TUESDAY'S ADULT BASEBALL: Tyler Butcher's no-hitter leads East Prospect to showdown win

RYAN VANDERSLOOT
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East Prospect's Tyler Butcher pitches against Windsor during Susquehanna League baseball action in East Prospect, Tuesday, July 20, 2021. East Prospect would win the game 1-0. Dawn J. Sagert photo

EAST PROSPECT — Because of all of the outstanding pitchers that East Prospect has produced over the past five-plus seasons, there are a few who get overlooked.

Dylan Stoops, who played professionally with the San Diego organization, and Seth Lefever have often taken the ball in big games for the Pistons during that span.

With neither in line to pitch Tuesday evening, the door was opened for one of those less-heralded hurlers.

Tyler Butcher gave everything he had when his East Prospect club squared off against Windsor in a battle of Susquehanna League leaders. The right-hander thoroughly dominated the Cardinals lineup all game long.

That was also the case, too, for Windsor starter Zach Gettys, who traded putting up zeroes on the board with Butcher over the first six innings.

After Butcher finished off his seventh inning without allowing a hit, the Pistons were finally able to get their standout the first no-hitter of his SL career. With two outs in the seventh, Brett Alaimo lofted a single into center to score the game-winning and only run of the night as the Pistons celebrated a walk-off 1-0 triumph.

EP improved to a SL-best 21-6 on the season, while the Cards dropped a game behind the Pistons at 19-6.

“I was just trying to get something I could put in play,” said Alaimo. “Just get something on the ground that I could try to leg out. I didn’t want to fly out.”

Alaimo’s game-winner came off Windsor reliever Seth Gladfelter, who relieved Gettys because of his pitch count. The Pistons' leadoff man dropped his liner perfectly between the second baseman, shortstop and centerfielder and skipped around first base as his teammates mobbed him on the infield.

“First place,” he said with a big smile. “Butchey gave us seven innings. It’s just crazy.”

Without Alaimo’s heroics, Butcher likely would have had to face the Windsor lineup one more time in the eighth.

Fortunately, he didn’t have too.

“I think I had one more in me,” said Butcher, who needed 84 pitches for his no-hit effort. “The adrenaline was pumping. I was in a rhythm all night and that just carried on through the game.”

The only real drama that Butcher faced came in the sixth inning. After issuing his second walk, Butcher faced Cardinals catcher Drew Bechtold with the go-ahead run on second.

Much like he did all night, however, Butcher remained in control, fanning Bechtold to collect one of his seven strikeouts.

“I love pitching in big games,” Butcher said. “And tonight, there was a lot of pressure, but I think that helped me step it up and become a better pitcher.”

Pistons finally back in first: The victory finally put the four-time defending SL champs in the top spot of the standings for the first time since early in the campaign. While nothing has been assured yet, the Pistons can help give themselves some additional room at the top when they travel to Windsor Thursday to wrap up the three-game series.

“We got one more left with them Thursday,” said Alaimo, who is in the midst of his first year with EP since moving over from Jacobus. “That one is big … probably for the league. If we win we should be taking it pretty much.”

The outcome threw a big wrench into the Cardinals' hopes of capturing their first SL title under longtime skipper Nate Neff. The winningest manager in league history, Neff has yet to manage a team to the regular-season title in his more than two decades at the helm.

“It’s tough when you don’t get any hits,” Neff said of Tuesday’s contest. “(Butcher) is a real good pitcher and they’re a real good team. Four-time defending champs. You gotta beat 'em to get it.”

Before the Cards get a chance at the Pistons Thursday, they have an interleague makeup game Wednesday with Pleasureville of the Central League. Interleague games count in the standings, so Wednesday’s clash with the Hawks is just as important as Thursday’s game to Neff and his club.

“We’ll focus on (Pleasureville) tomorrow,” Neff said. “Have to take them one at a time.”

OTHER SUSQUEHANNA LEAGUE GAMES

Jacobus 2, York Township 0: At Township, Mike Crowe pitched a four-hit shutout for the Jackals, striking out five and walking two. Christopher Keefer led Jacobus’ offense with two hits, an RBI and a run scored. Jacobus’ Michael Godfrey doubled and drove in a run. Hunter Thomas pitched a five-hit complete game for Township, striking out eight and walking one. Thomas allowed one earned run, but took the loss. Nicholas Hardesty had two doubles for Township, while Jeff Deveney had two singles.

Hallam 4, Felton 3: At Hallam, Matthew Carta got the win and Matt Ruth got the save for the Express (16-12). Carta pitched six innings and gave up four hits and three runs. He struck out eight and walked one. Ruth pitched a shutout seventh. Zach Zambito (three hits, run), Kerry Clark (two hits, RBI), Dan Wecker (two hits, run), Jimmy Spanos (two hits, RBI), Eric McNeil (two walks, RBI, run) and Alex Tucci (double, run) paced the Hallam offense. Felton was led by Isaiah Shaeffer (two hits, two RBIs) and Hunter Stewart (double, RBI, run).

Conrads 3, Stewartstown 2: At Conrads, Alex Palmer’s RBI single in the bottom of the seventh gave Conrads the walk-off win. Conrads, which had just two hits, got a walk and two RBIs from Jaron Shimmel. Randy Stewart got the win with one-third inning of shutout relief. Conrads starter Steve Lehman allowed one earned run over 6 2/3 innings, striking out eight, walking two and allowing four hits. Stewartstown’s Riley Thomas had two hits and a run scored. Stewartstown pitchers Jordan Rhodes and Jason Williams combined for 13 strikeouts. Rhodes struck out 11 in 4 2/3 innings, allowing zero earned runs and one hit, while walking three. Williams took the loss, allowing one run in 1 2/3 innings of relief.

CENTRAL LEAGUE GAMES

Stoverstown 10, Brew Crew 0: At Stoverstown, Levi Krause and Kyle Raubenstine combined on a six-hit shutout for Stoverstown (18-8). Krause went five innings and allowed six hits, striking out three and walking one to get the win. Raubenstine pitched two innings of hitless, shutout relief, striking out two and walking two. Stoverstown’s offense was led by Brandon Warner (three hits, double, two runs), Xavier Bonilla (two hits, double, two RBIs, run), Zach Schuler (two hits, double, two RBIs, run), Jack Barry (homer, three RBIs, run), Krause (two hits) and Nick Spangler (hit, two runs). Matt Osgoodby doubled for Brew Crew.

Glen Rock 9, Pleasureville 4: At Pleasureville, the visitors improved to 19-7. The Rock’s offense was led by Scott Merkel (two hits, double, two RBIs, run), Connor Hood (two hits, double, RBI, run), Trevor Walzl (two hits, double, run), Justin Anderson (homer, two RBIs, run), Jonathan Lugo (double, walk, two runs) and Alex Hess (double, RBI, run). Alex Coombes pitched four innings and allowed three runs to get the win. Hood pitched the final three innings and allowed one run to get the save. Pleasureville was paced by Tommy Bramley (two hits, homer, two RBIs, run), Spencer Butz (two hits, run) and Tyler Wagner (homer).

Manchester 6, Mount Wolf 5: At Manchester, Justin Lichtenwalner’s RBI double in the bottom of the sixth broke a 5-5 tie. Lichtenwalner finished with two hits, two runs scored and a walk. Other offensive standouts for Manchester (16-10) were Austin Allison (double, two RBIs, walk, run) and Matt Jordan (hit, two RBIs). Michael Houseal pitched 1 1/3 innings of shutout relief to get the win. Mount Wolf was paced by Brinden Floyd (two hits, RBI, run), Nick Sprenkle (two hits, double, run), Grant Hoover (double, walk, RBI, run) and Steve Pokopec (double, RBI, run).

Mechanicsburg 5, Dillsburg 1: At Dillsburg, Mechanicsburg’s Kyle Ostot pitched a two-hit complete game, striking out six and walking one. He didn’t allow an earned run. Logan Sauve led Mechanicsburg’s offense with three hits, including two doubles, with an RBI and a run scored. Maika Niu homered for the Cardinals. Kenny Runkel doubled with an RBI for Dillsburg. Tyler Yohn also doubled for Dillsburg. Mechanicsburg improved to 18-5.

Reach Steve Heiser at sheiser@yorkdispatch.com.