JEFFERSON — After a controversy-filled contest the night before, there was little to dispute when Stoverstown faced Jefferson in Game 2 of the Central League playoff championship series on Wednesday, Aug. 23.
Sam Crater, who recorded the final two outs in the Titans' victory Tuesday, Aug. 22, continued to baffle the Tigers' lineup for a second night in a row. Crater surrendered just three hits while pitching a shutout to help Jefferson record a series-clinching 4-0 triumph in the best-of-three affair.
“Sam was just fantastic,” Titans' manager Pat Schultz said. “The last four or five starts he’s been nearly unhittable.”
The gem that Crater threw Wednesday pretty much drained any doubt about the outcome. The previous night the team’s managers — Schultz and Stoverstown’s Tim Thoman — were on opposite sides after darkness descended in the bottom of the seventh of Jefferson’s 6-5 triumph in Game 1.
The was some debate about whether the seventh inning should've been played in that game because of the darkness.
There were no heated moments Wednesday. Crater saw to that, throwing just 66 pitches.
“We lost to a great pitcher,” Thoman said. “That’s all that I can say.”
Crater and his teammates took care of the rest. The Jefferson pitcher led off the fourth inning with a home run. Moments later teammate Scott Trail connected off Tigers' starter Levi Krause.
“That was awesome,” Schultz said. “Especially if Levi’s cruising, because he’s tough to hit.”
Both teams had already clinched berths into the Tom Kerrigan Memorial Tournament. Still the playoff crown was a positive boost for the Titans. After winning the Central League regular-season and York County Championship Series crowns last year, Schultz and his gang were hungry after falling short of repeating as regular-season champs this season.
“Mission accomplished,” Schultz said. “We came up a bit short in the regular season, but we did what we wanted to do here in the playoffs.”
Krause allowed all four runs despite allowing just five hits over four innings. Cody Boren threw two scoreless innings of relief for Stoverstown.
Notes: Both Jefferson and Stoverstown finalized their pick-ups for the Kerrigan Tournament over the Labor Day weekend.
Stoverstown’s additions include the following: Mark Burnside, Grant Hoover and Dustin Kuhn from Mount Wolf; Randy Frankenfield of Vikings; Justin Anderson and Scott Merkel from Glen Rock; and Kenny Kopp of Manchester.
Jefferson’s pick-ups include the following: Michael Houseal, Logan Allison and Austin Allison from Manchester; Tyler Page, Steve Pokopec and Dan Dierdorff from Mount Wolf; and Dan Rhodes of Glen Rock.
The Kerrigan Tournament bracket was recently unveiled. It includes 16 teams, including the four local clubs — Stoverstown, Jefferson, York Township and East Prospect.
East Prospect, the Susquehanna League champion, will take on the New York Hawks at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 2, at Manchester. At the same time, York Township will square off with Norristown at Shiloh and Jefferson will face the E-Town Jays at Mount Wolf. Stoverstown will have a few more hours of rest. The Tigers take on the York (Young) Revolution at Stoverstown at 1 p.m.
In a nod to the teams from the New York area, this year the Kerrigan Tournament will allow teams to use either nine- or 10-man lineups. Teams will be able to play two designated hitters in the lineup, or they can play with nine players and a designated hitter, or they can play with a standard nine-man lineup.
“The New York teams wanted us to try it out so we (accommodated),” Schultz said. “They play with an extra hitter, so you can actually bat 10. It’s sort of like having two DHs if you want. It’s how they play up there and they pretty much gave us the ultimatum that if we don’t play this way, they won’t come down.”
Thoman didn’t sound excited about the prospect of using an extra hitter in his lineup. In fact he made a sound case for not going that way.
“If you have good hitters you don’t want an extra guy in the lineup,” Thoman said. “Because you won’t get up as many times.”
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.