Many followers of the Susquehanna League know Jon Snyder as the York Township player that sprints after foul balls from his team’s dugout during games.
After some last-inning heroics on Thursday, Aug. 10 against Jacobus, Snyder may become better known as the guy that came through in the clutch.
With runners on first and second and one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, Snyder was called upon to pinch-hit. Battling against former teammate Casey Markey, who was also one of Snyder’s coaches back in the day at Dallastown, Snyder poked a two-strike pitch past the second baseman to drive in Max Nail from second.
Snyder’s teammates flooded the field as his game-winning hit lifted York Township to a thrilling 1-0 triumph over the Jackals.
The victory earned Township a sweep of the best-of-three semifinal series against Jacobus. Snyder and Co. also locked up a berth into the Tom Kerrigan Memorial Tournament during Labor Day weekend after league-champion East Prospect eliminated Conrads with an 8-3 triumph in the other semifinal series.
Township and the Pistons will square off in the first game of the best-of-five championship series Sunday, Aug. 13 at 2 p.m. in East Prospect.
“I knew that Casey was going to try to get ahead,” Snyder said. “And I got down 0-2 and was just trying to fight everything off. I was fortunate that I fought it and put it in play somewhere.”
Snyder doesn’t get many chances to make a difference for his team on a nightly basis. But whenever he does, there’s a good bet he’ll come through. Snyder’s ninth hit of the season came in just his 30th at-bat which computes to a very neat .300 average.
“We have all the confidence in Jon there,” said Township starting pitcher James Striebig. “Jon’s been doing that ever since we’ve been playing together. He’s always been a pretty good hitter.”
Striebig was perhaps the player most enthused by Snyder’s big hit. It was only a week prior when Striebig threw 10 innings of one-hit ball against Stewartstown before the 1-1 contest was called a draw due to darkness.
“It started to feel like that,” Striebig said of Thursday's game shaping up like last week’s tie. “But, like I said, we have all the confidence in Jon there.”
Two nights after Avery Strayer pitched a three-hit shutout in Game 1 against Jacobus, in a case of symmetry Striebig matched his teammate with an identical three-hit shutout. Unlike Strayer, however, Striebig never allowed a runner to get past first base all night.
“James kept us in the game,” Snyder said. “I mean, I probably wouldn’t have had that chance if James doesn’t keep us in the game there.”
It’s not often that a team wins a series after scoring only two runs, but Township was forced to scratch and claw for those runs against some outstanding pitching by the Jackals. Mike Crowe allowed just one run and five hits in Tuesday’s loss. And, in another case of weird symmetry, Markey matched his teammate with another fine performance.
On many nights during the season, both Crowe and Markey would have probably earned victories with those performances. But, in the playoffs, even the best of showings can be upstaged from time to time.
While Striebig’s outing was terrific, the right-hander deflected much of the praise heaped upon him afterwards. Instead Striebig, who struck out just two batters all night, pinpointed the pitcher’s best friend as one of the biggest factors for his success.
“I’ve said it before,” Striebig said. “We have one of the best defenses in the league, if not the best. If we pitchers give them a chance to make a play, they’ll make that play for us.”
Sunday’s opener of the championship series with East Prospect figures to be a big clash of opposing forces. The Pistons have crushed their opponents so far this postseason to the tune of 52 runs scored. Township, on the other hand, has allowed just two runs over its past three games.
“It’ll be interesting,” Striebig said.
OTHER SUSQUEHANNA LEAGUE RESULT
East Prospect 8, Conrads 3: At Conrads, the Pistons eliminated Conrads from the Susquehanna League playoffs with a fast start in Thursday's game. East Prospect scored in each of its first three at-bats, totaling seven runs, to jump out to a 7-3 lead. Anthony Torreullas and Tanner Forry each drove in two runs for the Pistons, while Seth Lefever pitched a complete game. Conrads got RBIs from Travis Hake and Carter Krick.
OTHER CENTRAL LEAGUE RESULTS
Manchester 7, Pleasureville 4: At Manchester, Chris Biechler's three-run homer in the bottom of the third put the home team ahead and it went on to capture the victory. Teammates Austin Allison went 2 for 3, including a double and three RBIs, while Jason Kelly connected for a double. With the win, Manchester finishes the regular season with a record of 24-10-1 and 73 points, while Pleasureville finishes the regular season at 12-23-0 with 36 points.
Mount Wolf 15, Shiloh 7: At Mount Wolf, despite allowing six runs in the top of the third, the Wolves still rolled to a win over the Vikings. Mount Wolf answered Shiloh's six-run top of the third with a six-run bottom half of the inning and also mixed in a four-run first and five-run fifth. Tyler Page had four RBIs to lead the Wolves, while Dan Dierdorff went 2 for 3 with a triple and RBI. Dillon Schwartzer belted a home run for the Vikings. Mount Wolf finished the regular season with a record of 16-19-0 and 48 points, while Shiloh capped off a 16-18-1 season with 49 points.
Jefferson 7, Stoverstown 4: At Jefferson, Colin Porter led the home team to the victory by connecting for a solo homer. Teammates Jordan Watkins and Jordan Higgins also each connected for one double. On the mound, Brian Bossom, Watkins and Jon Kibler combined to pick up the win, while allowing no extra base hits. For Stoverstown, Nick Todero went 2 for 4. With the win, Jefferson improves to 23-10-1 with 70 points, while Stoverstown finishes the regular season with a record of 25-10-0 with 75 points.
Glen Rock 4, Dillsburg 2: At Dillsburg, the visitors plated three runs in the top of the third and went on to capture the victory. Steve Ahlbrandt led the visitors at the plate by going 2 for 2 with two runs scored, one RBI and two walks. Teammates Shawn Heffner went 2 for 4, Zach Holloway had two RBIs, while Conor Miller, Casey Hood and Connor Hood combined for a two-hitter. For Dillsburg, Braydon Smith went 2 for 2, including a double, one run scored, one RBI. With the win, Glen Rock finishes the regular season with a record of 18-17-0 with 54 points.