RED LION — Spring Grove's resilient Rockets refused to let a series of disheartening losses keep them down.
Coach Kevin Stiffler's team, which lost two 1-0 games, a 2-0 game and fell 7-5 to Dallastown after leading 3-0 and 5-3, rebounded in a big way on Monday afternoon.
Spring Grove scored an impressive 6-0 victory over Red Lion, which shared first place in York-Adams Division I going into the game.
The loss dropped Red Lion (12-4 overall, 9-3 D-I) a game behind arch-rival Dallastown (11-4, 10-2) in the division. Spring Grove is 9-8 and 7-5.
The Rockets, meanwhile, excelled in all facets — pitching, fielding and clutch hitting.
Buzz Schuchart did the pitching, shutting down the Lions on two hits in six innings of work. Cam Sterner pitched the seventh inning for the winners, retiring three of the four batters he faced.
Schuchart did give up five walks, compared to two strikeouts, but he forced the home team to strand six runners. The senior right-hander successfully mixed a fastball and curve ball.
"My defense was playing great behind me (no errors)," Schuchart said. "In all of the games I pitched, except for New Oxford, I struggled with walks. It wasn't something I wasn't used to, but I knew that my defense had my back."
Schuchart's teammates supplied him with a run before he ever took the mound, scoring once in the top of the first.
"That gives me so much confidence going out there with a lead," said Schuchart who threw 93 pitches.
Jon Sager drove in Spring Grove's first two runs with one-out RBI singles in the first and third innings.
"Jon Sager, he's having a great year." Schuchart said.
Logan Miller broke the game open for the visitors in the fourth inning when he crushed a bases-loaded double to the gap in left-center field, scoring all three runners.
"I was looking fastball the whole time, and, lucky enough, I got one and did my job," Miller said. "As soon as I saw the center fielder running, I knew it was at least to the wall, but I didn't know how far I would get."
Miller admitted it was tough dealing with the close losses this season.
"After the games, the coaches would tell us to keep our heads up. I think we did a good job of that," he said.
Derek Hoiles joined Sager in the two-hit club for Spring Grove with a pair of singles in three at bats..
"We haven't been hitting in the clutch, but we did today," Stiffler said. "Jon (Sager) knocked in two for us early, and Logan's hit was our first hit all year with the bases loaded. That loss to Dallastown was kind of a deflating loss. Credit to the kids, they're not giving up."
Stiffer said that Schuchart has been solid all year on the mound.
"He keeps teams off balance," he said. "They (Red Lion) hit some balls, but our guys made the plays."
Sager, along with his hitting, contributed a running catch in deep center field, and Rockets' right fielder Ty Maughlin delivered a running backhand grab in right field.
Like Schuchart said, the fielders had his back.
Spring Grove will seek to use Monday's victory as a springboard to a strong finish. The Rockets' next three games are against New Oxford, Central York and South Western.
Red Lion, meanwhile, will attempt to rebound when it visits Dallastown on Wednesday.
"Their pitcher did a nice job today," Red Lion head coach Kevin Lawrence said. "Spring Grove, they're a very good team."
Red Lion prevailed 1-0 over the Rockets when the teams met for the first time this season.
Dallastown 7, South Western 1: At Dallastown, Jake Gates pitched the Wildcats into sole possession of first place in York-Adams Division I by throwing a complete-game six-hitter, with nine strikeouts and a walk. The Wildcats are now 11-4 overall and 10-2 in the division. Joe Capobianco (three hits, two RBIs, run), Nick Parker (two hits, run) and Zach Ness (hit, run, two RBIs) led the Dallastown offense.
Northeastern 3, Gettysburg 2: At Manchester, the Bobcats knocked off the York-Adams Division II leader. Gettysburg fell to 11-4 overall and 9-3 in the division. Northeastern is 5-10 and 4-8. Robbie Smith got the win, going six innings and allowing one earned run. Brant Myers got the save with a shutout seventh. Josh Rich homered for the winners and finished with two RBIs.
Central York 7, New Oxford 1: At Central, Landon Ness got the win, pitching six innings of four-hit, one-run ball. He struck out six without a walk. Ness also had three RBIs at the plate. Central's other offensive leaders were Sandy Paulino (two hits, two runs), Nick Myers (two hits, two runs) and Ben Ward (two RBIs). Central is 8-6 overall and 7-4 in York-Adams Division I.
York Catholic 8, York Tech 1: At Spry, Chris DeMarco pitched a complete-game four-hitter for the Irish, striking out five and walking one. Matt Knauer had two hits, including a double, with one RBI for York Catholic, while Nick DeMarco had two RBIs and Dillon Hippensteel and Bryce Floyd each had two runs scored.
Dover 9, York Suburban 4: At Suburban, Trey Neiman belted two hits, including a double, and drove in four runs while scoring one for the Eagles. Andrew Chronister (two hits, double, two runs, RBI), Trevor Staub (two hits, run) and Jeremy Bentzel (homer, four RBIs, run) also excelled for Dover. Joe Morrett got the save with three shutout innings of one-hit relief. Nick Miller had two hits and a run scored for Suburban.
Littlestown 2, Susquehannock 1: At Littlestown, the home team upset the York-Adams Division III leaders. The Warriors fell to 13-3 overall and 10-1 in the division. Russell Livesay and Devin Peart combined on a five-hitter. Livesay got the win and Peart got the save. Jake Mahan pitched well in defeat, going the distance and allowing one earned run. Chase Summers (two hits, RBI) and Josh Smiley (two hits) led the Susquehannock offense.
Kennard-Dale 4, Eastern York 3: At Fawn Grove, Ben Stewart’s walk-off, two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh inning lifted the Rams to victory. Wyatt Smith was 1 for 3 with an RBI for Eastern York. K-D improved to 13-3 overall and 9-3 in York-Adams Division III.
Hershey 10, West York 2: At West York, West York, the Bulldogs trailed just just 2-1 after three innings, but got outscored 8-1 from there to absorb the non-league setback. West York was outhit, 15-8.
Reach Dick VanO'Linda at email@example.com.