DOVER -- There was no way that Dover starting pitcher Kevin Decker was going to allow Glen Rock slugger Mason Heyne to beat him.
Heyne already owned a pair of doubles off Decker when he stepped to the plate with the tying run on second and two outs in the sixth. Decker decided to stay away from the fastball.
After throwing a slider over the plate for a called strike, Decker threw another and got Heyne to ground into an inning-ending forceout to preserve a one-run lead.
Decker's teammate, Chris Bubb, then gave the right-hander the big hit he needed in the bottom of the frame. Bubb battled Glen Rock starter Dan Rogers through a five-pitch at-bat with the bases loaded before clubbing a grand slam that propelled his team
Dover's victory, combined with Mount Wolf's 4-0 victory over Manchester and Stoverstown's 2-1 triumph over Jefferson, have made a tight Central League race even tighter. Stoverstown now leads the league at 14-8, followed by Manchester (13-8), Dover (12-8) and Glen Rock (13-9). All four teams are within one game of the top spot.
While Bubb's blast removed any doubts about the outcome, it was Decker's gutsy pitching against Heyne that may have ultimately saved the day.
"Decker said he had one batter left," Dover catcher Patrick Moriarty said. "We know that (Heyne) is a great hitter, so we stuck with the off-speed, hopefully keeping it low, and it worked out OK there."
Dover manager Kevin Raber praised Decker's consistency. The right-hander allowed seven hits and four walks in pitching six strong innings.
"Kevin Decker has pitched extremely well," Raber said. "He's got out of a lot of jams. I told him to make them hit your pitch and obviously that's what he did."
Any hopes that the visitors had of pulling off a last-inning rally were dashed when Bubb sent 1-2 pitch well over the fence in right field. Bubb ripped the preceding pitch off the right field fence, but just in foul territory, which drew a conference on the mound between Rogers and Glen Rock catcher Dan Rhodes.
"Dan knows me," Bubb said. "We played forever against each other over the years. I figured they'd try to go high with a change-up. He gets me out with change-ups, but he came back with the same pitch. It had a little spin ... it was off-speed and it was the same exact pitch."
Bubb's blast, the first grand slam of his career, turned a tight contest into a comfortable lead with one swing of the bat.
The irony of it all was that Raber asked Bubb, his No. 2 guy in the lineup, to sacrifice bunt in his previous at-bat.
"When he bunted before he said, 'I didn't really want to bunt,'" Raber said. "He said 'I felt like I was on him and I want another at-bat.' Well, he got the at-bat and he came through."
Bubb and his teammates were eager to gain a measure of revenge against Rogers, who threw a no-hitter against them back on Memorial Day. Moriarty ended any thoughts of another no-no when he clubbed a 1-1 pitch over the fence in right in the second.
"I said to the guys before the game, 'let's not let him no-hit us again,'" Bubb said. "And we got that out of the way early."
Moriarty, who's in his third year with the club, has solidified the Dover lineup with his presence. In addition to his homer, he ripped a pair of doubles to finish the night 3-for-3.
"He's unbelievable," Bubb said. "He smashes every pitch that he sees."
Karl Lamonte gave up a leadoff hit in the seventh, but struck out the side to cap the victory.
Bryan Procopio and Heyne led Glen Rock with two hits apiece.
OTHER CENTRAL LEAGUE GAMES
STOVERSTOWN 2, JEF FERSON 1: At Stoverstown, J.W. Besore's one-out RBI single scored Austin Botts from second in the bottom of the sixth to break a 1-1 tie and give the home team the lead for good.
Botts started the rally with a one-out single and moved to second on a wild pitch. For the game, Botts went 2-for-3, while T.J. Thomas picked up a complete-game victory, striking out three, walking four and allowing two singles. For Jefferson, Dave Walker threw a complete game, striking out three and walking none. Stoverstown improved to 14-8 and moved into first place. Stoverstown has won three in a row.
MOUNT WOLF 4, MAN CHESTER 0: At Manchester, Dan Dierdorff led the visitors by pitching a shutout.
Dierdorff struck out 11, walked none, and only allowed one single. Mark Burnside provided the offense, going 2-for-4, including one run scored. Mount Wolf improved to 11-10. Manchester fell to 13-8 and dropped out of first place.
SHILOH 3, PLEASURE VILLE 2: At Pleasureville, Joe Prego pitched a complete-game five-hitter to lead Shiloh, striking out four and walking five.
Evan Heidlebaugh also pitched a complete game in defeat, allowing four hits, striking out three and walking two. Heidlebaugh also drove in two runs. Ryan Stough homered and drove in two runs for Shiloh.
SUSQUEHANNA LEAGUE GAMES
RED LION 3, YORK TOWNSHIP 0: At Red Lion, Daryl Harang led the home team by pitching a shutout, striking out six, walking none and allowing four singles.
Nolan Myers went 2-for-3 for Red Lion. For York Township, Micah Striebig went 3-for-3 and pitcher Casey Markey threw a complete game, striking out three and walking none. Red Lion improved to 10-6, while York Township fell to 13-8.
HALLAM 5, EAST PROSPECT 1: At East Prospect, Shawn Hedrick's complete-game victory led the visitors.
Hedrick struck out seven and walked one. Ryan Poff went 2-for-3 for the winners, including a double, with two RBIs. For East Prospect, Ryky Smith went 2-for-3, including a double, while D.J. Ream went 2-for-3. East Prospect starting pitcher Paul Giulio went four innings and allowed only one earned run, while relief pitcher Josh Lantz threw three shutout innings. First-place Hallam improved to 15-5, while East Prospect fell to 10-10.
CONRADS 5, STE WARTSTOWN 1: At Stewartstown, the visitors plated four runs in the top of the eighth to break a 1-1 deadlock.
Kerry Clark threw a complete game for Conrads in picking up the victory, striking out none and walking one. For Stewartstown, Greg Sieling went 3-for-3. Conrads improved to 14-6, while Stewartstown fell to 8-15.
SUBURBAN YORK 5, GLEN ROCK 4: At Glen Rock, the visitors plated the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh to take the lead for good.
Tanner Martin led the visitors, going 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Also for Suburban, Mark Strine went 2-for-4, including a double, with two runs scored, and Jake Kitting went 2-for-4. Relief pitcher Ryan Myers pitched shutout baseball in the final two innings to secure the win. For Glen Rock, Sammy Miller went 2-for-3, while Connor Hood went 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Suburban York finished at 4-11, while Glen Rock fell to 8-5-1.
SOUTH WESTERN 3, SPRING GROVE 2: At Hanover, Chris Mills threw a complete-game two-hitter, striking out six, to lead South Western.
Jimmy O'Boyle had a two-run double for South Western, which overcame four errors to earn the win. South Western improved to 10-4, while Spring Grove fell to 9-5.
STEWARTSTOWN 6, WRIGHTSVILLE 2: At Stewartstown, Matt Belt pitched a complete-game four-hitter to lead the winners.
Stewartstown's Chris Reuter was 2-for-3 with a run scored. Mike Dunn pitched a complete-game seven-hitter for Wrightsville. Stewartstown improved to 8-6, while Wrightsville fell to 9-4-1.
-- Reach Ryan Vander sloot at sports@yorkdis patch.com.