When Dallastown Legion Post 605 pitcher Nick Parker went down with an ankle injury a few weeks ago, he wasn't sure when he'd be on the mound again.
The team would need to make a lengthy postseason run in order for Parker to have a chance to recover to a point where he could be effective again.
The team's manager, Phil Jeanmenne, also had something to ponder recently. Dallastown's packed playoff schedule of late, along with some players missing time, have combined to wreak havoc with his pitching plans
"We were pitcher by committee and I was looking for someone to step up, take the ball and want it," Jeanmenne said. "I talked to (Parker) the night before and he was hoping for one more day of rest. He goes: 'If we get to the championship, I might be able to help on Wednesday.' And I told him: 'One day doesn't make that big of a difference in your healing, and if we don't win (Tuesday) there is no tomorrow.'"
With his team so close to reaching that title tilt, Parker decided just minutes before game time to forego his final day of healing and take the mound.
The result was seven stellar innings. Parker allowed just one run while scattering six hits as Dallastown defeated Ephrata, 9-1, Tuesday at Greene Township Park in Franklin County in an American Legion Region 4 Tournament elimination game.
Parker also struck out 10 and walked five batters. It took him 127 pitches to mow through his seven frames before Chace Miller came on to strike out three over his two innings of no-hit ball.
With the win, Dallastown now stands two wins from the Region 4 championship.
It was Dallastown's third straight triumph in a win-or-go-home Region 4 contest. It also avenged an earlier 5-0 loss to Ephrata in the opening game of the Region 4 playoffs on Saturday.
Since that time, Dallastown has earned three straight wins to remain alive in the double-elimination tournament, outscoring its foes, 27-10, in the process. During that stretch, Post 605 beat host Fayetteville (11-8), Lawnton (7-1) and Ephrata. Dallastown is now 17-5-1 overall and is 11-1-1 over its last 13 games.
Getting started: In the third inning Tuesday, the bottom of the order got things started for Dallastown with a single and back-to-back walks. That set the stage for Cody Somerville's two-run base bit, giving Dallastown an early 2-0 lead.
Riley Hamberger was hit by a pitch in the next at bat, loading the bases and setting the stage for Tye Golden.
Golden delivered with a three-run double to push the lead to 5-0 Dallastown. Golden was the offensive leader Tuesday, finishing a home run shy of the cycle while going 3 for 4 with four RBIs and a run scored. Hamberger was 2 for 3 with two runs scored and an RBI.
Parker helped his own cause in the fifth inning when he singled home Golden, who had driven in a run with a triple, to move Dallastown's lead to 7-0. Post 605 cruised from there.
Up next; At 1 p.m. Wednesday, Dallastown will face Hampden Township back at Greene Township Park. Hampden knocked off Carlisle, 4-2, on Tuesday. Carlisle entered play Tuesday as the only unbeaten team in the double-elimination tournament. The winner of the Dallastown-Hampden matchup will face Carlisle at 4 p.m. Wednesday for the Region 4 championship.
The winner of the Region 4 Tournament will advance to the state playoffs, set to begin Tuesday, July 26, in Boyertown.
While Parker's heroics might have saved the season for Dallastown, it also served to prolong Jeanmenne's pitching conundrum for a day.
The manager figures the pitcher-by-committee approach will be what's needed to get the team through Wednesday's game, or games.
"That's going to be the game plan (Wednesday)," he said. "We're going to throw a little bit of everybody, a little salt and pepper I guess."
He's also hoping his decision might be made a lot easier by the return of one of the team's valued arms — Jake Gates.
According to Jeanmenne, Gates has been away on a religious retreat and hopes to rejoin the team Wednesday afternoon.
"We're hoping he joins in time for some baseball," Jeanmenne said. "If he shows up, he can give us seven, eight, nine innings. He's a strong pitcher, we're hoping he gives us a little boost to our arms and we can get this thing done."
Reach Elijah Armold at firstname.lastname@example.org.