Northeastern completes clean sweep of York-Adams American Legion titles
MANCHESTER — Northeastern's baseball players first had to endure a disappointing season before experiencing the joy of winning two championships.
Following a high school season that didn't live up to their expectations, the teenagers from the Mount Wolf-Manchester area put together an American Legion season that they'll never forget.
And it's not over yet.
After winning the York-Adams American Legion League regular-season title, Northeastern completed the sweep of Legion honors by capturing the playoff tournament, too.
Northeastern, behind the pitching of Adam Kipp, shut out Pleasureville, 5-0, on Monday evening to finish off a perfect 3-0 run in the playoffs.
Both Northeastern and Pleasureville qualified for the Region 4 Tournament, which will begin Saturday in Ephrata.
Kipp and two of his teammates, Kenny Kopp and Brady Dolan, shared the York-Adams Tournament's outstanding pitching award, and Northeastern's Drew Wolfgang earned the MVP honor.
In the three tournament games, the trio of Kipp, Kopp and Dolan allowed just two total runs.
"In high school, we were tight because we expected to do well," Wolfgang said. "We are all very relaxed here (in the Legion season)."
Wolfgang took two for the team in the final two games of the tournament. After being hit by a pitch in Monday's game, he ended up scoring a run. In Sunday's game, Wolfgang went 1-for-2 and was also hit by a pitch. Austin Shaffer went in to run for Wolfgang and scored the winning run.
"In high school, I only had a couple of at bats," Wolfgang said. "I seem to be able to spark this team by getting hit by a pitch."
Northeastern had the same number of hits as Pleasureville (three), but the home team combined two hits with three walks and a hit batsman (Wolfgang) to score all five of its runs in the second inning.
The support was more than enough for Kipp. The left-hander, who will be a senior at Northeastern High School in the fall, struck out five and walked two. Kipp fanned the side in the sixth inning, using just 10 pitches.
"My curve ball was definitely working today," he said. "That was awesome when we scored those five runs. It gave us momentum."
Kopp expected to start Region 4 opener: Kopp, who is expected to start the first game in Ephrata, will take the mound with a perfect 9-0 record.
"I did not pitch a lot in high school, so my arm was fresh coming into this season," Kopp said. "Devin Blymire is a very good catcher and calls good pitches."
Kopp trained in the offseason with former Major League and York Revolution pitcher Corey Thurman.
"He worked with me on keeping my balance, driving off my back foot and keeping my shoulders straight," Kopp said.
Kopp pitched the opening game of the playoffs, followed by Dolan and Kipp.
"There's a little bit of competition among us," Dolan said. "Before I pitched, he (Kopp) told me, 'I pitched yesterday, now it's your turn.'"
The team had the entire package: outstanding pitching, timely hitting and solid fielding.
"These guys know how to play baseball, and we (the manager and coaches) just had to sit in the lawn chairs and direct them," Northeastern manager Ken Kopp (Kenny's father) said. "We sat them in the dugout the first night (of practice) and told them it (the high school season) is gone. We're starting over."
The intensity and focus Northeastern displayed in the Legion's regular season continued into the playoffs.
"They wanted to win everything," Ken Kopp said.
Pleasureville also headed to Region 4 action: Pleasureville will join Northeastern at regionals following a highly successful season.
"We lost only three games, and we won some big games this year," Pleasureville manager Bob Davis said. "The Regional Tournament doesn't start until Saturday, so that gives us some time to set our pitching rotation up. I think York County will show itself well at the Region 4 Tournament."
Northeastern will take on Ephrata in the first round of the regional tournament. Pleasureville will face the Lebanon County champion.
— Reach Dick VanO'Linda at email@example.com.