The Northeastern and Pleasureville American Legion baseball teams entered Monday's contest having playing 30 league games between them.
None of the previous contests, though, compared to the latest one.
The meeting on Monday was win-or-go-home.
The winning team would move on to the York-Adams playoff tournament to take on top-seeded Spring Grove, while the losing team would have to pack up the equipment until next season. Both teams finished 8-6-1 in the regular season and tied for the league's eighth-and-final playoff spot, necessitating Monday's special playoff game.
Since the teams tied 7-7 during the regular season, it was no surprise that Monday's game turned out to be a tense, down-to-the-last-batter
Northeastern pitcher Josh Writer, who dueled with Pleasureville's Tyler Lingg, punched his team's ticket to the playoffs by striking out the last hitter he faced to give Northeastern a 4-3 victory. There were runners on first and second in the top of the seventh when Writer delivered his fifth strikeout of the game.
"I don't worry when there's guys on base," Writer said. "I just let my teammates back me up. It feels good to win this game."
Writer issued three walks, one intentional, and yielded six hits. Lingg, meanwhile, gave up seven hits while striking out four and walking three.
"Josh is our workhorse," Northeastern manager Mark Sargen said. "He's good for 150 pitches. (Writer threw 100 on Monday). It could be 100 degrees out there, and I don't worry about Josh.
"I thought Lingg did a great job for Pleasureville, too. Four to three, it could have gone either way."
Northeastern turned the game in its favor with a three-run third inning that erased a 2-1 deficit.
Jordan Ely's single combined with a walk and an error loaded the bases with no outs.
Eric Richards then
Richards also batted in his team's first run with a groundout.
"I never usually do that kind of stuff," Richards said. "Finally I had a good game today. It was kind of intense (in the third inning) because the bases were loaded. I knew I had to put contact on the ball."
Ely and Shimkus each had two hits for the winners.
Kyle Shifflet turned in an outstanding offensive performance for Pleasureville by going 3-for-3 (with two doubles) and driving in two runs.
"It was a great ballgame," Pleasureville manager Mike Rentzel said. "We had our opportunities, but we didn't cash enough of them."
Pleasureville stranded seven runners.
Despite the setback, Rentzel was extremely pleased with the effort.
"This is probably one of the best games we played all year," he said. "We're young (two college players and two 2012 high school graduates), but we battled. We also showed something by winning six out of the last eight."
Dick VanOlinda is a sportswriter for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at dvanolin email@example.com or at 505-5407.