It certainly is starting to feel a little like the movie "Groundhog Day" in regard to the York County Championship Series.
For the third year in a row, Susquehanna League champ East Prospect (30-6) will do battle with Central League champ Stoverstown (22-5-2) for county supremacy.
Let’s take a quick look at each team as they prepare for the best-of-three series slated to begin Saturday Aug. 10, at Stoverstown. Games 2 and 3, if necessary, will be played Sunday Aug. 11, at East Prospect.
East Prospect: The Pistons, winners of each of the previous two YCC clashes with the Tigers, certainly appear to be rounding into championship form.
With an impressive 30-6 mark during the regular season, the Susquehanna League champs won their final nine regular-season contests mainly on strong pitching. East Prospect pitchers allowed just nine runs during that stretch, with five of those victories coming in shutouts.
For the season, East Prospect pitching surrendered just 71 runs while notching a 1.57 ERA.
Mike Specht led a staff with six pitchers who threw at least 30 innings this season. Specht finished with a perfect 6-0 mark and a 1.85 ERA.
Jeremy Sabathne led the staff in innings pitched with 45, while compiling a 4-1 record. Sabathne struck out a team-high 55 batters while tallying a 1.25 ERA.
Dylan Stoops, the ace of the staff, was just 3-2 on the season, but the southpaw still dominated. Stoops struck out 52 batters in 34 innings and allowed just 20 hits and 11 walks. His ERA of 1.24 was second best on the squad.
Nick Kreider led the Pistons with a 1.00 ERA. Kreider finished with a 3-1 mark and a save over 35 innings. He allowed just 20 hits and 15 walks while fanning 36.
While the pitching staff sparkled, East Prospect's hitters weren’t too bad themselves. The Pistons batted a collective .314 for the season with 23 home runs and 75 doubles.
Austin Denlinger, who played previously with Jefferson in the Central League, led the squad with a .370 average. Denlinger also led the Pistons with 14 doubles. He belted three home runs while collecting 22 RBIs.
Bren Taylor (.359), Tanner Forry (.339), Ryky Smith (.337), Jeremy Mohr (.325), Jordan Higgins (.311) and Dalton Renn (.303) all hit over .300 on the campaign. Higgins, another ex-Jefferson standout, Renn and Forry all tied for the team-high with four homers each.
Smith and veteran Mark Schauren led the Pistons with 24 RBIs, while Forry drove in 23.
Stoverstown: The Tigers used a combination of pitching and hitting to roll to the Central League title. Keep in mind that like all CL squads, Stoverstown played just 29 regular-season contests (East Prospect played 36 in comparison). Stoverstown won its last seven games of the regular season.
Levi Krause was arguably the most valuable player on the Tigers roster this season. The Spring Grove and California University of Pennsylvania grad contributed extensively as both a pitcher and hitter.
Krause led the pitching staff in innings pitched with 50. The right-hander compiled a 6-2 record while tallying a 2.52 ERA.
At the plate, Krause was just as impressive as he batted .370 with eight doubles, three home runs and 29 RBIs.
Zach Schuler, a 14-year member of the Stoverstown organization, led the team with a .403 average. Schuler belted six doubles to go with a homer while scoring 25 runs this year.
Matt Taylor (.396), Joe Capobianco (.393) and Xavier Bonilla (.309) all hit over .300 this season. Bonilla led the team with four homers while driving in 26 runs. Capobianco tied Krause for tops on the team with eight doubles while driving in 25.
Trevor Farrell, a Bowling Green University grad, led the Tigers staff with a 6-0 mark. Farrell also was on the mound for both of his team’s ties against Glen Rock this season. The right-hander stuck out a team-high 51 batters while compiling a 1.84 ERA.
Austin Rohlfing (1.21) and Jordan Lehman (1.80) also sported sub-2.00 ERAs this season. Rohlfing finished with a 3-0 record while allowing 11 hits and eight walks over 22 1/3 innings. Lehman tallied a 3-1 record while issuing just four walks over 20 innings.
History: The Pistons earned the organization’s first YCC title back in 2017 by sweeping the series against the Tigers (5-1, 6-1).
Stoverstown seemed to be in position to gain revenge last year after taking Game 1 by a 6-2 score. East Prospect, however, earned a pair of one-run victories in Games 2 and 3 the next day (4-3, 5-4) to repeat as champions.
Back on Memorial Day, the Tigers were able to scratch across a pair of runs late against Stoops, who shut the Stoverstown lineup down over the first five innings, A two-run single by Bonilla in the sixth inning drove in the game-winning runs in a 2-1 triumph.
— Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.