The reward for winning the regular-season titles in the Central and Susquehanna leagues is a berth in the York County Baseball Championship Series.
East Prospect, the champion of the Susquehanna League, led from wire-to-wire over the 32-game regular season. The Pistons started the season on a 10-game winning-streak before finishing up with an impressive 24-8 record overall.
The journey to the regular-season crown was not nearly as easy for Stoverstown. The Tigers used an eight-game winning-streak in July to overtake Jefferson atop the Central standings.
While Stoverstown remained in first place from that point on, both Manchester and the Titans forced the Tigers to earn the title with late-season runs. Stoverstown finished the season with a 25-10-0 record (75 points), which bested both rivals by two points.
Now the Tigers and Pistons will battle to earn the York County title. The best-of-three series begins with Game 1 Saturday, Aug. 26, in Stoverstown at 1:30 p.m. Game 2 and Game 3, if necessary, will take place Sunday, Aug. 27, in East Prospect. Game 2 will start at 1 p.m., with Game 3 taking place immediately afterwards, if needed.
Here’s a preview of what to expect.
Stoverstown: The Tigers earned their stripes this season in large part because of a lineup that was both balanced and effective. As a team, Stoverstown hit .321 for the season while scoring 215 runs, third best in the Central League.
Catcher and clean-up man Austin Botts led the way for the Tigers. Botts hit a team-best .521 while smashing nine home runs, which was tops on the squad. Botts also drove in a team-high 33 runs.
Levi Krause batted .358 with 31 RBIs while appearing in every game this year for Stoverstown. Austin Rickrode, who joined the team after Dover folded, was right behind Krause with a .354 average to go with four home runs and 28 RBIs.
Both Nick Spangler and Nick Todero proved to be valuable despite playing in less than half of the team’s games. In 14 games, Spangler batted .457 with three home runs and 19 RBIs, while Todero hit at a .415 clip over 16 contests.
Stoverstown’s offense helped out a pitching staff that completed the season with a 4.24 ERA. The Tigers allowed 133 runs for the season, third lowest in the Central League.
Jordan Lehman, who commutes to games from the Pine Grove area, will start in Game 1. The right-hander went 4-2 this season with a 4.50 ERA over 36 innings.
Daryl Harang tallied a 6-1 record over 64 innings. The southpaw walked only 10 batters this season while tallying a 2.53 ERA.
Krause was a workhorse for the Tigers. While pitching only 56 innings, the right-hander appeared in 17 games for Stoverstown. The California University of Pennsylvania senior won eight games to go with two saves while throwing for a 2.57 ERA.
East Prospect: The Pistons' offense really hit its stride during the Susquehanna playoffs. After scoring 191 runs during the 32-game regular season, which was fourth-best in the league, East Prospect racked up an impressive 66 runs over seven games during an unbeaten run through the playoffs.
For the season, the Pistons hit .329 as a team. Anthony Torreullas led East Prospect with a .397 average. Ryky Smith wasn’t far behind. The former Penn Stater batted .384. Each player drove in 27 runs.
Dalton Renn led the team with eight home runs. Renn, who played in the York County Championship Series last year with Hallam, hit .320 with a team-high 34 RBIs.
Tanner Forry only played in 28 games, but the Dallastown grad hit seven home runs to go with 31 RBIs while batting .366. Forry, however, will not be available after returning to school at Wingate University last week.
Like Spangler and Todero for Stoverstown, Ryan Smith has proven to be a boost for the Pistons. The Lancaster County native appeared in just 21 games, but he hit .484 in 62 at-bats.
While the offensive numbers are impressive, the Pistons' hallmark this season was a dominating pitching staff. East Prospect led the Susquehanna League with a 2.23 ERA after allowing just 84 runs.
Seth Lefever took over as the team’s ace this year. The southpaw went 12-0 in 14 appearances with a 2.10 ERA. Lefever struck out 88 while walking 22 in nearly 87 innings of work.
Terry Godfrey finished with a 6-1 mark including one save over nearly 50 innings. Godfrey struck out 41 while tallying a 2.25 ERA.
Dylan Stoops, whose appearances have been limited after he moved to Virginia, still won five games in six appearances. The Richmond University grad posted an ERA of just 0.34 after allowing just two runs over 41 innings.
Mark Androconis won five games with a 1.94 ERA over 36 innings for the Pistons.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.