl Wheeler/Gettysburg Times)

The Gus Bus was fully gassed up and ready to go.

Littlestown’s Justin Gladhill’s nickname is “Gus” and he was on top of things, firing a two-hit shutout to lead the Dodgers to a 5-0 victory over visiting Hanover in South Penn League action Thursday evening at Memorial.

Gladhill struck out three and didn’t issue a walk, while needing 82 pitches to spin the gem. He threw 59 strikes.

“The infield defense behind me was great tonight and that gave me confidence to pitch to contact,” Gladhill said of his low strikeout total. “I trust the defense and that helps me to throw more strikes, because I’m not afraid to let the other team put the ball in play.”

Hanover (8-8-1) countered on the hill with Colby Peterson, who threw a no-hitter against the Dodgers on June 9.

On Thursday, the Boys in Blue got to the young righty for five runs (four earned) on six hits. He struck out four and walked four in his six innings of work.

“Colby didn’t throw a bad game, at all,” Hanover player-manager Adam Smith said. “Their hitters found some holes with some of the balls that they hit.”

Peterson set the Dodgers down in order in the bottom of the first, but then Jacob Crawmer singled back up the middle to begin the second.

Travis Inch worked a walk and Jamie Naill reached on an error to load ‘em for Brandon Naill, who singled to left to plate Crawmer and Inch. An error allowed Naill to touch the dish.

Gladhill took that lead and ran with it, never allowing more than one runner to reach base in any inning and never throwing more than 16 pitches in any frame.

“He was effective, he threw strikes and he didn’t walk anybody,” Smith said of Gladhill. “He got us to hit a lot of ground balls and his guys made the plays, too.”

Things stayed the same into the bottom of the sixth when Littlestown struck for a pair of runs with Inch singling just inside the bag at third base to score Jake Saylor and J.T. Widerman dumped a single into right that brought Inch around to produce the final tally.

“We had a better approach at the plate tonight,” Littlestown player-manager Justin Keith said. “Nobody tried to press and we made (Peterson) come to us.”

Gladhill took the hill in the top of the seventh in search of the shutout and worked around a leadoff error to get it.

“We know that Gus is going to throw a lot of strikes and make the other team hit the ball,” Keith said. “It keeps the defense on its toes and ready to play.”

While Hagerstown and Cashtown are likely to hold down the top two spots in the playoffs, Littlestown is making its move toward securing the third seed and currently occupies that spot.

The Dodgers have now won five straight.

“The goal is to get ready for the playoffs,” Keith said. “We want to be playing our best baseball when the postseason gets here.”

Littlestown returns to action when it hosts a doubleheader with North Carroll on Saturday at 6 p.m. Meanwhile, Hanover is back on the diamond on Sunday at 1 p.m. when Frederick pays a visit to Diller Field for a twinbill.

Follow Tom Sixeas on Twitter at @TomSixeas

Hanover 000 000 0 — 0 2 1

Littlestown 030 002 x — 5 6 2

Colby Peterson and Wade Linebaugh; Justin Gladhill and Jake Saylor. SO-BB: Peterson 4-4; Gladhill 3-0. W-Gladhill. L-Peterson.

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