MOUNT WOLF — It's a rare occasion when a baseball team can earn a walk-off victory away from their home field.
For the Jefferson Titans, however, Tuesday provided such an opportunity during their Central League game against Mount Wolf.
Down to their last strike, the Titans' Jordan Higgins laced a two-out, two-run double in the bottom of the seventh inning that gave Jefferson a much-needed 2-1 victory against the first-place Wolves.
Mount Wolf fell to 15-5, while Jefferson improved to 12-4-2.
"I just didn't want to lose by one run to Mount Wolf again," Higgins said. "I've been in a little bit of a slump, but coach (Pat) Schultz still sticks me in the three hole, had faith in me, and told me 'you're going to get one more big at-bat.'"
Despite being played in Mount Wolf, the Titans took the last at-bats as the "home" team. Jefferson was forced away from its home diamond to make way for the Jefferson Carnival.
Mount Wolf starting pitcher Mark Burnisde, in command throughout much of the game, began the bottom half of the seventh inning staked to a 1-0 lead he helped create.
Burnside induced back-to-back ground outs before issuing a two-out walk to lead-off hitter Kurt Seiders. Jordan Watkins followed with a single to give the Titans runners on the corners with Higgins coming to the plate. Higgins' heroics helped convert what looked like a tough-luck loss for Jefferson starter Jon Kibler into a hard-fought victory. Kibler gave up just one run while scattering seven hits, striking out eight and walking just two.
Higgins, the Titans' catcher, wanted to reward Kibler's efforts by coming through in the clutch.
"Burnside threw a hell of a game, got two pitches in there, left a third one a little outside and I just got extended and put a good swing on it," Higgins said. "Kibler threw a hell of a game. He's a battler and it makes it easier to go out and play hard for a guy who gives you games like that all year. It's nice catching him, but it was great to give back offensively and get the win."
Burnside helped the Wolves strike first in his duel with Kibler.
Jesse Sargen led off the third inning with a single before advancing on a John Mehring single two batters later. Burnside was able to help his own cause by driving an 0-2 pitch down the right-field line in the next at bat for a ground-rule double, sending Sargen across the plate for a 1-0 lead.
Kibler settled things down by getting the next batter to pop out to second and striking out Nick Sprenkle looking to end the threat.
"It's a tough loss, but it happens — it's a cruel game sometimes," Mount Wolf manager Tim Brenner said. "(Mark Burnside) threw a good ball game, but (Jefferson) didn't quit and got the job done.You can't ask for anything more than that right now. They always play us tough."
Kibler dominated the bottom third of the Mount Wolf lineup, earning six of his eight strikeouts against the group while yielding them just one hit.
Burnside came within one pitch of a complete-game shutout. He surrendered the two runs on six hits while striking out four and walking two.
Seiders had a double for Jefferson to lead off the bottom of the third inning. Watkins followed with a walk before Burnside settled in and retired the next three batters in order, eliminating the Titans' only other threat on the day.
Mount Wolf's best chance for an insurance run started with Sargen reaching on an error to lead off the fifth. He would later advance to third on the strength of two-out singles by Mehring and Burnside. However, Kibler squelched the opportunity by getting Sprenkle to strike out looking.
Burnside was 2 for 4 with an RBI at the plate for the Wolves.
Stoverstown 3, Shiloh 2: At Stoverstown, the home team strung together four singles in the bottom of the seventh to break a 2-2 tie and earn the walk-off win. Jason Miller scored the winning run on an RBI single from Zach Schuler. Miller finished 3 for 3 with an RBI. Cody Boren doubled for the winners. Logan Stover was 2 for 2 for Shiloh, while Ryan Stough doubled. Daryl Harang pitched a complete-game six-hitter for the win, striking out six and walking three. Brandyn Smith pitched five innings for Shiloh, allowing two runs. Stoverstown is now 16-6.
Manchester 5, Glen Rock 1: At Manchester, the home side raced out to a 5-0 lead before Glen Rock finally got on the board in the top of the seventh. Adam Kipp shut down the Glen Rock offense, throwing a complete game for Manchester, striking out four. Chris Biechler had a double, Logan Allison had a triple and Dan Sepic went 2 for 3 with an RBI for Manchester. Dan Rhodes drove in Glen Rock’s only run.
Dover 7, Dillsburg 4: At Dillsburg, the visitors plated four runs in the top of the first and never looked back. Cody Glass led the visitors by going 2 for 4, including a double, with two runs scored. Also for Dover, Austin Rickrode went 2 for 3 with a triple, Colt Zarilla tripled and plated two runs, Ross Drawbaugh homered and had three RBIs and Joe Morrett doubled. Dover received a complete game from Nick Morrett on the mound. He struck out three and walked one. For Dillsburg, Clayton Haak went 2 for 3 with a double.
Reach Elijah Armold at firstname.lastname@example.org.