STOVERSTOWN — The handful of teams that remain in solid contention for the Central League regular season title can ill afford many hiccups with the regular season approaching its final three weeks.
That list includes a surging Stoverstown club that entered Thursday’s contest against rival Mount Wolf on a four-game winning-streak.
And with veteran Darryl Harang ready to pitch, the Tigers were brimming with confidence.
The southpaw didn’t disappoint.
Harang was up to the challenge once again for Stoverstown. The former York Revolution standout shut down the Wolves lineup, limiting them to just seven hits and a run over seven innings. Teammate Zach Schuler took care of the offense with a two-run homer in the fifth inning that propelled the Tigers to a 2-1 triumph.
Stoverstown improved to 17-7 on the season after claiming its fifth consecutive victory. The visitors fell under the .500 mark for the season, dropping to 12-13.
“It’s fun having a tight race to the finish,” Harang said. “We had it last year and it just makes each game matter all that much more as we head down to the line.”
Harang has a reputation as a quick and efficient worker on the mound and Thursday was no exception. He needed just 93 pitches to finish off the complete-game effort.
The Stoverstown lineup, however, found a lot of difficulty in helping out its starter most of the night. Mount Wolf’s Mark Burnside, who the Tigers roughed up in their most previous contest a few weeks ago, was in control for most of the night. Burnside allowed only five hits over six innings of work while fanning five.
After rolling through the first four innings with just two hits allowed, Burnside ran into his only rough spot in the fifth. A single by Brandon Warner brought up Schuler, the Tigers' leadoff man, with the Wolves protecting a 1-0 lead.
Stoverstown manager Tim Thoman debated whether or not to have Schuler bunt. Suffice it to say, Thoman was pleased that the bunt never happened.
“We had the bunt on,” he said. “But with (Mount Wolf third baseman Steve Pokopec) coming in I thought that we had a chance to swing and get one past him. And Zach got a pitch and he cleared the fence by about 20 feet.”
That turned out to be just enough for Harang, who had to battle out of a last-inning jam to pick up the victory. After getting the first two outs quickly, Harang allowed a single to Mount Wolf’s No. 9 hitter, Brandt Myers. Dan Dierdorff followed with a single and, after a wild pitch allowed both runners to move to second and third, Thoman opted to walk Dustin Kuhn to load the bases.
Harang got himself out of the jam by striking out Tyler Page to end the game.
“You just try to have fun when you’re playing the game,” Harang said. “You just try to stay easy.”
Kuhn drove in Mount Wolf’s only run of the night with a two-out double in the third inning that scored Myers, who collected two hits in the setback.
OTHER CENTRAL LEAGUE RESULTS
Manchester 3, Dillsburg 2: At Dillsburg, Manchester scored the eventual winning run in the top of the fifth to down Dillsburg on the road. Matt Jordan drove in two runs for Manchester with a 2 for 4 effort at the plate, while starter Ethan Hess pitched a complete game to earn the win. Dylan Tomecki and Ezra Rawdon each had an RBI for Dillsburg.
Pleasureville 6, Glen Rock 4: At Pleasureville, Devin Dellinger provided the home team with a walk-off victory with a two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh. Dellinger and Chet Haifley each drove in two runs for Pleasureville, while Andrew Parks pitched a complete game. Glen Rock got RBIs from four different players — Daniel Rhodes, Andrew Rosenzweig, Steve Aulbrandt and Connor Hood.
OTHER SUSQUEHANNA LEAGUE RESULTS
East Prospect 5, Windsor 4: At East Prospect, the league-leading Pistons got some heroics from Tanner Forry, hitting a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the seventh with two outs to stun the Cardinals. Windsor led 4-0 heading into the bottom of the sixth and 4-1 going into the seventh. The grand slam was the only one of the day for Forry, while Dalton Renn drove in the other run in the sixth. Cole Gipe had two RBIs for the Cardinals, while Shawn Wilson and Tyler Myers each had one.
Hallam 11, Red Lion 4 (6 innings): At Red Lion, two big innings from the Express yielded nine runs and led to their big win over Red Lion. Hallam scored four times in the top of the second and five times in the fourth to pace its offense. Alex Tucci drove in four runs for the Express, while Xavier Bonilla drove in three runs and Ryan Day and Angel Matias each had two. Cole Daugherty drove in a run for Red Lion and Bren Taylor had a triple.
York Township 18, Conrads 4: At York Township, the home side scored in its final five at-bats, including eight runs in the bottom of the sixth to blow out Conrads. Derek Pitzer led the offensive charge for York Township with three RBIs and two doubles, while DJ Reed and Micah Striebig each had two RBIs. Rick Thompson had an RBI double for Conrads, which was held to just four hits by York Township's Avery Strayer.
Stewartstown 9, Felton 1: At Felton, Craig Martin was 3 for 4 with three RBIs and a pair of runs scored as the Vets cruised to victory. Blake Kendrick went the distance, allowing one run on four hits while striking out three and walking three to collect the win on the mound. Evan Paules picked up two hits for the Ducks.
— Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org