SPRING GROVE -- Spring Grove's hopes of playing for the York-Adams Division I baseball title hinged on the Rockets defeating two division opponents on back-to-back days.
Quite a daunting task considering that both teams featured high-quality pitchers.
Spring Grove pulled it off, though, scoring victories over Dallastown and South Western.
The Rockets' reward is a winner-take-all showdown with Red Lion for the division crown. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday at Red Lion's Horn Field.
Both teams will enter with 9-3 records.
"One goal we had this year was to win the Division I title outright," Spring Grove's Nick Spangler said following his team's 6-2 victory over South Western on Thursday. "After we won (Wednesday, 4-1 over Dallastown), we said it won't mean anything if we don't take care of business (Thursday)."
The Rockets took care of business on Senior Day by combining the pitching of Levi Krause with a 10-hit attack.
Krause displayed outstanding control by striking out eight and walking two. All eight hits the right-hander allowed were singles and just one of the two runs was earned. He threw 126 pitches.
"I wanted the ball bad for (Thursday's) game," Krause said. "This is my last time playing here (at Spring Grove's field). We've been playing together since we were 10. To see us split and go our own ways (after graduation) stinks, but it's life."
Before the team's six senior starters move on, they're hoping to help the Rockets secure the Division I crown and a place in the York-Adams Tournament.
South Western, attempting to play spoiler on Thursday, took a 1-0 lead with a run in its first at bat. Spring Grove, though, responded with the tying run in the third and seized control with a four-run fourth.
The Rockets packed five of their hits into the big inning. They snapped the tie when Spangler doubled down the right-field line to score Brad Stagemyer and Colby Murphy, who had both singled. Facing an 0-1 count, Spangler, a right-handed hitter, took a Parker Bean pitch the opposite way to deliver his two teammates.
"I tried to sit on a pitch, an off-speed one, and I guessed right," Spangler said. "I was trying to put it (the ball) in play."
Following Spangler's shot, Trevor Troxel capped the inning with a two-run single.
Troxel and Stagemyer collected two hits apiece. Stagemyer's double to left-center field in the fifth inning scored Dalton Hoiles, who had doubled down the left-field line.
South Western pushed across its second run in the fifth, but the Mustangs weren't able to do any further damage against Krause, who is 5-0 lifetime against them.
Bean went 2-for-4 and stole three bases.
Spring Grove, meanwhile, swiped seven bases.
"Two nights in a row, our kids had their backs to the wall, and they rose to the occasion," Rockets' head coach Eric Zeigler said. "Nick (Spangler) pitched a great game for us (Wednesday) night, and then Levi came through (Thursday night). When you're up against Levi, you don't know what (pitch) is coming next because he has the confidence to throw any of his pitches (fastball, curveball, changeup) at any point in the count."
Zeigler wasn't sure following the game which of his pitchers will get the starting assignment on Monday at Red Lion.
"It's a must-win game, so we'll have everybody ready to go," he said.
DALLASTOWN 3, CEN TRAL YORK 0: At Dallastown, Zach Luman pitched a six-hit shutout for the Wildcats. He struck out five and walked three. Rob Catchings doubled twice for Dallastown, while Nick Sutton also added two hits. Austin Seitzinger had two hits for Central. Tyler Wagner also pitched a complete-game six-hitter for Central in a losing cause. He struck out four, walked two and allowed two earned runs. Dallastown improved to 10-6 overall and finished 9-4 in York-Adams Division I. Despite the win, the Wildcats were eliminated from the division race when Spring Grove beat South Western, 6-2. Spring Grove will battle Red Lion on Monday for the division crown. Both teams will enter that division finale at 9-3.
SUSQUEHANNOCK 7, EASTERN YORK 4: At Glen Rock, Josh Houser doubled and drove in three runs to lead Susquehannock. Connor Hood added two hits for the winners. Houser also got the win on the mound, allowing two earned runs in six innings. He struck out four, walked four and allowed seven hits. Hood pitched a shutout inning to get the save. Thomas Taylor and Michael Dunn each had two hits for Eastern. One of Taylor's hits was a double. Susquehannock improved to 12-5 overall and 11-2 in York-Adams Division III. Eastern fell to 9-8 overall and 8-5 in the division.
NORTHEASTERN 8, DOVER 7: At Mount Wolf, the Bobcats used a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the seventh to earn the victory. Steve Shimkus went 2-for-3 with a double and three runs scored for Northeastern, and also got the win in relief. Jesse Sargen had four hits and two RBIs for the Bobcats. Nick Sprenkle and Nick Yinger each added two hits for the Bobcats, while Grant Myers homered. Josh McMahon had three hits, two runs scored and an RBI to lead Dover, while Grant Hoover added two hits and three RBIs.
KENNARD-DALE 3, NEW OXFORD 0: At New Oxford, Matt Belt pitched a four-hit shutout, striking out eight and walking six. Jason Cooper was 2-for-3 with a run scored for the Rams. Kenny Horney doubled for New Oxford. Cody Pieper and Jake Toal combined on a seven-hitter for the Colonials.
HANOVER 4, YORK CATHOLIC 3: At Hanover, Jared Peterman pitched a complete game to get the win, striking out four and walking one. The Nighthawks plated two runs in the bottom of the seventh to walk off with the win. Spencer Durika drove in three runs for Hanover, while Nick Trish and Peterman each added two hits. Nathan Haney had three hits for the Irish, while Erich Hartman tripled twice.
BIGLERVILLE 4, YORK TECH 3: At Spry, Biglerville scored twice in each of the first two innings and then held on for the victory. Zach Sheets pitched a complete-game two-hitter to get the win. He fanned 12 and walked two. Cyrus Tome pitched a complete-game six-hitter in the loss. He struck out 10 and walked four. Sheets also went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBIs. Derick Smith tripled for Tech.
PALMYRA 1, WEST YORK 0: At Palmyra, Brandon Kinneman pitched a complete-game five-hitter, but still absorbed the tough-luck, non-league loss. He struck out two and walked one. Kinneman also had two of West York's five hits.
-- Reach Dick VanOlinda at dvanolinda@yorkdis patch.com.