STOVERSTOWN -- In most high school and American Legion baseball games, substituting players is a common occurrence.
Rarely, if ever, is the rulebook needed to settle an argument about a player change.
Fortunately for Dallastown, home plate umpire Stan Dutterer had his rulebook with him to settle a dispute that could have put the outcome of Monday's game against Spring Grove in doubt.
When Cyrus Tome stepped to the plate in the top of the eighth inning, Spring Grove coach Matt Spangler approached Dutterer. Tome, who entered the game the previous inning, was never announced as a substitute by Dutterer to the Spring Grove scorekeeper or bench.
Dutterer, in fact, didn't even have the change on his own scorecard.
That set off a brief delay, during which Spangler considered protesting the contest. Play continued on, however, and Dallastown pushed across three runs in the inning and shut down the hosts in the bottom of the frame to claim a 6-3 victory.
Dallastown's triumph will not be protested, however. Dutterer and Spangler reviewed the rulebook while the teams gathered their gear to go home.
"What's the rule?" Spangler asked.
Dutterer then read the rule, which basically says an unannounced substitute shall be considered legal when entering the game and taking his position.
Spangler followed up by asking a logical question: "What's the use of reporting then?"
"It's a courtesy," Dutterer replied.
While Spangler was satisfied with the explanation that it was not an illegal substitution, he was still displeased that his team left the field Monday night with a loss for the first time this season. His club had many chances to take command of the game, but squandered most of them. Spring Grove stranded 10 runners and hit into three double plays.
"We didn't hit with runners in scoring position," Spangler said. "Give Dallastown credit. They made some nice plays that shut us down. Our lack of executing. ... those are things that we try to stress all of the time."
Dallastown interim coach Andrew Loehwing, who filled in for Rob Alkhas, was proud of his side.
"It was awesome," he said. "I'm really proud of my guys."
When asked about the controversy surrounding Cyrus Tome's entry into the contest, Loehwing indicated that he did notify Dutterer of the switch.
"I did report it to the plate umpire," Loehwing said. "At the time he didn't seem like he was concerned with it, but it certainly was reported."
That substitution came at a critical time in the contest. After starter Nolan Tome walked the first two batters of the inning in a 3-3 contest, Loehwing brought in Micah Streibig from center to pitch. At the same time, Cyrus Tome picked up a glove and ran to center, taking over Nolan's spot in the lineup.
Streibig, who earned the victory, gave his team a huge pick-me-up with his outing. After a sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third with one out, Loehwing intentionally walked Brandon Warner to load the bases.
With a perfect opportunity to claim victory, however, Spangler's club failed. Tyler Troxel hit a chopper to third baseman Seth Strayer. Instead of throwing home for the force out, Strayer opted to touch third before he fired a strike to first to get Troxel by half a step to end the inning.
"That was definitely a clutch play right there," said Dallastown's Matt Attig, who admitted it was a highly unconventional decision. "That made the game right there."
After an error and a single to start the eighth inning, Attig put his mark on the contest with a bases-clearing triple that put his team ahead, 5-3. To cap it off, with Cyrus Tome at the plate, Attig scored when Tome grounded out to third for the contest's final tally.
"That was probably one of the most exciting games that I've ever been in in my entire life," said Attig, who finished with two hits. "I really can't think of any other ones like that."
Spring Grove starter Dalton Hoiles held Dallastown hitless through four innings before the visitors struck for three runs in the fifth. Levi Krause, who relieved Hoiles in the fifth, pitched the final two-plus innings but was saddled with the loss.
Luke Rohrbaugh finished with two hits, including a first-inning home run, while catcher Jon Gross also collected two hits.
Spring Grove fell to 5-1, while Dallastown improved to 7-3. Spring Grove had been the only York-Adams American Legion team without a loss or a tie.
OTHER LEGION GAMES
PLEASUREVILLE 4, SHILOH 3: At Shiloh, Dan Royer led the visitors, belting two doubles. Dan Sepic went 2-for-4 for the winners, including a double, while Jeremy Pagano pitched a complete game, striking out three and walking two to record the win. For Shiloh, Chase James went 2-for-4, including a double, with two runs scored, while Ryan Dellinger went 2-for-3 with a double. Starting pitcher Joe Prego went 42/3 innings with three strikeouts and one walk.
GLEN ROCK 9, DILLS BURG 5: At Glen Rock, Ethan Lear led the home team to the victory, by going 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Joshua Houser (2-for-4), Alec Lebo (two RBIs), Sammy Miller (two runs scored) and Troy Miller (two runs scored) also excelled for the winners. Lebo also came on in relief of starter Josh Smith to pitch the final 11/3 innings of scoreless ball. For Dillsburg, Clayton Haak went 3-for-3, with a double and two runs scored. The game was called after 52/3 innings because of darkness.
SUBURBAN YORK 8, STEWARTSTOWN 7 (EIGHT INNINGS): Brennan Weinstein delivered the winning hit for Suburban York in the bottom of the eighth. Weinstein's single scored Jonathan Tsikitas, who singled and stole second. Mark Burnside collected two hits and drove in three runs for the winners. Weinstein, Chance Rohrbaugh and Caleb Baughman also had two hits each. Jason Cooper finished with two hits for Stewartstown.
YORK 6, HANOVER 5: At Diller Field, Hanover rallied from a 5-1 hole with two runs in the sixth and two runs in the seventh to send the game into extra innings. York, however, scored an unearned run in the eighth to grab the victory. Hanover fell to 4-2-0, while York improved to 2-5-1.
-- Reach Ryan Vander sloot at sports@yorkdis patch.com.