HALLAM — In his first year as Hallam's manager, Mike Wecker is still getting to know little things about his players and team.
One thing he knew before taking over was that many ballplayers don't enjoy the game very much when the temperature outside climbs over 90 degrees.
A fact he was unaware of, however, seemed to be the perfect ingredient for a victory Sunday afternoon — throwing Travis Stump when the temperature is hot.
“I said something to Stumpy’s wife before the game about him pitching today,” Wecker said moments after watching Stump pitch a three-hit shutout to help Hallam claim a 4-0 triumph over visiting Conrads.
“I guess the heat index is supposed to be over 100 degrees today, but she said that he does real well when it’s hot out. So that made me feel real good and today. He was just unbelievable.”
While the Hallam southpaw was doing his thing on the mound — two walks, seven strikeouts — teammates Joe Pietrobone and Dan Wecker took care of the rest at the plate. Both Hallam players collected three hits and drove in a run to help the Express take the first game of a three-game set with Conrads.
“Stumpy’s been around a long time and I’ve been around watching him pitch a long time,” Conrads manager Chad Kennell said. “He’s tough. He settled in nicely.”
Owner of more than 100 victories during his 20-plus-year career, Stump may not have the fastball to match some younger flamethrowers in the area. But the crafty left-hander does have excellent control.
“I like to pitch on days like these,” Stump said. “It helps my arm stay looser.”
The only Conrads player that seemed to have a beat on Stump was Travis Hake. The Conrads veteran collected two hits, including a leadoff double to start the seventh. But with his teammates unable to do anything with Stump, Hake was left stranded on base both times.
“They have a lot of hitters in their lineup that can change the game,” Mike Wecker said. “I mean every single one of them. Now obviously Travis (Hake) got two bit hits, like he always does, but Stumpy kept them all in check.”
The Express didn’t seem to mind the heat at the plate too much either. Hallam collected 12 hits off of three Conrads pitchers, half of which came from Pietrobone and Dan Wecker. Zach Zambito and Alex Tucci also drove in runs in the victory.
For a veteran manager such as Kennell, the Conrads skipper is hoping that Sunday’s contest will serve as a wake-up call when his team hosts the Express on Wednesday for a Fourth of July doubleheader to finish the three-game set.
“We have some older guys, but we have a whole new bunch of young guys that are still learning the league a little,” Kennell said. “One thing they’re finding out is that it’s a long season, especially when compared to high school ball where you’re playing maybe 18 games in a season before you’re done."
Hallam improved to 16-8. Conrads fell to 14-9.
East Prospect 13, York Township 1: At East Prospect, Tyler Tubbs scattered 10 hits in a complete game, allowing the Pistons to sweep the doubleheader.
Tubbs struck out 10 and walked four.
The Pistons' offense was led by Thomas Taylor (three hits, three RBIs), Bren Taylor (two hits, three runs, RBI), Ryky Smith (two RBIs, three runs, two walks, hit) and Hunter McVey (two hits, two RBIs, run).
First-place East Prospect improved to 20-3.
Matthew Attig had three hits for Township, including a double, while Derek Pitzer had two hits and an RBI.
East Prospect 6, York Township 5: At East Prospect, Thomas Taylor's RBI single in the bottom of the seventh allowed East Prospect to walk off with the win in the first game of a doubleheader.
Taylor finished with two hits and two RBIs. The Pistons' other hitting leaders were Hunter McClintock (two hits, two walks, run) and Ryky Smith (two walks, two runs, hit). Hunter McVey pitched a complete game to get the win, striking out six.
Township was paced by Andy Freeburger (two hits, RBI, run) and Derek Pitzer (double, two RBIs).
Stewartstown 11, Windsor 0: At Windsor, James Klingerman pitched a four-hit shutout for the Vets, striking out eight.
Klingerman also excelled at the plate, doing 3 for 5, including a double, with two RBis and two runs scored.
Cody Brittain (three hits, homer, double, two RBIs, two runs), Jesse Brittain (three hits, double, two runs), Blake Kendrick (three hits, two RBIs, run) and Marcus Stevenson (two hits, two RBIs, run) also excelled for Stewartstown's 16-hit attack.
Spring Grove 7, Hanover 5: At Spring Grove, the home team jumped out to a 7-1 lead after three innings and then held on.
Patrick Anderson (two hits, double, two RBIs, run), Shane Kecken (two hits, two runs) and Zachary Kauffman (two hits, run) paced the Spring Grove attack.
Kauffman got the win, going five innings and allowing two earned runs with eight strikeouts. Michael Gorman added two innings one-hit, scoreless relief to get the save. Gorman struck out four.
Hunter Laugherman (two hits, RBI), Sam Duvall (two hits, RBI, run) and Kyle Bowman (two hits, two runs) led Hanover. Bowman also pitched 3 1/3 innings of one-hit, scoreless relief, striking out five.
Spring Grove improved to 6-6-1. Hanover fell to 3-8-1.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.