HEISER: West York baseball team enjoys major turnaround
- West York has won five straight York-Adams League contests.
- The Bulldogs lead Y-A Division II with a 10-3 record.
- West York can clinch the outright Y-A D-II title with a win at Gettysburg on Wednesday.
It's a story that's flown under the radar a bit, but now it can no longer be ignored.
Just more than two weeks ago, on the morning of Monday, April 24, the Bulldogs looked like a team headed nowhere. They were 5-7 overall and 5-3 in York-Adams Division II. They sat three games behind Gettysburg in the division standings. The Warriors, meanwhile, were rolling at 9-1 overall and 8-0 in the division.
West York's District 3 Class 4-A playoff hopes also looked remote, at best.
In the intervening period, however, West York's outlook has taken a dramatic surge for the better.
With a victory at Gettysburg on Wednesday afternoon in the regular-season finale for both teams, coach Scott Erickson's crew will claim the outright Division II championship and a York-Adams League playoff berth. They'll also take a giant stride toward making the District 3 Class 4-A playoffs.
How did all that happen in such a short period of time?
Well, West York went on a serious run in league play, while Gettysburg suddenly started to struggle.
Now, after five consecutive league triumphs, West York leads D-II at 10-3 and can do no worse than tie for the division championship. Gettysburg, meanwhile, abruptly lost the magic touch it displayed early in the season, when it won a series of close games, including a 4-3 decision at West York on April 12.
So, as we enter Wednesday's showdown, the scuffling Warriors sit at 9-4 in the division and 11-6 overall. They have lost four of their last five in league play.
With a win on Wednesday, however, Gettysburg can still earn a share of the D-II crown and also claim the D-II berth into the league playoffs because it will own the tiebreaker over West York by virtue of two head-to-head wins over the Bulldogs.
District impact: In addition, there will be more than just York-Adams League considerations at stake on Wednesday.
The Bulldogs (10-9 overall) currently sit at No. 10 in the latest District 3 Class 4-A power ratings. Only the top 10 teams in the final power ratings will make the district 4-A playoff field.
A victory over the Class 5-A Warriors will go a long way to help ensure that West York makes the district playoffs. A loss to Gettysburg, however, would deal the Bulldogs' district hopes a serious blow.
The game is also vital for Gettysburg's district dreams. The Warriors are 11th in the latest district 5-A power ratings. A win over West York would solidify their spot in the 14-team 5-A field. A loss, however, would likely put Gettysburg on the district bubble.
Gettys key to Bulldogs' turnaround: Pitching, led by senior left-hander Zach Gettys, has been the key to West York's recent league run. In the last five league games, West York has allowed just 10 runs, and that includes six runs allowed in Monday's 7-6 thriller over York Suburban.
Gettys has been absolutely dominant during that run, picking up four of those wins. In those four appearances, Gettys has pitched 22 innings and allowed just two earned runs and eight hits, while striking out 30. His ERA during that span is a microscopic 0.64. For the season, Gettys is 8-0 with a 1.36 ERA. He's also hitting .469 with a .558 on-base percentage, 14 RBIs and 19 runs scored.
In Monday's win vs. Suburban, Gettys threw 26 pitches in a shutout relief effort, meaning he will have the required one day of rest before Wednesday's showdown, which makes him eligible to pitch against Gettysburg.
Put it all together, and Wednesday's showdown has all the ingredients for a great day of baseball.
If West York can collect its sixth straight league triumph, it would also finish off an amazing charge to the division championship.
It would also qualify the Bulldogs as 2017's undisputed Team Turnaround.
Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.