NEW OXFORD — Their 3-0 lead evaporated in the sixth inning, but Dallastown's players never lost the confidence they would find a way to win the York-Adams Baseball League championship game.
"I don't think we ever panicked," Wildcats' center fielder Brandon White said following Dallastown's dramatic 4-3 walk-off victory over Northeastern in the bottom of the seventh inning. "That's the first time we faced adversity all year, and it was great for us because we pulled it out."
After Northeastern rallied to tie the game in the top of the sixth, Dallastown answered with the winning run in its final at bat.
It was White who delivered the deciding hit. With runners on first and second and two outs, he jumped on the first pitch he saw and drove the ball over the center-fielder's head. The runner from second scored standing up, as his cheering teammates welcomed him home.
Two of White's teammates doused him with water.
"I looked fastball, and it hit it pretty hard, and I was hoping it would drop," said White, who was hitless in his three previous at bats. "It feels amazing to get the winning hit, but it wasn't all me. They (his teammates) were just able to put me in a position to succeed, and I'm very grateful. for that."
Nick Parker opened the last of the seventh by reaching on an error, and Tye Golden laid down a sacrifice bunt. Following an intentional walk to Bryant Holtzapple, Riley Hamberger smashed a hard drive, but right at the left fielder. White then stepped up and connected for a hit that he'll never forget.
Parker, who relived starting pitcher Avery Strayer with one out in the top of the sixth, earned the victory. Parker completed the sixth and retired the Bobcats 1-2-3 in the seventh. Strayer pitched scoreless ball over the first four innings before yielding a run in the fifth. The two runs in the sixth were also charged to Strayer, who pounded the strike zone throughout most of his outing.
"Avery Strayer is amazing to me," said Dallastown head coach Greg Kinneman, who directed the Wildcats to the crown in his first year as the team's head coach. "He didn't make the team as a freshman. He just goes out every day, he throws strikes and he battles."
Dallastown presented Strayer with a 3-0 edge by scoring three times in its first at bat. Parker, Golden and Eric Morrison each stroked singles, and Hamberger drilled a RBI double to the gap in left-center field.
Holtzapple collected two hits for the winners, and Adam Kipp and Brady Dolan combined for four of Northeastern's five hits.
Dallastown won its first title in the four-team tournament format, which began in 2009.
"I knew the talent was here to be a potential league champion," Kinneman said. "What I didn't know is did we have the competitive desire, the fight and the will to win. About halfway or three-quarters of the way through the season, I could see we were starting to get that competitive desire and will to win."
Northeastern's bid to win the championship came up just short, but Bobcats' head coach Andy Srebroski was proud of the way his team responded when it fell behind at the outset.
"We had a couple of hiccups early, but we responded well, and we put the ball in play, and that's all you can ask for," Srebroski said. "(Dallastown) is a good ballclub, but we came in thinking we were going to win the game. We came up just short."
Kipp was charged with the three Dallastown runs in the first, but settled down and pitched scoreless ball for five straight innings. The Bobcats' left-hander threw 115 pitches, 38 of them in the first inning.
Dallastown has now won 12 straight and improved to 16-3. Northeastern fell to 15-5.
Red Lion 3, Carlisle 0: In a non-league contest, Wyatt Tyson pitched a four-hit shutout for the Lions, who improved to 11-9. Tyson struck out eight without a walk. Kody Allen had two hits and an RBI for the winners.
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