DALLASTOWN -- Austin Calaman returned to the mound just in time to help Dallastown take control of the York-Adams League Division I baseball title race.
Calaman, who hadn't pitched in a week because of a shoulder injury, showed no discomfort on Thursday afternoon.
He delivered a gem of a performance on Senior Day: a two-hit shutout.
Dallastown's 5-0 victory gave the Wildcats sole possession of first place with an 11-3 record. Spring Grove slipped to 10-4.
Dallastown, which clinched at least a tie for the crown, can win it outright by defeating neighboring Red Lion (6-6) on Tuesday. Spring Grove will close against South Western, which is also 10-4.
Calaman allowed just two hits, both singles. He struck
The senior right-hander had been limited to filling the role of designated hitter lately because of the injury.
"I had a problem with a small muscle in the back of my shoulder," he said. "It was ibuprofen, ice and stretching with the trainer."
The first four Spring Grove batters of the game made solid contact against Calaman, with three of them being retired on fly balls to center field and the other reaching on an outfield error.
"I just judged what the first three hitters were capitalizing on, and then I started mixing in my off-speed pitch with my fastball," Calaman said.
The strategy worked. Spring Grove wasn't able to break through against the Wildcats' pitcher.
The Rockets did tag a couple of pitches -- a liner in the third inning that Dallastown second baseman Ryan Tracy speared, and a hard grounder up the middle in the fifth that Tracy turned into a second-to-first double play.
Spring Grove made one final push, loading the bases with one out in the seventh by combining Jake Thoman's pinch-hit single with a an error and a hit batsman.
Brandon Warner then drove a ball to center field.
Wildcats' center fielder Micah Striebig made the
"I wasn't sure if he was going when I caught it, but I saw him going home, and threw it home," Striebig said.
Striebig also had two hits, including a double over the left-fielder's head in the fifth that drove in the first run of the game.
"The hit probably came at a more clutch time, but the throw out at home was nice, too," the Wildcats' senior said.
Calaman appreciated both Striebig's hit and catch.
"It was the biggest hit of the game because it kind of led us into the rally," he said. "When he threw that guy out at home, it was one of the biggest reliefs I've ever felt in my life."
Calaman also had two hits and batted in a run, and Matt Attig doubled across two runs with a line drive down the right-field line. D.J. Reed supplied a RBI single to winners' cause.
When Calaman wasn't pitching or hitting, he escaped from the warm afternoon sun in the shade behind the Wildcats' dugout.
"It was 20 degrees cooler back there," he said. "That was my little vacation for a while."
Calaman and Spring Grove pitcher Trevor Troxell, who shut out Dallastown in the first meeting of the teams this season, dueled through 41/2 scoreless innings until the home team broke through for two runs in the fifth. The winners added three runs in the sixth.
Dallastown coach Don Trout said the Wildcats are a better team than the one that traveled to Spring Grove in April.
"We swung through pitches (in the initial game), and we struck out 11 times," he said. "These guys have worked, and they're pretty much on the ball. They're making contact. Spring Grove is a nice team, and they have pretty much everyone back next year with only four seniors. We have a ton (of seniors)."
Trout tweaked the cliché of playing one game at a game.
"We came into this week playing three at a time, a three-game playoff to the end of the regular season. Game 1 was Central (an 11-6 Dallastown victory), this one was No. 2, and we still have one more to go."
The Wildcats won't forget about Red Lion, but they'll savor the showdown victory over Spring Grove for a little while before switching their focus to the Lions.
"This is huge winning this game," Striebig said. "We need to come back and win at Red Lion, but this one was big because we were tied with them going into the game."
Calaman threw 116 pitches in his complete-game outing.
Troxell used 125 pitches in 51/3 before giving way to Levi Krause.
NORTHEASTERN 5, NEW OXFORD 2 (EIGHT INNINGS): At New Oxford, the Bobcats plated two runs in the top of the eighth to earn the win. Nick Sprenkle was 3-for-3 for the winners, while Josh Writer and Steve Shimkus combined on a six-hitter. Writer got the win, while Shimkus came on in the eighth to get the save. Shimkus and Nick Yinger added two hits each for the winners. Andrew Czap led New Oxford with two hits.
KENNARD-DALE 9, DOVER 1: At Dover, Colin Crowell led the Rams, going 3-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBIs. Franco Rossi went 2-for-5, including a double, with three runs scored, while Michael Dunn doubled to go with three walks, two RBIs and a stolen base.
YORK TECH 6, YORK CATHOLIC 5: At York Catholic, the Spartans led 5-1 after the second and held on. Tyler Brown led the Spartans, going 3-for-4, with three RBIs. Brown also picked up the victory on the mound, pitching six-plus innings. Hunter Weibley (2-for-4, double, two runs scored), Derrick Smith (2-for-4, two runs scored) and Abdial Narvaez (2-for-4) also excelled for Tech. For the Irish, Erich Hartman went 4-for-4, including a double. Hartman also fanned seven in six innings of relief, allowing just one run. James Dougherty went 2-for-4 for the Irish.
SOUTH WESTERN 8, YORK HIGH 5: At Hanover, Parker Bean led the Mustangs, going 2-for-4, including a homer, with three runs scored and a stolen base. Keith Pappas also homered for the winners. For the Bearcats, Lesabiel Castro went 4-for-4, including three triples. Teammate Chris Rodriguez went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and one stolen base.
-- Reach Dick VanOlinda at dvanolinda@yorkdis patch.com or at 505-5407.