The Dallastown baseball team hasn't won a York-Adams League Division I title since 2012.
So, in a year when it's off to one of its best starts in recent seasons, there are always two or three games that will serve as a measuring stick to see just how good the Wildcats truly are this year. On Monday, they got one of those games, when they played host to Northeastern, the top team in Division II. The Bobcats entered with a 9-3 record overall, including 6-2 in league play.
If Monday's 9-1 home win for Dallastown (10-2 overall, 9-1 Division I) is any indication, then this Wildcats team is definitely for real.
"I think Northeastern has a very good baseball team this year," Wildcats coach Greg Kinneman said. "For us, it was a good measuring stick to see where we are at this point in time, and I know they're going to bounce back and they're going to make a run at that Division II title in the next two or three weeks or so."
Dallastown showed off everything you want to see out of a potential division championship team against the Bobcats. The Wildcats got timely hitting throughout the game, scoring all nine runs with two outs in an inning. Starting pitcher Riley Hamberger hardly had his A-stuff to open the game, yet still continued to put up zeroes on the scoreboard. And the defense backed him up when the ball was put in play, only committing one error, which came in the seventh inning when the game was already in hand.
In fact, it was Hamberger who set the tone of the game. With Northeastern jumping all over his fastball in the first inning, the Bobcats loaded the bases with three singles and just one out. However, Hamberger struck out the next two hitters, part of a three-strikeout opening frame, to keep Northeastern off the scoreboard and his team still on level terms.
"Today, I didn't have my best stuff all game and it was just a grind out there trying to make pitches when I could," he said. "I made some big pitches when I needed to, but they were all over my fastball and really started to adjust to my off speed, but I just grinded."
All Hamberger could do was keep the Bobcats off the board until the Wildcats got their bats going. That first instance came in the bottom of the third, when Brandon White delivered a two-run single with two outs to open up a 2-0 lead for Dallastown. Then, in the bottom of the fourth, Nick Parker made it 4-0 Wildcats with a two-run single, which wound up with him standing on third base after a fielding error.
By that point, Hamberger was in complete control. But, for good measure, Dallastown tacked on five more runs in the bottom of the sixth to make it 9-0, all coming with two outs. The big blow was Hamberger's two-run triple down the left-field line to make it 7-0 and put the game out of reach.
"This was probably the best game we had from a hitting standpoint," Kinneman said. "We had a really great approach at the plate, saw a lot of pitches, and when we got our pitch, we were able to put a bat on it and make some good things happen."
The only thing left was for Hamberger to complete the shutout, but he was lifted after 6 1/3 innings when two Northeastern hitters reached base, one on an error. So, he gave way and the Bobcats pushed across their only run of the game on a fielder's choice to avoid being shut out.
Hamberger earned the win, allowing one unearned run on five hits, with three walks, while striking out seven and throwing 106 pitches. Hamberger allowed just two hits after escaping his first-inning jam.
Offensively for the Wildcats, White drove in four of his team's runs, while Hamberger and Parker each had two RBIs and Cody Somerville drove in one.
Brady Dolan suffered the loss for Northeastern, throwing five innings and allowing five runs, four earned, on six hits, with five walks and three strikeouts. Jonah Latshaw drove in the only run for the Bobcats.
Eastern York 8, Biglerville 0: At Biglerville, Brandon Knarr struck out a whopping 19 batters in a two-hit shutout to lead the Golden Knights. Knarr walked just two batters. Colby Shimmel tripled and Wyatt Smith doubled for Eastern's only extra-base hits. Smith had three RBIs and Shimmel had two. Smith and Bren Taylor each had two hits for the Knights. Taylor scored three runs. Eastern (8-5 overall) stayed tied for first place in York-Adams Division III with Gettysburg at 6-3. Biglerville fell to 7-5 overall and 7-3 in Division IV.
Susquehannock 6, Central York 2: At Central, Josh Bobbitt hurled six innings to get the win, allowing just two hits, while striking out four and walking two. He got a scoreless inning of relief help from Logan Mohar. Mike Davis tripled and singled for for Central.
York Suburban 8, York Catholic 4: At York Catholic, Collin Slenker led the Trojans by going 2 for 3, including a double, to go with two RBIs. Also for Suburban, Nick Miller went 2 for 4 with a double, Thomas Merkle went 2 for 4 and Brendon Delridge went 2 for 4, including a triple. For the Irish, Andrew Polson went 2 for 3 with two RBIs, while teammate Brenden Kennedy went 2 for 4.
York Tech 6, Milton Hershey 5: At Milton Hershey, the Spartans led 6-2 going to the bottom of the seventh and hung on for non-league victory. Nathan Chronister led the Spartans offense by going 2 for 3, including two RBIs. Chronister also picked up the win on the mound, by throwing a complete game, while striking out six and walking one. Also for Tech, Ben Leatherwood went 2 for 3, while Juan Lopez went 2 for 4.
Dover 7, Spring Grove 6 (8 innings): At Spring Grove, the Eagles pulled off the upset, beating the Rockets with an extra-innings victory. Dover’s Nick Morrett had a triple and pitcher Alan Hansel earned the win, coming in during the sixth inning. Jon Sager and Cameron Sterner combined for seven strikeouts for Spring Grove, which fell to 6-7 overall and 6-3 in York-Adams Division I.
South Western 3, Kennard-Dale 0: At Hanover, Joe Yeater, Austin Reusing, Austin Yancheski and Joel Bevenour combined for the one-hitter, striking out 11 K-D hitters and allowing just three walks. Miles Francis doubled for South Western.
Red Lion 9, West York 2: At Red Lion, the Lions cruised to the win. The Lions improved to 6-5 overall and 5-4 in York-Adams Division I. The Bulldogs fell to 5-5 overall and 4-5 in Division II. No other details were reported.
Reach Patrick Strohecker at firstname.lastname@example.org.