EAST PROSPECT -- Anthony Ferrell needed a change.
After playing the past seven seasons for Jacobus, Ferrell went back home to New Bridgeville this season to play ball.
The pitcher/infielder helped Conrads win its first Susquehanna League regular-season crown in 11 years.
On Sunday, he shut out East Prospect on four hits as Conrads wrapped up the best-of-3, first-round playoff series in two games with a 3-0 victory.
Ferrell, who used to watch Conrads games on the New Bridgeville diamond, enjoyed playing for the team this year.
"I lived down there right near the field," he said. "My brother played for Conrads, and my dad coached at Conrads. I knew a lot of the guys from years ago, and it's a lot of fun to come back."
Ferrell needed just 81 pitches in his latest outing, 20 of which he used in the first inning.
"It usually takes me a couple of innings to get loose," he said. "I think by the third or fourth inning, I was throwing really good. I was just trying to let my defense work behind me. They did a pretty good job today (zero errors)."
Ferrell's only jam came in the bottom of the fifth inning with his team leading, 1-0.
East Prospect used Kris Knutsen's single, a walk and a hit batsman to load the bases with two outs, but Ferrell retired the next hitter on a fly ball to right field.
The right-hander struck out three and walked two.
"It was mostly the fastball, in and out," Ferrell said. "I actually threw a pretty good knuckleball today. It was a pretty good out pitch."
Ferrell and East Prospect pitcher Brian Crumbling dueled through four scoreless innings before Conrads broke through for a run in the fifth.
Cole Heffner, Ferrell's batterymate, doubled over the center fielder's head and scored on Kerry Clark's two-out double to the gap in right-center.
Conrads added to its advantage in the sixth by combining Kevin Keesey's double with Josh Knaub's RBI single. Keesey drove in the final run in the seventh with a single. The two-out hit scored Clark, who singled and advanced to second on a hit batsman.
The veteran Crumbling, who worked 62/3 innings, pitched very well, holding the hard-hitting Conrads team, which averaged more than seven runs a game during the regular season, to three runs.
"I'm pleased overall," said Crumbling who's in his 25th Susquehanna League season. "I left a couple (of pitches) up, and they hit them. That's what good teams do."
Keesey led Conrads' attack with three hits, a double and two singles. Clark and Heffner supplied two hits apiece.
"Sometimes I have his (Keesey's) number, and sometimes he has mine," Crumbling said. "I've known him for years. I got behind him a couple of times, and when you do that, good hitters know that you're going to come in with a strike, and they're ready for it."
East Prospect, which finished seventh in the regular season, pushed Conrads hard in both playoff games. That came as no surprise to Conrads manager Chad Kennell.
"These guys played us tough all year," Kennell said. "We were the No. 7 team last year, and we beat the No. 2 seed and went all the way to the finals."
Kennell was impressed with the work of both pitchers in Sunday's game, which required just 1 hour and 40 minutes.
"We made a decision last night that we were going in another direction and that we were going to go with Ferrell," Kennell said. "We kind of saved him all year. He hasn't pitched a lot of innings, and we put him out there today and he did the job."
Crumbling has traditionally given Conrads trouble.
"He's tough. He keeps the ball down," Kennell said.
Conrads will now await the winner of the York Township-Hallam series to see which team it plays in the semifinals beginning on Thursday evening (5:45) at New Bridgeville.
OTHER SUSQUEHANNA LEAGUE GAME
JACOBUS 1, WINDSOR 0: At Jacobus, Josh Hildebrand outdueled Luke Keeny as the Jackals evened the best-of-3 series at one game apiece. The deciding game is set for 5:45 p.m. Tuesday in Windsor.
Hildebrand struck out five and walked two. Keeny recorded four strikeouts without issuing a single walk.
Hildebrand gave up four hits, and Keeny walked three.
Jacobus scored the game's only run in the fourth inning when Ryan Poff cracked a one-out double and the next batter, Mike Austin, singled Poff home.
-- Reach Dick VanOlinda at dvanolinda@yorkdis patch.com.