RED LION — Monday evening's baseball battle between Red Lion and Central York was very much a tale of two teams headed in opposite directions.
Just a week after the Panthers scored a victory over the Lions to extend their winning streak to seven games, the clubs have reversed course. Central entered the contest on a two-game skid, while the Lions haven't lost since.
And thanks to a big game from Mike Godfrey, Red Lion was able to make up some ground in the York-Adams League Division I standings.
Godfrey smacked a two-run homer in the fourth inning to put his team ahead for good. And just for good measure, the center fielder added a two-run single as part of a nine-run fifth to help the Lions to a 12-2 triumph on a wet and cold night under the lights at Horn Field.
Red Lion improved to 7-4 overall and 7-3 in the division, while Central dropped a half-game behind the Lions at 6-3 in the division (8-6 overall). Spring Grove leads the division at 7-2.
"This was two completely different teams," Red Lion coach Darren Hake said. "The team we took over there (last week) and the team tonight. We talked about intensity. And I told the guys that it can't be on me, it's on you guys. And they have just come out and you hear them. They're loud and into the game. It's awesome."
After the Lions took the lead in the bottom of the first, the visitors evened things up in the third. Ryan Crum singled to right and moved to third on a fielding error by the right fielder, which allowed Walker Montieth to score. Crum was stranded when Red Lion starter Brian Lauer induced a groundout to third on a bang-bang play at first to retire the side.
That set the stage for Godfrey, who was upset after fouling out in the first inning. After Brady Taylor walked and stole second, Godfrey belted a line drive over the left fielder's head. The turf and slick surface at Horn Field allowed Godfrey to motor all the way around the bases to put the Lions ahead 3-1.
"That was a very, very big hit," Hake said. "And the funny thing is that he was so frustrated after his first at-bat. He asked me, 'coach, can I hit balls off the tee?' and I said, 'yeah, go ahead.' So he hit some balls of the tee and then came out and just drove the baseball."
A sacrifice fly off the bat of Dan Sepic cut the lead to 3-2 in the top of the fifth, but Lauer got Montieth on a called third strike to end the frame.
That brought on a deluge of runs in the bottom of the fifth. The Lions sent 14 batters to the plate in the inning. The first 11 reached via either a single (six) or walk (five). The game was called after Drew Landis hit into a fielder's choice ground out to plate the 12th run, invoking the 10-run mercy rule.
"This was big," Godfrey said. "It is super exciting to come out and do this."
The Lions still have games against Dallastown (the resumption of a suspended contest) and South Western before what could be a showdown against Spring Grove. Hake knows his team can't look ahead to that game. One slip-up could render Monday's victory meaningless.
"I don't want to say that is a huge game, because we have some big games before that," Hake said. "For this game to matter, we have to win those games first. Our focus is that we have to play Dallastown (Tuesday) because that's just as big."
Lauer held the Panthers to just five hits while striking out four to pick up the victory. Central's Adam Reed collected two of those hits to lead the Panthers.
Red Lion collected nine hits off of three different Central pitchers. Godfrey, Austin Taylor (triple and single) and Landis (two singles) combined for six of those hits.
Susquehannock 6, Littlestown 0: At Glen Rock, Alec Lebo got the win, pitching six innings of three-hit shutout ball. Connor Hood finished off the shutout. Bryan Kerr had two hits and two runs scored for the winners, while Luke Knott had two hits and one run scored. Sammy Miller tripled and scored two runs, while Josh Houser doubled, scored a run and drove in a run. Hood also doubled. Susquehannock improved to 12-1 overall and 10-0 in York-Adams Division III. Littlestown fell to 10-4 and 7-4. Susquehannock has won 12 straight.
Bermudian Springs 17, York Suburban 7: At York Springs, the Eagles plated 11 fifth-inning runs to erase a 7-6 Suburban lead and invoke the 10-run mercy rule. Aaron Spahr had four hits for Bermudian, while Derek Starner and Toby Sponseller added three RBIs each. Jackson Marshall had three hits and three RBIs for Suburban.
Delone Catholic 18, York Tech 2: At Spry, Dalton Haymaker led the Squires, going 3-for-3 at the plate, including a double, to go with four RBIs and two runs scored. Devon Craig and Austin Roth each had two hits Delone. The game was ended after four innings because of the 15-run mercy rule. With the win, Delone improved to 12-3 overall and 10-0 in York-Adams Division IV. The Squires have clinched at least a share of the division title.
West York 10, Kennard-Dale 0: At Fawn Grove, Brett Kinneman led the Bulldogs by going 3-for-5, including a double and a triple, with three runs scored. Also for West York, Cash Gladfelter went 2-for-2, including a double; Andrew Copeland went 2-for-3 with a double; Brandon Wetzel went 2-for-3; Chase James hit a three-run homer; and pitchers Brandyn Smith and Logan Ward struck out a combined 10 batters. West York improved to 10-0 in York-Adams Division II and 12-1 overall.
York Catholic 8, Fairfield 2: At Fairfield, Jake Krevetski pitched a complete-game three-hitter to get the win. He struck out 13 and also belted a double at the plate. Patrick Clement had three doubles for the winners, while Clint Bohn doubled and homered and scored three runs. Austin Ford homered for Fairfield.
Dallastown 11, South Western 5: At Dallastown, Tye Golden led the home team, going 2-for-3, including a three-run homer. Also for the Wildcats, Tommy Golden went 2-for-4, including a double, while Max Nail went 2-for-4 with two RBIs. For the Mustangs, Matt Taylor and Reed McCaster each had two hits.
New Oxford 7, Northeastern 6: At Manchester, Corban Czap (2-for-3) and Aaron Palmer (2-for-4, double) led the Colonials' offense. For the Bobcats, Adam Kipp went 2-for-2, including a double, with three RBIs.
— Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.