The record book for East Prospect is not nearly as rich with titles as those owned by some of their Susquehanna League rivals.
The Pistons have claimed only three regular-season crowns over the past 67 seasons and just four playoff crowns.
While that pales in comparison to more renowned organizations such as Conrads (20 regular-season titles and 17 playoff crowns) and York Township (13 and 13), the 2017 league campaign that East Prospect recently completed was among the best ever. It included the league's regular-season and playoff crowns.
The Pistons outscored their opposition to the tune of 168 runs (257-89) which is one of the highest ever. They rolled through the playoffs with an even more impressive 61-run differential (66-5), including shutouts in five of their seven victories. That does not include a 9-9 deadlock against York Township that had to be replayed in its entirety.
Overall, the Pistons are 31-8, including a 7-0 mark in the playoffs and a 24-8 regular-season record.
“This is just great,” East Prospect manager Mark Toomey said. “We were so close for so many years and we had good teams. We got hurt a couple of times because we had guys coming in late because of school, so for us to get off to a 10-0 run to start the season, and then we had our whole team back, that meant everything.”
Key players: While everyone has had a key role in East Prospect’s incredible season so far, three players in particular — pitcher Seth Lefever, third baseman Dalton Renn and center fielder Tanner Forry — would be hard to overlook.
Lefever has been a quiet but consistent ace for the pitching staff. He improved to 12-0 on the season after pitching a shutout in East Prospect’s 2-0 victory over Township Friday, Aug. 18 — a game that clinched the playoff crown. Pitching in just 14 games this season, the southpaw has a 2.10 ERA and 88 strikeouts over 86 2/3 innings.
“He does a great job and he just goes out and doesn’t say a word,” Toomey said. “He just goes out there and does his job. You wish you had 12 of those guys.”
Renn, a former Eastern York High School standout, was a big stabilizing force for the Pistons. While playing in every game, Renn led the team with eight home runs and 34 RBIs while hitting .320.
Those numbers are impressive in their own right, but the role that Renn played for the team as their starting third baseman is equally as important. The Pistons used several guys to play third the past two years. When Renn, who played for Hallam previously, was made available after last season there was little hesitation for Toomey to pick him up.
“He has friends on our team,” Toomey said. “And he played third for us every game. The last couple of years we didn’t have anyone that was there all the time and he did an awesome job.”
Forry was a one-man wrecking crew at the plate all season for East Prospect. The Dallastown High School graduate hit .366 with seven home runs, 31 RBIs and a team-best 10 stolen bases in just 28 games.
“He’s an absolute stud,” Toomey said. “I couldn’t put it any other way. We’re so lucky and happy to have him.”
The Pistons won’t have Forry when the York County Championship Series begins Saturday, Aug. 26, at Stoverstown. The Wingate University senior had to leave for school last week.
County playoff series to begin Saturday: Speaking of the York County Championship Series, the Pistons will have the luxury of scouting the Tigers during the Central League playoff finals this week vs. Jefferson.
The Pistons also have more than a week to rest up for one of the biggest highlights of the entire sandlot baseball summer.
Stoverstown, on the other hand, might have to play up to three games this week (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 22-23-24) before getting at least one day off to prepare for the Pistons.
Tigers manager Tim Thoman isn’t sweating it out too much. He’s feeling good about his team’s chances to capture its first county crown since they last won it in 1976 against Conrads.
“We have a lot of baseball coming up,” Thoman said. “But that’s what makes it fun. I’m not going to over-throw our guys against Jefferson.”
Game 1 in the county title series is Saturday, Aug. 26, at 1:30 p.m. at Stoverstown. Game 2 is 1 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 27, at East Prospect. Game 3, if needed, will immediately follow Game 2 at East Prospect.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.