RED LION - There aren't many similarities between this year's Red Lion baseball team and the previous four versions that won Susquehanna League regular-season titles.
Manager Jim Dennes' club hasn't been atop the league standings throughout the year, which had been the case the past few championship seasons. Dennes also hasn't been able to field the same lineup on many occasions, and the team's record has suffered somewhat as a result.
However, with nearly all of his players back in tow, the defending champions put themselves in position to reclaim the crown after a dominant performance Tuesday evening.
The home team rallied back from an early hole, sparked by Daryl Harang's three-run double,
The victory improved Red Lion's record to 23-7 on the season with six games remaining. But more importantly, the setback also dropped Conrads to 26-8 with just two games left. Red Lion now actually has a one-game lead in the loss column, but trail overall by one game.
"It's always interesting," Enoch said after going the distance while fanning nine. "Every game counts so you have to bring your 'A' game."
After Conrads scored single runs in the first and third innings, the hosts finally broke out against Conrads starter Kerry Clark. A single by John Wilt, a double from Darren Hake and a single by Shaun Corso loaded the bases for Harang. The former York Revolution starter showed that he can also rake with the bat, blasting a ball to the center-field fence, putting the home team ahead 3-2. Harang scored later in the inning on a Joe Doyle single.
"He's just a great guy to have on the team," Enoch said of his first baseman. "He just has a positive attitude and he never gets down."
After Conrads cut the deficit to 4-3 on an Anthony Ferrell single, Red Lion extended the lead in the fourth. An error, three walks and a
The home team put the contest away with a four-run sixth in which it batted around.
"Tonight was definitely a good win," said a smiling Dennes. "But we're not done yet."
That's probably the understatement of the year. Red Lion will play three full contests over the next four nights, in addition to completing two previously suspended tilts with Windsor.
Red Lion will turn to Enoch again Wednesday night against the Cardinals. The teams are slated to resume a 2-2 contest from the top of the 11th inning.
The urgency of the team's remaining contests isn't lost on Dennes.
"We have got to win out," he said. "We have got to win out in order to win this title."
Enoch, who threw over 100 pitches Tuesday, will get the ball to start the 11th against Windsor in what he called a "do-or-die" battle. Pitch counts, however, aren't a worry for the hard-throwing right-hander.
"It hurts every once in a while, but if I can throw, I'll throw," he said. "For the most part, I'm mostly a second-day soreness guy, so tomorrow I should be all right."
Brandon Miller collected two (single, triple) of Conrads' six hits off Enoch. Red Lion's Wilt, Corso and Doyle each rapped out multiple hits as part of an 11-hit attack for the home team.
OTHER SUSQUEHANNA LEAGUE GAMES
YORK TOWNSHIP 7, WINDSOR 4, NINE IN NINGS: At Windsor, Township plated three runs in the ninth to win it, sparked by a solo homer by Mike Wokulich and an RBI single by Derek Pitzer. Wokulich (2-for-4, double, three RBIs), Joel Buchko (4-for-5, three runs, one RBI), Dan Westfall (2-for-5, RBI) and Pitzer (2-for-4, RBI) led the Township offense. Former major leaguer Mark Hendrickson came on in the eighth to get the win, striking out four without allowing a walk. Windsor was paced by Rick Thompson (3-for-5), Shawn Wilson (4-for-5, homer, three RBIs), Chris Stoudt (2-for-5) and Chris Liggitt (2-for-4).
HALLAM 8, STE WARTSTOWN 4: Hallam starting pitcher Mark Sheckard dazzled on the mound by holding Stewartstown to four runs, one earned, on seven hits with three strikeouts and one walk to pick up the win. Teammates Joe Pietrobone (2-for-4, RBI), Jason Seitz (2-for-3, run scored) and Jon Benchich (1-for-3, three RBIs) led Hallam at the plate. Jere Preston (2-for-3, RBI, run) paced Stewartstown.
COLUMBIA 4, FELTON 3: Felton starting pitcher Dalton Miller surrendered just six hits in a complete game effort, but he took the loss when he gave up the deciding run to visiting Columbia in the seventh. Glen Dietrich (3-for-4, RBI, run) and Brad Lloyd (2-for-3, two RBIs, run) paced Felton. Felton scored a pair of runs in the first inning to take an early 2-0 lead and added a run in the third to go ahead 3-0 before being held scoreless the rest of the way. Josh Wagner (2-for-4, RBI) led Columbia with a homer and a double.
JACOBUS 13, EAST PROSPECT 5: At East Prospect, the visitors got big offensive games from Josh Hildebrand (two runs, homer, three RBIs), Christopher Farscht (two hits, run, homer, three RBIs), Brian Crimmel (two hits, two runs, double, RBI), Andrew Kelley (two hits, two runs, RBI), Nathan Kopp (two hits, run, RBI) and Alex Tucci (two hits, two runs, double, RBI). Tucci also got the win on the mound, going four innings and allowing two earned runs. He struck out four and walked one. Matt Ruth pitched three innings of relief and didn't allow a run. He fanned three and walked one. Matthew Witmer had two hits for Prospect, including a double, while Ryan Saxman had two RBIs.
-- Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdis patch.com.