SHILOH — The race for the Central League baseball regular-season title is all but decided.
The race behind league-leading Glen Rock, however, is pretty much a pick 'em at this point.
If the Shockers from Shiloh have their way, however, they'll be right in the mix.
Coming off a tough setback against rival Mount Wolf earlier in the week, the Shockers made sure not to let another game get away on Thursday evening. A three-run homer in the first off the bat of Jacob Molison and the outstanding pitching of Kaden Hepler proved to be the right recipe for Shiloh in a 9-3 victory over Dover.
The triumph improved the Shockers to 14-10-1, while Dover fell to 12-14.
"This was a game we needed to win," Shiloh manger Bubba Krout said. "After losing to Mount Wolf on Tuesday night we wanted to get back on the winning track."
They were able to make life easy on their starter. Molison made it 3-0 in favor of the home team with one swing of the bat.
"If Jake can swing the bat like he did tonight, that would really help out," Krout said.
The only team in the league to beat Glen Rock twice this season, the Shockers are a team that has been up and down. But it's also a team full of players who have experienced a great deal of success, either in high school at West York or in college. Come playoff time, it's a team that could be formidable.
The Shockers have a good combination of pitching and defense, and when the offense is clicking, like it did Thursday (15 hits), Krout's team can be downright nasty.
"We definitely feel good about ourselves," Molison said. "We know that we can play with anybody. But this is the type of league where anybody can beat anybody."
Before the Mount Wolf loss, the Shockers had been on a roll, winning five straight. Thursday's victory moved Shiloh to 29 points, or just five shy of Mount Wolf for second place.
"We're trying to develop a killer mentality," Molison said. "We want to get up on (opponents) and keep adding on."
They did that against Dover starter Derek Slagle, scoring three in the first and another in the second before adding five more in the third to go up 9-0. Ryan Stough, Chase James, Cole Bixler, Logan Stover and Michael Santiago each tallied two hits.
That made it an easy decision for Krout to pull Hepler from the game after five innings. Currently a pitcher at NCAA Division I Winthrop University in South Carolina, Hepler is coming off Tommy John surgery that caused him to miss a season of action. But the right-hander was dominant pretty much all night against Dover, holding the visitors to two runs and four hits while fanning three.
"He's looked good all summer for us," Molison said. "And I think he's getting better and better each time."
Cody Glass led Dover with a single and two RBIs, while Jordan Higgins collected the only extra-base hit with a double in the fourth.
OTHER CENTRAL LEAGUE GAMES
Manchester 8, Stoverstown 3: At Manchester, the home team trailed 3-1 entering the bottom of the fifth, but plated seven runs in the inning to take the lead for good. Trey McWilliams highlighted the fifth, starting the rally with a one-out single and capping the scoring with a two-run double. McWilliams finished 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Also for the winners, Trae Beyer went 2-for-3 with one RBI, Dan Royer went 2-for-4 with a double and Josh Reeser had two RBIs. For Stoverstown, J.W. Besore went 2-for-4 with a two-run double; Levi Krause went 2-for-3 with a double, two runs scored and one RBI; Austin Botts went 2-for-4; and Brandon Bishard doubled. Manchester cracked seven of its 12 hits in the bottom of the fifth. Stoverstown committed both of its errors that inning, leading to five unearned runs. Manchester improved to 14-12. Stoverstown fell to 15-12.
Mount Wolf 5, Dillsburg 0: At Mount Wolf, Joe Nestor pitched a three-hit shutout for the Wolves, striking out three without a walk. Patrick Moriarty doubled and had two RBIs for the winners, while Dustin Kuhn doubled with an RBI and Dan Dierdorff doubled with two runs scored. Dillon Heatwole pitched a complete-game four-hitter for Dillsburg, walking three and fanning three. Nick Sowman had two of Dillsburg's three hits. Mount Wolf improved to 16-7-2. Dillsburg fell to 2-22.
Glen Rock 7, Jefferson 3: At Glen Rock, Nick Cicio led the home team to the victory by throwing a complete game, striking out 11, walking four and allowing four hits. Also for Glen Rock, Rick Goebeler went 3-for-3 with a double, two RBIs and one run scored; Troy Miller went 3-for-4 with two doubles and one run scored; and Justin Anderson went 1-for-2 with two runs scored and one RBI. For Jefferson, Jordan Witmer went 2-for-3 with a double, two runs scored and one RBI. First-place Glen Rock improves to 21-3. Jefferson fell to 13-11-1.
— Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.