The timing of the York County Baseball Championship Series has long been an issue for the players and teams involved.
The series annually pits the regular-season champions of the Susquehanna and Central leagues against one another.
Normally, the championship teams squared off the weekend before the Tom Kerrigan Memorial Tournament, which is annually held on Labor Day weekend.
Many times, both squads ended up playing for their league playoff titles the week before the county title series. Occasionally, however, one team got knocked out before that point. The team in that situation, by virtue of losing early in the league playoffs, then had the added advantage of extra rest before playing the biggest series of the season.
That didn't always sit well.
That possibility won't exist this year.
The leagues, with the help of Mother Nature, were able to fit in the county title series before either squad will take part in their respective league playoffs.
The Susquehanna League took the unusual step of giving its regular-season champion, East Prospect, a first-round by in its league playoffs this year.
The Central League, meanwhile, normally gives byes to both its champ (Stoverstown) and runner-up (Glen Rock) in the first round. This year, however, the Central League opted to follow the Susquehanna League's lead by giving just the Tigers a bye this year.
The ultimate result looks to be a championship series in which neither side will have any rest advantage.
Game 1 in the best-of-three county title series is slated for 1:30 p.m. Saturday at East Prospect, while Game 2 will begin at 1 p.m. Sunday at Stoverstown. Game 3, if necessary, will follow about a half hour after the end of Game 2, again at Stoverstown.
East Prospect: After claiming the organization's first-ever county title a year ago, the Pistons (26-9) are hoping to make it two straight.
Much like they did after sweeping the Tigers last year, the Susquehanna champs will look to ride the dominating arms of Dylan Stoops and Seth Lefever to another crown.
Stoops, who lives in Virginia now, was able to play in the requisite number of contests this season to qualify for the county series. Playing on weekends, Stoops was able to start two games — both victories — while allowing just two runs over 12 innings for a 1.17 ERA.
Lefever was again the workhorse for the Pistons. The Shippensburg University product started 10 games, winning eight of them, while throwing a team-high 69 innings. Lefever held opposing batters to a .257 average while fanning 46.
If needed, Hunter McVey (4-0, 2.25 ERA) and Tyler Tubbs (5-2, 3.58 ERA) both proved capable arms for an East Prospect staff that sported a 3.14 ERA for the season.
Offensively, the Pistons are led by the duo of Ryky Smith and Bren Taylor. Smith led the Pistons with 17 doubles, three homers and 47 RBIs while hitting at a .456 clip. Taylor, an Eastern York standout, paced EP with a .487 average while collecting 15 doubles, one homer and 30 RBIs.
Despite a dip in power numbers this year, the Pistons made up for it with speed. Both Hunter McClintock and Nathan Loser proved to be troublesome for opponents on the base paths. McClintock swiped a team-high 24 bases while scoring a team-best 39 runs. Loser snagged 11 bases in 12 attempts while scoring 22 times.
Stoverstown: While the Pistons' pitching staff has been remarkable, the Tigers' pitchers have been even more remarkable, at least statistically.
Stoverstown's team ERA for the season sits at 1.77 after allowing just 56 runs (42 earned) over 31 contests, 14 of which were shutouts.
Kyle Raubenstine, Anthony Lippy, Nate Harmon and Chris Mattison have all proven to be lights out in their first years with the Tigers (26-4-1).
Raubenstine, a South Western grad, threw a team-high 46 1/3 innings while going 7-2 with a 2.52 ERA. Lippy, a New Oxford alum, went 5-1 with a 0.51 ERA over 35 innings.
Harmon, a former roommate of Mattison's, allowed just four runs over 36 innings for a 1.00 ERA, while Mattison fanned 33 over 19 innings with a 0.95 ERA.
Not to be forgotten are longtime standouts Levi Krause (5-0, 1.93 ERA) and Daryl Harang (2-1, 1.88 ERA). Krause or Harang would likely be the aces of any other pitching staff in either league.
While the Tigers have a very tough pitching staff, their offense is nearly as stout. Stoverstown hit .310 this season while scoring 181 runs.
Mattison, who briefly played in the San Diego Padres organization with Stoops a few years back, has been a monster with the bat all year long. The Lancaster Catholic grad paced the team with a .529 average that included a team-high four homers and 32 RBIs.
Austin Botts (.368, three homers, 26 RBIs), Krause (.370, one homer, 24 RBIs) and Zach Schuler (.342, 13 RBIs) have all proven to be dangerous with the bats this season. The Tigers have some speed as well. The squad has swiped 56 bases in 60 attempts.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.