East Prospect earns 2 wins Sunday vs. Hallam to even Susquehana playoff title series

STEVE HEISER
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  • The best-of-five Susquehanna League playoff title series is tied at 2-2.
  • East Prospect won a pair of games Sunday after Hallam had won the opening two games.
  • The fifth-and deciding game is set for 5:45 p.m. Tuesday at East Prospect.
East Prospect's Ryky Smith (11) is congratulated after scoring by teammate Austin Denlinger against Hallam in Game 4 of the Susquehanna League Baseball Playoff Championship Series at Spry Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021. Bill Kalina photo

The Hallam Express had the East Prospect Pistons on the ropes.

Then the Pistons responded just the way you would expect a champion to respond.

EP, which has won five consecutive regular-season Susquehanna League baseball championships, fell behind Hallam 2-0 in the best-of-five 2021 SL playoff title series. Then the Pistons earned a pair of victories on Sunday at Shryock Field to even the series at 2-2 and force a fifth-and-deciding game at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday at EP.

Hallam took Game 1 by a 7-5 margin in a contest that started Thursday and concluded Saturday in EP. Hallam also won Game 2 in EP on Saturday, 8-1. Then on Sunday at Shryock, EP claimed 5-4 and 19-3 victories.

In Sunday’s 19-3 rout, EP pounded out 19 hits and Jeremy Sabathne pitched a complete-game five-hitter to get the win. The Pistons’ attack was paced by Brett Alaimo (four hits, two doubles, four RBIs, three runs), Dalton Renn (four hits, three RBIs, two runs), Jordan Higgins (three hits, double, four RBIs, two runs), Devin Strickler (three hits, three runs), Mark Schauren (two hits, two RBIs, two runs) and Mike Specht (double, two RBIs, run). Jimmy Spanos led Hallam with two hits, including a homer, with three RBIs and a run scored.

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In Sunday’s 5-4 EP victory, Josh Kreider pitched a complete game to get the victory. The Express offense was led by Alaimo (three hits, RBI), Drake Renn (three hits, RBI), Specht (two hits, two RBIs, run) and Strickler (two hits). Hallam’s offense was paced by Dan Wecker (two hits, double, RBI, run), Spanos (two hits, RBI) and Zach Zambito (hit, two RBIs).

In Hallam’s 8-1 win on Saturday, Alex Tucci pitched a complete-game six-hitter, striking out seven and walking four to get the win. The Hallam attack by paced by Wecker (two doubles, RBI, run), Angel Matias (double, three RBIs, walk, run), Matt Ruth (two hits, two walks, RBI, run), Spanos (three hits, RBI, run) and Zambito (two hits, run). Strickler had three hits for EP and Ryky Smith had two walks, a hit and an RBI. Nick Kreider pitched a complete game, but got the loss.

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In Hallam's 7-5 win that spanned Thursday and Saturday, the Express scored four runs in the top of the seventh to erase a 5-3 EP lead. Wecker had two RBIs for Hallam, while Zambito had two hits. Eric McNeil and Tucci each doubled for the Express. Tucci scored two runs. EP was paced by Specht (two hits, double, RBI), Smith (solo homer, two walks), Dalton Renn (double, RBI, run), Strickler (two walks, two runs, hit) and Austin Denlinger (double). EP starter Tyler Butcher went six innings and allowed one earned run with five strikeouts and a walk. Owen Shimmel excelled in relief for Hallam, going 3 2/3 innings and allowing no earned runs to get the win. Matt Ruth scored a scoreless seventh to get the save.

Reach Steve Heiser at sheiser@yorkdispatch.com.