RED LION — Bryant Holtzapple arrived back in York County from Georgia at 2 Thursday afternoon.
Less than four hours later, Holtzapple found himself in a familiar position, crouching behind home plate calling signals for Avery Strayer.
The Strayer-Holtzapple battery helped power Dallastown to a 7-2 victory over Shiloh in the opening round of the York-Adams American Legion baseball playoff tournament. The game was played at Nitchkey Field.
Strayer, a right-hander, pitched a complete game, and Holtzapple delivered two doubles and two RBIs.
"I've been catching him for about three years now, and we're pretty much on the same page," said Holtzapple who traveled to Georgia with his traveling team, the Mid-Atlantic Rookies. "He threw a fastball, curve ball and split-finger pitch. Avery delivers from different (arm) angles, and that definitely messes with hitters."
Strayer yielded eight hits, but he allowed just one walk while striking out four. The right-hander threw 90 pitches.
"I just throw what Bryant calls," Strayer said. "He's always thinking ahead (of what pitches to call next)."
Strayer. as he does in almost every outing, pounded the strike zone.
"We joke a lot that he (Strayer) gives up a lot of 0-2 hits," Holtzapple said. "He does not like to waste pitches, but that's all right because it keeps our defense on its toes."
Dallastown supported Strayer with flawless fielding and seven hits, three of which went for extra bases.
"Avery's been our ace all year long," Dallastown manager Phil Jeanmenne said. "He stays cool and doesn't get frustrated."
The winners gave their pitcher all the runs he needed by scoring four times in the third inning. Holtzapple drilled one of his doubles in the inning, with the ball taking one bounce over the center-field fence.
"I started the year off pretty slow," Holtzapple said. "I'm starting to feel better at the plate, and tonight really helped."
Dallastown, which captured the high school (York-Adams League) tournament title this spring, is aiming to add the Legion tournament crown to its list of 2016 achievements.
"The transfer from metal bats to wood (high school to Legion) is always difficult at the start, but we've been hitting the ball well lately," Strayer said. "It was pretty big going into Legion season, having won the high school title, but we have to play up to those (high school) standards."
Regis Maher added two hits, including a double, for Dallastown in Thursday's victory. Eight different players had hits for Shiloh including Thomas Bentzel, who smashed a triple in his only at bat.
Dallastown visits top-seeded Northeastern at 5:45 p.m. Friday in a winners' bracket game in the double-elimination tournament. Shiloh, meanwhile, will play host to New Oxford at the same time in an elimination contest.
Holtzapple going to Big 26: Holtzapple can't wait to experience the thrill of playing in the Big 26 Baseball Classic for a second straight year.
Holtzapple was selected to play for the Pennsylvania team when it takes on a team from Maryland in a three-game series from July 15-17. The games will be played at FNB Field in Harrisburg, the home of the Class AA Harrisburg Senators.
"Hands down, it was the best baseball experience that I've ever been a part of," Holtzapple said. "You get to play with kids from all over Pennsylvania, and get to go up against the best kids from Maryland You stay in the clubhouse, they give you a locker and you get to live the life of a minor leaguer for three days."
Pleasureville 3, Southwestern 2: At Central York High School, after falling behind 2-0 early, Pleasureville rallied for two in fourth to tie the game before adding the winner in the fifth in a first-round Legion playoff game. Joshua Shekells helped power the comeback effort with his two-run double. Colin Rzepkowski doubled and drove in a run for Southwestern. Pleasureville will play host to Red Lion at 5:45 p.m. Friday in a winners' bracket contest, while South Western will visit Hanover at the same time in an elimination contest.
Red Lion 7, Hanover 6: At Red Lion, Connor Dewees collected three extra-base hits (two triples, double), two runs scored and an RBI to lead the home team to a first-round Legion playoff win. Tyler Stabley (two hits, run), Cam Gipe (two RBIs), Hunter Smith (two hits, run), C.J. Czerwinski (two runs, hit) and Austin Wildasin (two doubles, two RBIs) also excelled at the plate for the winners. Stabley also got the win with 1 1/3 innings of hitless relief. Czerwinski started the game and pitched five-innings of one-hit, shutout ball, striking out nine. Red Lion led 5-0 before Hanover plated six sixth-inning runs off Dewees to take a 6-5 lead. Red Lion plated two runs in the bottom of the sixth for the eventual winning margin. Russel Linsay had three RBIs for Hanover.
Northeastern 8, New Oxford 5: At Manchester, the home team trailed 4-0 but rallied to capture the first-round playoff victory. Jonah Latshaw led the home team by going 3 for 4, including a triple. Also for Northeastern, Brayton Bare went 2 for 4 with a double and Ryan Shindler went 2 for 4. For New Oxford, Ethan Hertz went 2 for 4 with two RBIs.
East Prospect 6, Windsor 2: At East Prospect, Mike Androconis pitched a complete-game six-hitter to get the win, striking out 10 and walking one. Ryan Saxman had two hits and two runs scored for the winners. Shawn Wilson had two hits, including a homer, for Windsor. Nolan Myers also had two Windsor hits. Second-place East Prospect improved to 18-6.
Red Lion 3, York Township 0: At Township, Kent Walker threw a three-hit shutout to get the win. It was his second straight complete game. Bren Taylor had four hits for the winners, while Dalton Martin added two. Red Lion moved to 13-7.
Hallam 9, Felton 1: At Hallam, Matt Ruth led the home team by going 2 for 3 with two RBIs. Also for Hallam, Angel Matias went 2 for 2 with a double, Dan Wecker went 2 for 3 with a double and starting pitcher Brendon Delridge threw six innings to pick up the win. For Felton, Luke Howard went 2 for 3 with a double, while Kody Allen went 2 for 3. First-place Hallam improved to 21-3.
Mount Wolf 4, Manchester 3: At Mount Wolf, Mark Burnside pitched a complete game, striking out eight, and also belted two hits, including a double, while driving in one run and scoring another. Dustin Kuhn scored two runs for the Wolves, while Steve Pokopec drove in two runs. Trey McWilliams had three hits, including a double, and a run scored for Manchester, while Chris Biechler added two hits and an RBI. Mount Wolf improved to 13-3.
Glen Rock 4, Stoverstown 1 (8 innings): At Stoverstown, the visitors plated three runs in the top of the eighth, highlighted by back-to-back sacrifice flies from Luke Knott and Joe Young. Leading the Glen Rock attack were: Justin Anderson (3 for 4), Mike Spadafore (2 for 4) and Dan Rogers (2 for 4, run). Glen Rock's Casey Hood threw a complete game, striking out four, walking none and stranding 10 runners. For Stoverstown, Austin Botts (3 for 4), Brandon Warner (2 for 4, double) and Cody Boren (2 for 3, run) led the way. The game featured 22 total hits and only one extra-base hit. Glen Rock moved to 11-5. Stoverstown fell to 14-5.
Shiloh 17, Dillsburg 3: At Shiloh, Jerrin Toomey led the home team by going 5 for 5 with four RBIs. Also for Shiloh, Cole Bixler, Chase James, Alex Rohrbaugh and Walker Monteith each doubled, while Dillon Schwartzer and Jacob Molison each tripled. Shiloh starting pitcher Joe Prego threw six innings, striking out six and walking two.
Jefferson 3, Pleasureville 2: At Pleasureville, Scott Trail had an RBI triple as Jefferson took the road victory. Jhiraldy Garabito struck out four and walked two over 4 1/3 innings pitched to collect the win. Garret Kirkpatrick had two doubles and two runs scored for Pleasureville.
Reach Dick VanO'Linda at email@example.com.