SCOTLAND, Pa. — The task is not impossible, but highly improbable.
Lose your first game in the American Legion Region 4 Tournament, and you need win five games in a row to capture the championship.
Dallastown was one out away from accomplishing that rare feat on Wednesday evening at Greene Township Park.
However, an error allowed Carlisle to score the tying run in the top of the ninth inning, and Connor Paul followed with a two-run double to give Post 101 a 9-7 victory and a berth in the Pennsylvania American Legion Tournament. The state event is scheduled to begin next Tuesday in Boyertown.
Dallastown was forced to settle for the second-place medals, but the Post 605 team distinguished itself by winning four consecutive games, including one on Wednesday afternoon, before the disappointing loss to Carlisle.
"Obviously, there's some frustration in that dugout," Dallastown manager Phil Jeanmenne said. "Our kids have battled so hard. They're competitors."
The York County club advanced to the final by defeating Hampden Township, 12-4, earlier on Wednesday.
"Our guys played six hours of baseball today," Jeanmenne said. "Our dugout looked like an emergency room. There were bandages and blood. I lost my second baseman, who got spiked, and I lost my center fielder to a pulled hamstring. This is the best baseball team I've been around. Their hearts are heavy."
Back-and-forth game: Dallastown started off strong in the championship game, erupting for five runs in the bottom of the first inning to erase a 1-0 deficit.
Carlisle answered back and scored five unanswered runs to retake the lead, 6-5.
Dallastown's Keegan Wolf erased that advantage when he belted a two-run double over the left-fielder's head in the eighth inning to give Dallastown a 7-6 advantage.
"Keegan became an instant hero in our dugout," Jeanmenne said. "He had been struggling, but he got the barrel of the bat on that one."
Carlisle, though, put up three runs in the ninth, and Dallastown wasn't able to answer this time. Post 605 did get two runners on in the bottom of the ninth, but it wasn't able to push across any runs at the plate.
"I can't say enough about the grit, the kids showed, today, both teams," Carlisle manager Travis Smink said. "Dallastown made an unbelievable run, losing that first game and coming all the way back through the losers' bracket."
Paul, who delivered the big hit in the ninth for the Cumberland County team, also was the winning pitcher.
"Connor, because he's a pitcher, gets very little at bats," Smink said. "But, when he gets in there (the batter's box), he battles. He got a ball up in the zone, and he drove it."
Dallastown pounded out 14 hits in the final, but it also committed four errors. Eric Morrison Riley Hamberger, Tye Golden, Nick Parker and Dan Kuklinski supplied two hits each.
Hamberger pitched 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief and retired the first two batters in the ninth inning before Carlisle struck for three runs, all of which were unearned.
"We had our best pitcher on the mound, and he threw a heck of a game," Jeanmenne said. "He was in line to get the win."
Dallastown finished with an overall record of 18-6-1 and captured the York-Adams League Tournament championship. Dallastown was 12-2-1 over its final 15 games.
Win vs. Hampden Township: In Dallastown's win vs. Hampden Township, Avery Strayer got the victory, going five innings and allowing no earned runs. He allowed three hits, while walking one and striking out four.
A 10-run fifth inning was the key to Dallastown's win, highlighted by Cody Somerville's three-run double. That was one of Somerville's two doubles on the day. That rally broke open a 2-2 tie.
Joe Munoz added three hits to Dallastown's 15-hit attack vs. Hampden Township.
Reach Dick VanO'Linda at email@example.com.