Spring Grove sitting pretty in suspended District 3-AAA baseball game


SPRING GROVE — Spring Grove and Bishop McDevitt didn't complete enough innings on Monday to make their District 3-AAA baseball game official.

The Rockets, though, clearly got the best of the action during the first day of a contest that will require two days to finish.

No. 4 seed Spring Grove was leading 6-2, and was still batting in the bottom of the fourth inning, when the umpires called the game when a thunderstorm rolled through the area and dumped enough rain to make the field unplayable.

The teams will resume play at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at Spring Grove.

"I'm pleased with where we're at, but the game is not over," Spring Grove coach Kevin Stiffler said. "Baseball is a funny sport. You just never know."

After falling behind, 2-0, Stiffler's team answered with six unanswered runs and was at bat with the bases loaded and no outs in the fourth when play was halted.

"I was really proud of the way we came back after being down, 2-0," Stiffler said. "We took advantage of some of their miscues. (No. 13 seed Bishop McDevitt committed four errors). We talked to our guys about putting the ball in play. Austin Piety put the ball in play, and Anthony Reed did, too."

Both Piety and Reed scored runners from third base on groundouts during Spring Grove's three-run second inning. Cameron Sterner collected the only hit of the inning, and it was a key one, a two-out, two-strike double that scored Piety and snapped a 2-2 tie. A sophomore on a team loaded with underclassmen, Sterner connected on a 2-2 pitch and drove the ball beyond the reach of the left fielder.

"That was huge," Stiffler said. ""He got a pitch and did something with it."

Spring Grove (15-6) tacked on two additional runs in the third inning and one more in the abbreviated fourth inning. Meanwhile, Rockets' pitcher, Matt Brooks, settled in after giving up two runs in the first inning (both unearned).

"I felt a lot better as we got through a few innings," Brooks said.

The junior right-hander struck out six and walked one while holding the visitors (11-9) to two hits, both singles.

"I was really happy when we got two runs and when we got three in that one inning, I was really pumped about that," Brooks said.

Brooks couldn't wait to take the mound for the postseason game.

"I was antsy in school the whole day. I just wanted to get out here," he said.

Brooks is the only returning starter from last year's team that won the York-Adams Tournament title. Despite the major graduation losses, this year's team finished first in York-Adams Division I before losing a close game (3-2) to West York in the semifinals of this year's York-Adams Tournament.

"People were talking about us like we weren't going to do anything," Brooks said. "It shows that these sophomores and freshmen don't care who they're playing against."

Brooks will not return to the mound on Tuesday. Instead, Anthony Reed will take over in the top of the fifth. Should Spring Grove win, Brooks would be eligible to pitch on Thursday in the quarterfinal game.

"We'll have to see how he (Brooks) feels," Stiffler said. "But I'm not looking past these guys (Bishop McDevitt). They've won some big games."

— Reach Dick VanO'Linda at sports@yorkdispatch.com.