The middle of Stoverstown’s order is a handful for opposing pitchers.
Levi Krause, Chris Mattison and Nick Todero are always a threat to drive in runs. The three sluggers owned a combined .421 batting average in the Tigers’ first 23 games this season.
What makes pitching to those hitters even more difficult, however, is when the bottom of the order is clicking, which is exactly what happened in Stoverstown’s Central League game against Jefferson Sunday afternoon.
The bottom of Stoverstown’s lineup went 5 for 8 with two walks, two runs scored and two RBIs to lead the Tigers to a 7-1 win over the Titans at Memorial Park.
“It helps the team, and everybody feeds off each other,” Stoverstown manager Tim Thoman said. “It’s nice when you have an all-around ballclub.”
Jay Yeater went 3 for 4 in the No. 7 hole, while Tye Golden and Nate Harmon both went 1 for 2. Harmon also had two walks.
“Pitchers are really worried about our (No.) 3, 4 and 5 hitters — the heart of our lineup,” Yeater said. “We have guys like Chris (Mattison) up there, guys who can drive the ball really far. But the guys at the bottom are more than capable of driving the ball too, and I think pitchers forget about that.”
Jefferson misses early opportunity: Jefferson (8-9-1) threatened with the bats early, putting two runners in scoring position with one out in the top of the first inning. Stoverstown pitcher Ryan Kehr, who only had three innings pitched on the season entering Sunday, struck out the next two batters to escape the jam.
“We’ve been struggling offensively this year,” Jefferson manager Pat Schultz said. “It was important for us to have a good start, and I thought we had something going there. We had two guys on that first inning, but we couldn’t get them across. If we put a ball in play there, maybe we push a run across.”
“Just getting out of that jam was nice,” said Kehr, a former pitcher at Eastern University. “This team is a really solid hitting team, so I figured getting ahead in the count would lead to success today.”
Kehr gets win: Kehr was the winning pitcher, allowing four hits and one run in six innings. He struck out five and walked one.
“He was hitting his spots really well and changing speeds,” said Yeater, Kehr’s catcher. “He just kept hitters off balance all day, and that’s the key to pitching.”
The Tigers (21-2-1) drew first blood in the third when Todero hit a sacrifice fly to score Krause. The Titans responded in the next half inning, when Sam Becker blooped a dying-quail single down the right-field line to score Joe Jasinski, who led off the inning with a double.
The bottom of Stoverstown’s order then ignited a three-run rally in the fourth, when Yeater, Harmon and Golden each hit singles to start the frame. After Golden’s single scored Yeater, Brandon Warner singled home Harmon, and Krause doubled home Warner to give the Tigers a 4-1 lead.
“They’re really solid top to bottom,” Schultz said. “The mindset is that you can’t give them anything. You have to play a tight game and play smart. If you give them an inch, they’ll take six more.”
Becker was the losing pitcher, allowing four runs (three earned) and eight hits in four innings.
Yeater continued his hot day in the fifth, singling home Todero, who led off the inning with a double.
Mattison a key pickup: Mattison, a 16th-round draft pick by the San Diego Padres in 2016, hit a double to score Zach Schuler in the sixth. Todero then slapped an RBI groundout to score Mattison, who went 2 for 3 with two doubles, a walk and a stolen base.
“(Mattison) fills out the middle of that order great. He’s been a phenomenal pick up for us this year,” Thoman said. “With him, (Krause) and Todero, if I was a pitcher, I wouldn’t want to face my lineup too often.”
Krause pitched a scoreless seventh for the Tigers. He allowed a single but still retired the side in order with a double-play ball and a strikeout to end the game.
The Tigers pounded 14 hits, with all nine starters getting base hits.
“There’s no weak spot in our order,” Yeater said. “Top to bottom, everybody can hit.”
Glen Rock 7, Mount Wolf 3: At Mount Wolf, Justin Anderson pitched a complete-game eight-hitter to get the win, allowing two earned runs while striking out three.
At the plate, Anderson had a double with two RBIs and a run scored. Dan Rogers also had a double and two RBIs for the winners.
Jesse Sargen had two hits and a run scored for Mount Wolf.
Donovan Oaks started and pitched 4 1/3 innings for the Wolves and didn't allow an earned run. Mount Wolf committed five errors leading to six unearned runs.
Manchester 9, Vikings 8: At Manchester, Adam Kipp and Matt Jordan each went 2 for 4 with two RBIs to power the home team to the win.
One of Kipp's hits was a double.
Anthony Kahley led the Vikings with three hits, including a double.