Joe Prego went the distance to earn the victory. He struck out four batters and walked two.
Joe Prego went the distance to earn the victory. He struck out four batters and walked two. (File photo)

DILLSBURG -- West York pitcher Joe Prego was pretty much running on fumes by the seventh inning of Thursday's District 3-AAA quarterfinal against Shippensburg.

Prego, though, was determined to finish what he started.

The senior right-hander gave up two runs and three hits in the final inning, but he stayed on the mound to earn the victory.

Prego's pitching, combined with some clutch hits, a piece of daring base running and excellent defense, pushed the Bulldogs past Shippensburg, 5-3, and into the district semifinals.

West York will take on Greencastle-Antrim on Tuesday at a time and site to be determined.

Prego yielded 11 hits, but forced Shippensburg to strand eight runners. He struck out four and walked two.

Dallastown’s Tyler Butcher went the distance to blank Waynesboro in a District 3-AAAA quarterfinal.
Dallastown's Tyler Butcher went the distance to blank Waynesboro in a District 3-AAAA quarterfinal. (File photo)

"I was running out of gas (in the seventh)," Prego said. "I really didn't have my best stuff today, (no one-two-three innings), but it doesn't matter because I can rely on my defense. Our guys in the outfield (Chase James, Brandon Rauhauser and Brett Kinneman), we call them the three deer. The infielders make all the plays, and then there's Cole Bixler behind the plate."

The Bulldogs committed just one error, and that came in the seventh. They made a number of key plays, including one by Bixler that saved a run. That came in the fourth when Shippensburg's Andrew Koser tried to score from third when a throw short hopped Bixler and rolled to the screen near the West York dugout on the third-base side. Bixler alertly retrieved the ball and fired it to Prego, who covered the plate. Prego tagged out a sliding Koser. The play allowed the Bulldogs to maintain their slim 1-0 lead.

"We reversed roles, I was blocking the plate," Prego said.

Prego's team opened the scoring in the third when Brandon Wetzel's two-out single to center scored James from second base. James opened the inning by drawing a walk and moved to second on Rauhauser's sacrifice bunt.

The Bulldogs tacked on two more runs in the fourth. Designated hitter Logan Stover started things by drawing a walk, and Sam Eyler entered as a courtesy runner for Stover. Eyler took second on Bixler's sacrifice bunt and raced to third on Brett Kinneman's deep fly to center field.

Eyler took a sizeable lead off third, and then, broke for the plate with Carson Fries at bat. Eyler's gamble paid off as he completed the steal of home by crossing the plate before a Shippensburg player could apply a tag.

Fries kept the inning alive with a single, and following a walk to Andrew Copeland, Chase James drilled a two-out RBI single.

James, the No. 9-hitter, added another single in the seventh to complete an impressive line for the day: two at bats, two runs, two hits, one RBI.

"My success has come in swinging early in the at-bat," said James who was 2-for-3 with two RBIs in Monday's 4-3 triumph over Northeastern. "As a team, we usually come through in the clutch (with hits)."

Bulldogs' head coach Roger Czerwinski moved James down in the order to the nine hole three weeks ago.

"I like our No. 9 hitter to have speed, although it's not like Brandon Rauhauser (the former nine hitter) doesn't have speed," Czerwinski said.. "But, in that leadoff role, he (James) didn't feel comfortable."

James and Brandon Kinneman delivered hits in the seventh. (Kinneman's was a RBI single). Both runs the Bulldogs scored were unearned because of a two-out error.

West York needed the insurance runs in the seventh to hold off Shippensburg, which shaved a 5-1 deficit to 5-3 with two runs in its last at bat.

"Give credit to them sticking it to us in the seventh inning," Czerwinski said. "That's a quality team."

James and Fries each had two hits for the Bulldogs, and Justin Pyne and Brady Barnhart produced two hits for the Greyhounds.

West York will carry a seven-game winning streak into Tuesday's contest.

"This next game (the district semifinal) is the game we lost last year," Czerwinski said. "Their (Greencastle's) record is similar to ours."

West York is 16-7, and Greencastle is 13-7.

Note: The Bulldogs' coaches and players are inviting their fans to attend Monday morning's practice (10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.) at Sunset Lane Park. Light refreshments will be available.

OTHER BASEBALL

DALLASTOWN 7, WAYNESBORO 0: At Dillsburg, the Wildcats dominated the Indians in a District 3-AAAA quarterfinal contest.

The game was called in the seventh inning because of rain. The outcome was official.

The 14th-seeded Wildcats (13-8) now advance to Tuesday's semifinals, when they will face No. 15 seed Exeter (16-7). Exeter beat No. 10 seed Chambersburg on Thursday, 4-1. The site and time for Tuesday's semifinal has yet to be announced.

Chambersburg finished at 14-8, while No. 6 seed Waynesboro finished at 17-4-1.

Tyler Butcher pitched a complete game, four-hitter for Dallastown. He struck out four and didn't walk any.

Tanner Forry had three hits, including a double, to lead Dallastown's 15-hit attack. Zach Luman, Nick Sutton, Kevin Ludwig, Tom Golden and Brandon Yurek each added two hits for the winners. Luman tripled and Golden doubled. Ludwig had two RBIs.

YORK CATHOLIC 11, HIGH POINT 1: At Mechanicsburg, the Fighting Irish rolled into the District 3-A championship game.

In two district games, the Irish have now outscored their opponents, 28-3.

York Catholic will now face either Lancaster County Christian or Newport in the district finals on Wednesday at Sovereign Bank Stadium.

Lancaster Country Christian was leading Newport 7-4 in the other semifinal when that game was suspended by rain. It will be resumed from the point of the suspension at 4 p.m. Friday at Creekview Park in Mechanicsburg.

In the first game at Creekview on Thursday, the No. 2 seed Irish (12-8) had no trouble with No. 3 seed High Point (14-3). The game was ended in the bottom of the fifth inning because of the 10-run mercy rule.

Erich Hartman went the distance on the mound to get the win, allowing just three hits. He struck out six and walked four. He also had two hits at the plate.

York Catholic was helped by eight walks and three errors from High Point. York also stole six bases.

Doug Mills had two hits, two runs scored and two stolen bases for the winners, while Jake Krevetski scored three runs. Matt McKim had a two-run single and Pat Clement had an RBI double.

-- Reach Dick VanOlinda at dvanolinda@yorkdispatch.com.