MOUNT WOLF -- For six innings on Tuesday evening, Mount Wolf's Dan Dierdorff and Dover's Kevin Decker took turns frustrating hitters.
Neither pitcher would give in as they rang up one scoreless inning after another. Dierdorff continued his brilliance in the top of the seventh, and when his teammates broke through for the game's only run in the bottom of the seventh, the Wolves secured their seventh straight win.
Mount Wolf improved to 12-10, and Dover, which defeated the Wolves in three previous meetings this season, slipped to 13-9.
"He (Decker) threw really well," Dierdorff said. "He kept us off balance. It was a good ballgame to watch."
Decker wasn't overpowering (two strikeouts), but kept the shutout intact by scattering two hits over the first six innings.
Dierdorff, meanwhile, showcased the skills that enabled him to compete at college's highest level at West Virginia University. The former Northeastern High School star used a fastball, changeup and slider to rack up nine strikeouts. He allowed just two hits, and both were infield singles. Dierdorff got stronger as the game went on, racking up six of his strikeouts in the last three innings. The right hander struck out the side in the fifth.
"I got into a good rhythm in the third or fourth inning," he said. "We're playing very well right now. I grew up on Second Street (in Mount Wolf), and I'm having a blast playing with these young kids."
One of the young kids, Devin Blymire, who will be a sophomore at Northeastern in the fall, delivered the game-winning hit with two outs. The 16-year-old Blymire jumped on the first pitch and singled to right field to score Devin Dellinger from third base. Dellinger walked to start the seventh, took second on Kevin Kurilla's single and moved to third when Cody Santiago was retired on a groundout.
"I knew he (Decker) was going to throw me a first-pitch fastball," Blymire said. "Danny (Dierdorff) is a very good pitcher, and he deserved the win."
Blymire is in his first season with the Wolves.
"Coach (Andy) Srebroski who coaches our JV team (at Northeastern) told me I should come out for this team," he said.
Kurilla, one of the team's veterans, was the only player in the game with two hits.
Dierdorff, meanwhile, lowered Mount Wolf's earned-run average, which was an impressive 2.94 before the game.
"Our pitching has been tremendous all year," Wolves' manager Tim Brenner said. "Their kid pitched really well, and Danny Dierdorff was doing his thing for us."
The short-handed Wolves took their lumps early in the season, but the recent hot streak propelled them into the heart of the pennant race.
"I had to play three games when we had only nine guys," Brenner said. "I'm 50 years old. We started the season trying to rebuild, and now we're right in this thing."
The loss was a tough one for Dover, which won a one-run game against Manchester on Monday.
"I knew we weren't going to score much off Dierdorff," Dover manager Kevin Raber said. "Kevin matched him pitch for pitch for six innings. Kevin's been pitching like that all year. I feel bad for Kevin, but it was a great game."
OTHER CENTRAL LEAGUE GAMES
STOVERSTOWN 7, PLEASUREVILLE 1: At Stoverstown, the home team plated four runs in the top of the second to take an early lead and went on to capture the victory.
J.W. Besore led the home team, going 2-for-2, including a double, with two runs scored and one RBI. Stoverstown pitchers Phil Lehman, Kyle Wildasin and Levi Krause combined to allow just four hits and one run. Four of Stoverstown's seven runs were unearned. For Pleasureville, Travis Shaffer went 2-for-3 with one RBI. First-place Stoverstown (15-8) has won four straight.
JEFFERSON 6, SHILOH 4 (8 INNINGS): At Shiloh, the visitors plated two runs in the top of the eighth to take the lead and capture the victory.
Andrew Hershey picked up the victory, pitching the final inning in relief. He struck out two and walked two. Teammate Steve Porter started the game and threw seven innings, striking out seven and walking four. For Shiloh, Ryan Stough doubled twice, while Jacob Molison went 2-for-3. The winning run in the eighth scored on a Shiloh miscue. The home team tied the game in the bottom of the seventh, scoring two runs, to send the game into extra innings.
MANCHESTER 4, GLEN ROCK 4: The game was suspended because of darkness with the teams tied after eight innings and will be completed at a later date.
-- Reach Dick VanOlinda at dvanolinda@yorkdis patch.com.