It's a good thing that home-field advantage for the York County Championship Series is not determined by the result of the annual Central League vs. Susquehanna League All-Star Game.
That’s because the 2017 edition of the all-star contest between the two rival York County leagues ended in a 6-6 tie Saturday in Mount Wolf. The full nine-inning exhibition was called after 10 innings, primarily because of a lack of available pitching for both sides.
“I think that everybody had a good time,” said East Prospect manager Mark Toomey, who skippered the Susquehanna League team. “We started out the game with a single, a double, another single and then a three-run home run by Tanner Forry.”
Forry’s blast was a sight to see. His shot cleared not only the fence in left field at Rock Brenner Memorial Field, but also the street behind it before landing on someone’s front porch. Jefferson manager Pat Schultz estimated the shot to be well over 400 feet.
“One of the farthest that I’ve ever seen hit there,” said Schultz, who managed the Central League squad.
After trailing 4-0 early, the Central League battled back — powered by three-run homers by Pleasureville’s Jason Kroeger and the Vikings’ Michael Santago — to take a 6-4 lead after six innings.
Hallam’s Xavier Bonilla, who earned Most Valuable Player honors for the contest, hit a two-run, game-tying homer in the eighth to even the score at 6-6.
The game continued into both the ninth and 10th innings, with neither side able to edge across a run before Toomey and Schultz agreed to call the game a tie.
“We ran out of pitching,” Toomey said. “And I didn’t want to throw my guys anymore because I need them for this week. So we all just decided on a tie.”
Pleasureville’s Andrew Parks was named the Pitcher of the Game after throwing three scoreless innings for the Central League.
Return of the Tie-tans: It is rather uncommon for an all-star contest to end without a winner or loser, but it certainly wasn’t unusual for Schultz.
Schultz and the Jefferson Titans earned the Central League regular-season title a season ago, in large part because of several tie games. Last year, victories earned teams two points, while ties earned them one point. Not insignificantly, one point was the margin of difference between Jefferson and Stoverstown last season.
That’s led to a running joke around the league in which opponents, and even Schultz himself, refers to the team as the Tie-tans.
“I did make that joke before,” Schultz said.
This season the Central League changed the point structure to allow three points for a victory and one point for a tie. If that had been the case last season, Stoverstown would have — you guessed it — been tied in points.
Emotional moments: While the game ended with an anti-climax, there were still a few highlight moments that many in attendance will long remember.
One of the biggest was a tribute to veteran right-hander Adam Hoff. A pitcher for nearly two decades in both the Central and Susquehanna leagues, Hoff was forced to give up the game after tearing a ligament in his elbow. A future Hall of Famer with nearly 200 wins combined from both leagues, Hoff threw the game’s first pitch — a strike — before leaving the field to a nice ovation.
“It was great to see him close out his career as an all-star,” Toomey said. “I played with Adam for quite a few years at East Prospect. He played with us, Wrightsville and Jacobus before he went to Mount Wolf to play.”
Hoff’s tribute wasn’t the only one Saturday. Toomey wanted to honor former East Prospect pitcher Steve Poff, who died more than a year ago.
“I asked Steve’s brother, Tim Poff, to come and be my third-base coach,” Toomey said. “And I gave him Steve’s No. 21 jersey to wear and for Tim to wear his brother’s jersey was kind of neat.”
Mount Wolf’s Dan Dierdorff also wore a commemorative jersey for Saturday’s contest. Dierdorff wore former Wolves manager Tim Brenner’s No. 20 jersey for the contest. Brenner died earlier this year at the age of 53.
“Tim meant a lot to everyone associated with the Mount Wolf baseball organization and the Central League in general, so it was a great move by Danny to honor Tim by wearing his jersey, especially with the game at Mount Wolf,” Schultz said. “Danny was low-key about it, but he played hard (Saturday), just as Tim would have.”
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.