East Prospect earns another outright Susquehanna League regular-season championship
JEFFERSON – Over the course of the past five years, a matchup between East Prospect and Jefferson would have some fans dreaming of a York County Championship Series.
Wednesday evening, when those two clubs met up for a late-season interleague tussle, county title series bragging rights weren't on the line.
What was on the line, however, was something nearly as important for the Pistons – a fifth straight Susquehanna League regular-season crown.
It was a showdown that many were hoping would bring out the best in both sides. Unfortunately for the Titans, the battle was very one-sided. The visitors from East Prospect plated three runs in the top of the first inning, foreshadowing things to come.
The Pistons scored twice in each of the second, third, fourth and sixth innings to take away any suspense, rolling to a 12-3 triumph.
The victory sewed up another SL regular-season title for the Pistons, who improved to 23-7. The Titans dropped to 21-10-1.
“We were locked in,” EP veteran Ryky Smith said. “We haven’t been hitting the ball that good of late, so you can say we’ve been saving them up. And we picked a good time.”
The Pistons collected 19 hits, enabling the visitors to score runs in every inning except the fifth. Anthony Torreullas led the way with four hits and three RBIs, while Brett Alaimo and Dalton Renn each collected three.
The fact that Smith and his East Prospect cohorts weren’t able to celebrate on their home field was somewhat mitigated by the fact that they became the first SL team to ever clinch a regular-season SL title on a Central League field.
Of course interleague play has only been around for two seasons, so there weren’t exactly a ton of chances for a team to do so. Nonetheless, Smith and his peers enjoyed the celebration just as much.
“It feels real good,” Smith said with a smile.
The celebration: Moments later, Smith was one of the EP guys uncorking the celebratory champagne, making sure everyone either tasted or was spritzed with the bubbly.
“This feels good,” EP manager Mark Toomey said. “Nothing against (Jefferson). Those guys are a great team, but I was happy for my guys from Jefferson to win it down here.”
Austin Denlinger and Jordan Higgins were both members of the Titans a few years ago when Jefferson won a couple of Central League playoff titles as well as Tom Kerrigan Memorial Tournament crowns.
“I know that made it a little more special for them,” Toomey said.
In no mood to share: The Pistons were already assured of no worse than a share of the SL title after rival Windsor dropped their last two games of the season.
Despite that, the East Prospect guys were not in a mood to settle for sharing a title they’ve owned over the past half-decade.
“We wanted to win it tonight, 100 percent, so we came locked and loaded and came and got the win,” Smith said.
Butcher shines again: Tyler Butcher earned the victory for the Pistons. The right-hander pitched all seven innings, allowing seven hits and three runs.
In a season in which EP aces Dylan Stoops and Seth Lefever were mostly on the sidelines dealing with arm injuries, Butcher became one of the new aces of the pitching staff, along with Terry Godfrey.
“Butch has been our big dog for the last couple of weeks and we rode him,” Smith said. “He’s been really great for us. And he’s been getting better every year.”
Coming up: East Prospect has one make-up contest to play against the Brew Crew to finish off the season. That game is still listed as TBD.
Jefferson has been eliminated from winning the CL regular-season title chase after dropping their second game in a row. The Titans host the Brew Crew Thursday before completing the season with a pair of games Saturday against Stoverstown and Mechanicsburg.
CENTRAL LEAGUE GAME
Mechanicsburg 12, Pleasureville 0: At Pleasureville, Riley Shafer led the Cardinals to the road victory by starting the game on the mound and throwing six shutout innings, striking out 10, walking one and allowing four hits to pick up the win. Also for Mechanicsburg, Ryan Gray went 3 for 5, including a double, with two RBIs and two runs scored, while Brandt Cook went 2 for 3, including a double, with two RBIs and two runs scored. For the Hawks, Spencer Butz went 2 for 3, while teammate Ian Korn doubled. Mechanicsburg improved 26-6, while Pleasureville fell to 6-25. With the win, Mechanicsburg clinched at least a tie for the Central League regular-season crown.
Reach Steve Heiser at email@example.com.