CENTRAL: Manchester routs Glen Rock in playoff opener
- Manchester now leads the best-of-three series, 1-0.
- Game 2 is set for 5:45 p.m. Thursday in Glen Rock.
- The Indians pounded out 20 hits in the 13-0 win, including 19 singles.
MANCHESTER — When the Central League playoff seeds were officially announced Sunday, the first-round clash between Manchester and Glen Rock figured to be one of the most competitive opening series in years.
Glen Rock may have tallied double-digit losses during the regular season, but no one has any questions about the character of the defending champions. The Indians, meanwhile, have been one of the league’s better teams since the mid-point of the season.
The difference between No. 4-seeded Manchester (19-11-2) and No. 5-seeded Glen Rock (18-14) during the regular season was just four points in the standings, (40-36).
So, while everyone who ventured to Manchester’s field Tuesday evening was likely expecting a tight contest, things turned one-sided pretty quickly. The home team scored seven runs in the first inning when the first eight batters reached safely.
That set the tone. The Indians cruised to a surprisingly easy 13-0 triumph. The Indians lead the best-of-three series, 1-0, with Game 2 scheduled for Thursday at 5:45 p.m. at Glen Rock.
“Everything kind of went our way at the beginning,” Manchester manager Dave Miller said. “We just couldn’t do anything wrong.”
The home team used six singles, a walk and a hit batter against Glen Rock starter Brad McCullough to go up 7-0 after one inning. McCullough was tagged for two more runs in the second before exiting with one out in the frame.
“That was a good first inning and good way to start the playoffs,” Miller said. “It definitely helped our confidence from that point on.”
After Rick Goebeler pitched his team out of the second, Dan Rogers pitched the final four innings, giving up four runs on nine hits.
“Dan did a great job taking one for the team tonight,” Glen Rock manager Jeff Stiffler said. “He’s not going to be there for us Saturday, so he stayed out there tonight.”
The Manchester lineup was nearly unstoppable. The Indians pounded out 20 hits (19 singles), with every starter except their catcher collecting at least two hits apiece. Austin Allison led the hit parade with four hits, while Dan Sepic (two singles, double) and Logan Allison tallied three hits each. Sepic and Jason Kelly, who figures to start Thursday for Manchester, each drove in three runs.
“The hitting was just unbelievable for us tonight,” Miller said. “I don’t know how many hits we had, but I know that we had multiple guys with multiple hits.”
The big first inning felt very good for the home side for more than just the obvious reason. Just last week Glen Rock rallied to score 10 runs against the Indians, turning a 5-0 deficit into a 10-5 advantage. Getting up big early felt like a little bit of payback for Miller’s crew.
But maybe not so much for Miller, who couldn’t forget what Glen Rock did less than seven days ago.
“I remember they scored 10 runs in one inning off us and all I could think was ‘What the (heck) happened?’” Miller said. “It can turn that quick.”
Fortunately for the Indians, there was no Glen Rock rally this time. Starter Michael Houseal held the visitors to two hits over five scoreless innings before Kenny Kopp came on to get the final six outs.
While no one expected Tuesday’s drubbing, no one is expecting a similar result Thursday. Stiffler’s crew has rallied back many times this season and it’s not in the team's character to throw in the towel after one bad night.
“We have too good of a team for this to happen,” Stiffler said. “Especially two games in a row. We didn’t come out sharp and they are a very good team. You cannot come out like that, especially in the playoffs. This league is just too good for that. But we’re not going to just die. We’ll fight back.”
Casey Hood, who figures to start for Glen Rock Thursday, collected two of his team’s six hits.
LEAGUE PLAYOFF GAME
Mount Wolf 5, Pleasureville 0: At Mount Wolf, Dan Dierdorff led the Wolves to the first-round playoff victory by throwing a complete game, striking out 17 and walking none. Dierdorff also connected at the plate by going 3 for 4, with two RBIs and one run scored. Also for Wolves, Mark Burnside went 2 for 3, including a double, with three runs scored, while John Mehring had two RBIs. For Pleasureville, Clinton Bohn went 2 for 3, while Patrick Clement went 2 for 3, including a double. Mount Wolf leads the best-of-three series 1-0. Game 2 will be played Thursday night at Pleasureville.
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