When a sports team is winning, it seems like just about everyone is having fun.
While that may be the case with the East Prospect Pistons baseball club in general, it wasn’t necessarily the case in particular for pitcher Hunter McVey.
The Penn Manor graduate was ticked off at himself for not living up to what he believed was his potential earlier this season. Nevertheless, the Pistons were still winning three-quarters of their games during the regular season.
McVey, though, made a commitment to start taking the game more seriously. Most of the game is mental, so the right-hander made a promise to himself to be mentally prepared whenever he was given the ball.
It didn’t take long before everyone noticed. McVey showcased his newfound virtues on Sunday, Aug. 13, when East Prospect hosted York Township in the opening game of the Susquehanna League Championship Series.
McVey held Township to just four hits over seven scoreless innings to pick up the victory as the Pistons claimed a 2-0 triumph over Township.
East Prospect leads the best-of-five series, 1-0. Game 2 is slated for Tuesday evening at McWilliams Field in Spry with a start time of 5:45 p.m.
“In the beginning of the season, I wasn’t doing too well,” McVey said. “And I just got tired of it. Tired of just not performing the way these guys were expecting me to. So I just said ‘enough is enough.’”
The reasons for McVey’s struggles had nothing to do with physical mechanics. Instead, it was a myriad of issues in his head that the Delaware State University senior needed to sort through.
“I fine-tuned some things and got a little more serious,” he said after throwing 102 pitches. “It’s the playoffs and you have got to be serious. So I just went out and threw the way I had the past two years for these guys.”
Township found its way to the title series in large part to a combination of solid pitching and defense. The offense, however, hasn’t produced nearly as much during the playoffs, as evidenced by the team scoring just two runs in its sweep of Jacobus.
It continued Sunday as McVey got ahead of almost every hitter before ultimately putting them away.
“(McVey) was on today,” said Township manager Robin Striebig. “He really hit his spots, especially when we were able to get guys on base.”
Township had two runner on in both the first and second innings but couldn't find a way to bring them around. McVey was also helped out by a nifty around-the-horn double play that ended the fourth inning.
Avery Strayer, who threw a three-hit shutout against Jacobus earlier in the week, fell into one of his personal pitfalls early. The right-hander has made a habit of getting into trouble in the first inning. It happened again Sunday as he allowed two of the six hits he surrendered in the first.
Strayer, however, almost got out of it unscathed. One runner was thrown out at the plate on a grounder to short. But a potential inning-ending grounder to third was misplayed allowing a run to score.
The Pistons doubled the lead to 2-0 in the fourth. After back-to-back singles by Dalton Renn and Ryan Smith and a sacrifice bunt, another grounder to third was booted, loading the bases. A sacrifice fly by Anthony Torreullas brought in Renn.
“They hit the ball and, if we make the plays, we wouldn’t have allowed either of those runs to score,” Striebig said. “And that’s what we’ve been doing pretty much during the playoffs — making the plays and keeping the other team from scoring.”
Ryan Smith was the only player on either side to collect more than one hit. Teammates Tanner Forry and Mark Schauren, however, both doubled — the only two extra-base hits recorded in the contest.
CENTRAL LEAGUE RESULTS
Mount Wolf 7, Jefferson 2: At Mount Wolf, the Wolves evened the best-of-3 series up with a convincing home win over Jefferson. Steve Pokopec had a double for Mount Wolf, while Mark Burnside ripped a triple and John Mehring belted a home run to lead the offense. Kurt Seiders and Jordan Watkins provided Jefferson with its only RBIs of the game. Jefferson will host Game 3 on Tuesday night at 5:45.
Glen Rock 5, Shiloh 1: At Shiloh, Glen Rock forced a third and deciding game in the best-of-3 series by dominating the Vikings. Dan Rhodes collected an RBI and Scott Merkel pounded out a pair of doubles to pace the offense. Rick Goebler spun a gem on the mound, going the distance, allowing just one run on six hits. Cole Bixler had a double for Shiloh, while Randy Frankenfield also went the distance on the mound, allowing the five runs on six hits. Glen Rock will host the deciding game on Tuesday at 5:45 p.m.