LOCAL BASEBALL ROUNDUP: Stoverstown opens 2020 season with shutout over Manchester
- The Central and Susquehanna leagues started their 2020 seasons on Saturday.
- Both baseball leagues had been scheduled to open up in early May.
- Both leagues saw their seasons delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
MANCHESTER – It was a long time coming, but the opening day of the 2020 adult baseball season officially began with the start of summer on Saturday morning.
“It’s good to have baseball back,” Stoverstown manager Tim Thoman said.
Indeed it was.
Dozens of fans, eager to watch the return of competition in person, were certainly pleased when Thoman’s Tigers took on the host Indians of Manchester for a 10:30 a.m. Central League contest.
While the result — a 3-0 triumph by the defending champions from Stoverstown — was important, it wasn’t nearly as big to the players, coaches, umpires and fans as the return of the nation’s pastime to the local sandlots. It was a significant step toward a return to normalcy in the days of COVID-19.
Baseball and some organized sports activities were recently given the OK to start when York County entered the green phase of the state's COVID-19 recovery program. The local adult baseball season had been scheduled to start in early May. Now the Central League is embarking on a shortened season.
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“It’s an unfortunate situation that we all went through in this country and the world,” Thoman said. “And hopefully we’ll get through this. All we can do is just hope and pray that all goes well.”
Stoverstown pitchers dominate: They certainly did for Thoman’s club in the opener. Pitchers Trevor Farrell and Joe Yourgal combined on a two-hit shutout in a low-scoring affair.
The Tigers broke a scoreless affair in the fourth inning with the help of some Manchester miscues. A throwing error on a stolen-base attempt by Xavier Bonilla moved the Stoverstown designated hitter to third base before Yourgal smoked a single to left to bring in the game’s first run.
The visitors added a pair of runs in the fifth when Pete Capobianco doubled in Brendan Warner. Capobianco, who moved to third on the throw home trying the nab Warner, later scored on a sacrifice fly by Nick Spangler to make it 3-0.
Those runs were more than enough for Farrell, who proved to be effectively wild. The Stoverstown right-hander walked four and hit and batter, but surrendered just one hit — a fifth-inning single by Brandon Wetzel.
Pitchers ahead of hitters: Neither team was able to kick their respective offenses in gear, which surprised neither Thoman nor Manchester skipper Dave Miller. With many players only having a handful of practices under their belts this year, the pitchers certainly held the upper-hand.
“The pitchers are usually ahead of the hitters early in the season,” Miller said. “And especially now since the hitters haven’t really seen live pitching in some time.”
With the season truncated to 24 games this year in the nine-team Central League, the Tigers and Indians will square off just twice more before the four-team playoffs begin in August.
Neither manager, however, was worried too much about that on the first day of summer.
“It was definitely good to get out and see all of the ballplayers,” Thoman said.
“Everyone was really enthusiastic to get back out here,” Miller added. “After a couple of months of the stay-at-home orders, it was really nice to finally be able to get out and do some things.”
One thing that neither side was able to do after the final out was the customary “good game” high-fives. The teams instead opted to bump elbows in a nod toward retaining a sportsmanlike postgame practice.
“We’re in unchartered territory,” Miller said. “Nobody knows what to do sometimes, but we’ll get acclimated to the new normal in the future.”
Notes: The Central League will play, weather-permitting, contests this season on Tuesday and Thursday evenings as well as Saturday mornings. The evening games are slated for 6 p.m. starts, while the Saturday contests, like they did this past weekend, will begin at 10:30 a.m. In addition, a handful of games are also slated for Sunday afternoons.
Jefferson 4, Dillsburg 3 (eight innings): At Dillsburg, Jefferson plated a run in the top of the eighth on an error to grab the win.
Brodey Neveker tripled and had two RBIs for the Titans, while Sam Crater doubled. Crater also got the win in relief, pitching two one-hit innings and allowing one run. He struck out four without a walk.
A three-run homer by Tony Sponseller in the bottom of the seventh erased a three-run Jefferson lead and forced extra innings. Sponseller finished two of Dillsburg's three hits.
Mount Wolf 7, Pleasureville 0: At Pleasureville, Joe Harris and Kevin Ehrman combined on a two-hit shutout for the Wolves.
Harris went six innings, striking out nine and walking one. Ehrman pitched a hitless, scoreless seventh. Grant Hoover homered for the Wolves and drove in two runs. Andrew Srebroski also drove in two runs. Steve Pokopec doubled with a run scored and an RBI.
Tyler Wagner doubled for Pleasureville.
Glen Rock 4, Vikings 3 (12 innings): At Glen Rock, a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the 12th gave the home team the marathon win.
James Wiercinski pitched four innings of one-hit shutout relief to get the win, striking out nine without a walk. Steve Cooke pitched eighth innings of three-hit ball in a no-decision for Glen Rock, striking out eight with four walks. The two GR pitchers combined for 17 strikeouts.
Trevor Walzl had two doubles and two RBIs to lead the GR offense. Justin Anderson added two hits and two runs scored for the winners, while Jonathan Lugo added two hits.
Matt Knisley took the loss despite allowing only one run over 5 1/3 innings. Shane Haffner also pitched 2 1/3 innings of shutout relief for Vikings. Cole Bixler doubled and drove in a run for Vikings.
East Prospect 11, Windsor 6: At Windsor, the defending Susquehanna League champions got off to a strong start, with some help from the home team.
Windsor pitchers gave up seven walks and the Windsor defense committed five errors. Bren Taylor, Austin Denlinger and Devin Strickler each had two RBIs for EP. Ryan Smith added three runs scored and an RBI. Taylor and Mark Schauren each added two runs scored. Jeremy Sabathne pitched a complete game to get the win, settling down after allowing five first-inning runs.
Brandon White led Windsor with a grand slam in the first inning that helped give the home team a short-lived 5-1 lead. White finished with two hits, as did Windsor's Cole Daugherty. Shawn Wilson and Daugherty each doubled.
York Township 2, Hallam 1: At Township, Bryce Eberly and James Striebig cobmined on a four-hitter for YT.
Eberly went five innings to get the win, allowing zero earned runs. He struck out five and walked one. Striebig pitched two shutout innings for the save. Matt Attig and Roberto Barranca each doubled for the winners. Barranca and Dennis Porter had RBIs.
Colby Shimmel pitched a complete-game five-hitter for Hallam, but took the loss, striking out four and walking two. Kerry Clark had Hallam's RBI.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.