A few days ago, if you asked most York-Adams American Legion baseball fans which York County team would be unbeaten after the first two days of Region IV action, the answer likely would've been nearly unanimous.
Spring Grove, the York-Adams regular-season and playoff champ, would've been the response from most local fans.
Baseball, however, is a funny game.
After getting trounced in the league title game by Spring Grove last Wednesday, Glen Rock seemed to be anything but a contender for the region title. With the availability of a couple of players questionable, the safe money was certainly on Spring Grove, the defending Region IV champ.
With a couple of days to rest and nearly a full roster of key players available, Coach Mike Miller's club has suddenly turned into a favorite for the title. After playing solid in knocking off Fredericksburg Saturday, Glen Rock played another clean and tidy contest against Lancaster champ Ephrata Sunday at Wenger Field in Fredericksburg, Lebanon County.
A two-run fifth inning, spurred on by Ephrata errors, put Miller's club ahead and ahead they would stay. Behind a strong start by Connor Hood, Glen Rock cruised to a 5-1 triumph.
Glen Rock (14-8) will face Hummelstown, a 5-4 winner over Spring Grove, at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Wenger Field in a winners' bracket contest.
"I think it is surprising that we're at this point," Miller said. "In the county tournament we were playing with nine or 10 guys and guys were on vacation and stuff like that. It was just a tough time of year. But they've just done an outstanding job pulling together and playing to get through, and to win two games in the (Region IV) tournament, I would say is pleasantly surprising."
Hood, who went the distance to pick up the victory, helped himself with a two-run single in the sixth inning to push the Glen Rock lead to 5-0. The only run he allowed came in the sixth, but he stranded runners on second and third to end that frame.
After that, it was all smooth sailing for Hood and company.
"He never really got into too much trouble," Miller said. "He threw a lot of strikes and just did a great job."
After two solid starts — one by his son, Sam, on Saturday and then by Hood Sunday — Miller will turn the ball over to one of his most reliable starters Monday. Josh Houser, who pitched in the York-Adams League title game for Susquehannock in high school ball, is coming off an impressive victory over Hanover in the York-Adams Legion tournament, a contest that helped clinch a Region IV berth.
Hummelstown 5, Spring Grove 4: No lead is exactly safe against Spring Grove and Coach Sam Becker's club almost pulled off another remarkable comeback against Hummelstown in a winners' bracket showdown.
Hummelstown (22-1) raced out to a 5-0 lead with the help of some uncharacteristically shaky Spring Grove defense, but had to hang on late when Becker's club mounted a comeback. Levi Krause drove in Nick Spangler in the eighth inning to cut the deficit to four before Spring Grove rallied again in the ninth against Hummelstown starter Cole Backenstose.
"(Backenstose) pitched well," Becker said. "He pitched to contact. He didn't have anything great. He kept the ball down, threw strikes and I think we got a little anxious and didn't wait for a good pitch against him, especially in the middle innings."
A couple of one-out singles in the ninth ended Backenstose's night. Kevin Kulina retired the first batter he faced before a RBI double by Austin Hunt made it a 5-2 contest. An error allowed another run to score before Krause singled in Devin Fisher to make it 5-4.
With the tying run on third with two outs, however, reliever Blair Lewis got Will Maughlin to ground out to second to end the contest.
"The boys battled," Becker said. "But we basically gave the game to them. It was very uncharacteristic of us. I think we had (three) errors and a base-running blunder and those came back to haunt us."
Spring Grove starter Cody Kauffman went the distance, the second complete-game effort of the tournament for the club. Kauffman allowed just seven hits and two walks over nine innings.
"Cody threw really well today," Becker said. "He threw great, really. If we wouldn't have had so many errors we probably would have won."
Kauffman was hurt by a two-out error in the eighth that allowed the fifth run to score. Combined with a base-running miscue when Dalton Hoiles was picked off second by Hummelstown catcher Deon Stafford and Kauffman's fate could very well have been different.
Now the York-Adams champs (20-2) will have to play perfect if they hope to advance to the state tournament. Spring Grove will battle Shippensburg in an elimination contest at 1 p.m. Monday with the season on the line. Becker will turn to Hoiles to extend his club's season, and he expects the right-hander to continue his team's string of strong pitching performances.
"That was definitely one of our worst games defensively all year," Becker said. "But I don't plan on changing much. I was planning on starting Dalton and we're just going to have to take it a game at a time now. We still have plenty of pitching ... it was huge to have two complete games by our two pitchers. So hopefully (Monday) Dalton will go out and shut them down."
Conrads 6, Felton 0: At Conrads, Brandon Miller and Danny Zeigler combined on a five-hit shutout for Conrads. Miller struck out five without a walk. Zeigler came on in the sixth. Devin Gohn went the distance for Conrads, striking out six and walking two. Joe Yourgal went 4-for-4 with two RBIs to lead Conrads' offense. Glenn Dietrich (2-for-3, run) and Nick Root (2-for-4, run) also excelled at the plate for the winners, who scored all of their runs in the fifth inning. Zeke Ottemiller and Barak Gohn each had two hits for Felton.
Felton 3, Conrads 2: In the completion of a suspended game, Felton scored in the top of the 10th to grab the 10-inning win at Conrads. Zeke Ottemiller (3-for-6, RBI), Steve Ahlbrandt (2-for-4, run, walk, double, two RBIs) and Brady Taylor (2-for-4, two runs, walk) led Felton's eight-hit attack. Ahlbrandt also got the win on the mound in relief. He came on in the ninth and struck out four and walked two. Jackson Marshall homered for Conrads
East Prospect 5, Stewartstown 4: At East Prospect, Terry Godfrey pitched a complete-game eight-hitter to get the eight-inning win. He struck out seven and walked two. Stewartstown scored a run in the top of the eighth, but Prospect scored twice in the bottom of the eighth to walk off with the win. Ryan Saxman (two hits, RBI, run), Josh Lantz (two hits, run), Clayton Miller (hit, two RBIs) and Matt Witmer (hit, two runs) paced the Prospect offense. Marcus Stevenson (two hits, homer, three RBIs, one run), Adam Allshouse (two hits, run), Craig Martin (two hits) and Justin Sommer (double, RBI, run) led Stewartstown.
— Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.