GLEN ROCK — It was only a few years ago when Matt Gonzalez was one of the young guys on the Glen Rock pitching staff.
My how things have changed.
Just 31, "Gonzo" is now the veteran of the bunch. While no longer a youngster in comparison to his teammates, Gonzalez proved Wednesday night, against rival Mount Wolf, that he still has what it takes to win.
The right-hander allowed nine hits, but struck out seven while holding the Wolves to just a pair of runs.
His Glen Rock teammates made that hold up by striking for three runs in the second inning. "The Rock" improved to 14-2 with a 3-2 Central League victory.
"Yeah, I guess I'm one of the old guys now," said Gonzalez, who threw 122 pitches in the triumph. "But it's been a lot of fun and I'm just glad that I get to be a part of it."
Glen Rock manager Marty Heyne knows what he's getting when he gives "Gonzo" the ball for a contest.
"Gonzo is a bulldog," Heyne said. "He's emotional. When he gets in between the lines he gives it 100 percent."
Gonzalez flirted with trouble a few times, especially in the last two frames. Leading 3-1, the right-hander loaded the bases with one out in the sixth. After a strikeout, he hit Dan Dierdorff with a pitch that cut the lead to 3-2. He was able to retire Nick Sprenkle on a line drive to right-fielder Josh Heyne to end the frame.
In the seventh, a pair of singles by Dustin Kuhn and Jesse Sargen created some late-inning suspense. A long fly out to center for the second out was followed by another long drive off the bat of Grant Myers. But as in the sixth, Josh Heyne was able to catch up with the ball near the fence in right to end the contest.
"I hadn't pitched since like the last week in May or the first week of June," Gonzalez said. "I thought I had pretty good stuff tonight, but obviously my control wasn't where I wanted it to be."
Gonzalez hit three batters and walked another.
The Wolves, who fell to 10-6-1, scored their only other run in the first on a two-out single by Sargen. They left 11 runners on base. A few more timely hits may have given Mount Wolf starter Adam Hoff a better fate. The veteran right-hander, nicknamed the "Hornet," doesn't overpower anyone, but surrendered just six hits. Exactly half of those hits came in a three-run second. A leadoff single by Mason Heyne was followed by a RBI single from Geoff Kimmel. After Josh Heyne doubled to put runners on second and third with no outs. A groundout and a sacrifice fly put "The Rock" ahead 3-1 before Hoff retired Troy Miller to end the frame.
"I thought we hit the ball hard a couple times, but give credit to the 'Hornet,'" Marty Heyne said. "He's got that junk-ball stuff. But he's a veteran ... a wily veteran. All of our guys just have to lay back. They were all talking about laying back and waiting."
It was a good night for the Heyne family, with cousins Josh and Mason playing together at Glen Rock for the first time in at least six years. With Gonzalez on the mound, it really was a little bit like the old days for the Central League leaders.
"Things just worked out," Marty Heyne said. "(Josh and Mason) hadn't played together in a long time, since they both went to college."
Kimmel collected two hits to lead Glen Rock, while Mount Wolf got two hits apiece from Sargen and Mark Burnside.
OTHER CENTRAL LEAGUE GAMES
Stoverstown 8, Pleasureville 1: At Stoverstown, Brandon Warner led the offense for the home team, belting a triple and a double to go with two runs scored and two RBIs. Also for Stoverstown, J.W. Besore went 2-for-2 with two RBIs, Austin Botts went 2-for-3 with two runs and one RBI, Eric Dowling had two RBIs and starting pitcher Cody Kauffman threw six innings, allowing no earned runs, to pick up the win. For Pleasureville, Les Castro doubled.
Manchester 6, Dover 3: At Dover, the visitors plated three runs in the top of the sixth to take a 5-0 lead and went on to capture the victory. Jason Kelly led the visitors by going 2-for-4, including a solo homer in the seventh, while scoring two runs with one RBI. Also for Manchester, Josh Reeser went 2-for-4 with one run and one RBI, Dan Royer went 2-for-4 with one RBI and Mike Houseal threw a complete game, striking out one and walking one. For Dover, John Miller went 2-for-3, while Ross Drawbaugh, Colt Zarilla and Trent Raber each doubled. Dover starting pitcher Paul Rogerson threw six innings, striking out seven and walking three.
AMERICAN LEGION GAMES
Northeastern 11, Gettysburg 0 (6 Innings): At Gettysburg, Brady Dolan led the visitors by going 3-for-4, including a triple and a double, to go with two RBIs. Also for Northeastern, Stevie Miller went 2-for-3, including a double, with two RBIs; Trae Beyer had three RBIs; and Kenny Kopp threw a six-inning shutout, striking out four and walking none. The visitors' defense turned two double plays to help Kopp. The game was called after six innings because of the 10-run mercy rule. Northeastern finished league play at 16-1-0 and remains in first place.
Dallastown 5, New Oxford 4: At New Oxford, a three-run top of the sixth helped Dallastown overcome a 4-2 deficit. Tye Golden, Nick Schuler and Eric Morrison each had two-hit nights for Dallastown, while one of Golden's two base knocks was a triple. New Oxford scored all of its runs in the four-run fifth, erasing a 2-0 Dallastown lead. Devin Chesney and Corban Czap each had RBIs for New Oxford. Dallastown improved to 13-3.
Suburban York 1, Hanover 0: At Suburban, Thomas Merkle threw a shutout to lead the home team. Merkle struck out seven, walked one and allowed two hits. Teammate Brendon Delridge homered in the fifth. For Hanover, Jared Peterman threw a complete game, striking out nine and walking none.
Dover 11, Shiloh 5: At Shiloh, Steve Stoy led the visitors with a homer and a triple, while Joe Morrett went 4-for-5 Teammate Bryce Smith doubled and threw a complete game. For Shiloh, Rob Bertucio doubled.
— Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.