HERSHEY -- West York's baseball team didn't have to deal with a loss very often this season.
When the rare setback did occur, the Bulldogs knew how to respond: they bounced back with a victory.
The York-Adams League champions will have to do that one more time, on Thursday, if they don't want their season to come to an end.
West York (19-4) will take on another York County team, Northern (18-6), in the District 3 Class AAA third-place game. The winner of the contest (4 p.m. at Hershey) will advance to the state tournament. The loser will have to pack the gear away until next season.
"One of the things we preach is don't hang your head," Bulldogs' coach Roger Czerwinski said after his team lost, 7-2, to Twin Valley in a district semifinal game on Wednesday. "We haven't lost two in a row all year, knock on wood. We just have to come up here and play our game."
Twin Valley beat West York at its own game to snap the Bulldogs' eight-game winning streak.
"They were running and stealing like we do," Czerwinski said. "They did a nice job of making the plays and getting the guys in. I thought we put ourselves in good position to score runs, but we didn't get it done. All year, we relied on getting it done."
The Bulldogs had baserunners in every inning but one against Twin Valley pitching star Jared Price, but they left eight of them on base. West York also had two runners picked off, one time with the bases loaded. Price, who earned a scholarship to the University of Maryland, allowed six hits. He struck out 10 and walked five.
"I was told he's a third-round draft pick," Czerwinski said. "The (radar) gun had him throwing at 94 or 95 (mph). We knew he would walk some guys, but we weren't able to capitalize. I thought he did a nice job."
Price also helped his own cause with three hits, a double and two singles.
West York scored both of its runs off the right-hander in the bottom of the second. Cole Bixler, a sophomore, had the big blow, a RBI double which carried over the left-fielder's head and rolled up against the fence.
"I didn't think it was going out," Bixler said. "I was just trying to hit the ball hard. I was trying to motivate my team. Trying to get a hit and get a rally going."
The Bulldogs needed a rally after Twin Valley scored six runs in its first two at bats. Travis Royer jump started a five-run second for the Berks County team by belting a homer to left-center field. Izzack Albright also homered for the Raiders. Albright's blast to right-center came in the sixth.
West York pitcher Brandon Kinneman, after a rocky start, settled in and pitched very well in the third, fourth and fifth innings. Joe Prego relieved Kinneman in the sixth. Kinneman struck out eight and walked four. Relying on off-speed stuff, the left-hander fanned eight of 12 during one stretch.
"He (Kinneman) came back and battled," Czerwinski said. "We found a different off-speed pitch which worked, and we hit some different spots and locations. I don't know if I would call the exact same pitches (in the first and second innings) if I had to do it over again. But, I can tell you this. If we start the game over again, I still put Brandon on the mound. He's carried us a lot."
Bulldogs ace Kaden Hepler will get the ball in Thursday's elimination game. The right-hander has an NCAA Division I scholarship to Winthrop (S.C.) College.
"Northern, they're the state champion from last year, and they have most of their horses back," Czerwinski said. "We have to come out with Kaden on the mound and make some things happen."
Bixler, who had a single to go with his double in Wednesday's game, is confident the Bulldogs' have the leadership to help them deal with the loss on Wednesday and have them prepared to play the Polar Bears on Thursday.
"South Western, we lost 7-3 to them, and we came back and won pretty good (a 12-4 victory over Spring Grove)," he said. "It happens where you don't get a win. It' a new day tomorrow, and we have to try and come out and get a win."
-- Reach Dick VanO linda at dvanolin firstname.lastname@example.org or 505-5407.