The paths that Dallastown took to York-Adams League Division I baseball titles over the last two seasons were markedly different.
Last year’s team was dominant from start to finish, never finding itself trailing in the division.
This season, however, it took the Wildcats a little while to find their stride, but they can now fully say that they’re peaking at the right time.
In Wednesday’s rivalry game against Red Lion, first place was on the line in D-I, with Dallastown entering the day holding a one-game lead over the Lions with just three league contests left. A Red Lion win would get it tied for the top spot, while a win for the Wildcats would ensure at least a share of the crown.
Dallastown relieved any major pressure coming down the stretch with a 4-0 home win to grab at least a share of the D-I title. Dallastown now just needs one win in its final two league games to capture the outright crown for a second consecutive season.
“I think today was a really huge game,” Wildcats head coach Greg Kinneman said. “When you look at it, we won, so now we have a two-game lead. But, if we would’ve lost, then honestly, Red Lion is in the driver’s seat because we’re back tied with them and they would’ve beaten us twice. So, today’s game was a huge swing game in this division for sure.”
The key to Dallastown’s success all year has been strong pitching and solid defense, while the hitting has gradually come around. Wednesday, on Senior Day, the Wildcats (12-4 overall, 11-2 in D-I) again got the shutdown pitching and sure-handed defense, while the bats came alive in two crucial moments.
The first moment came in the bottom of the third with the game still scoreless. With two outs, it looked like it was going to be a quick 1-2-3 inning for Red Lion starter Tyler Stabley when he got Nick Parker to roll one over to the third baseman. Instead, a high throw caused the first baseman to come off the bag and drop the ball, allowing Parker to reach safely. A single by Bryant Holtzapple and then a two-run double by Joe Capobianco made the Lions pay for the error, giving Dallastown a 2-0 advantage.
“It was such an exciting moment,” Capobianco said. “Just to get these guys up, get Alex Weakland a lead, because he was pitching great.”
While that bit of offense was enough for Weakland, the Wildcats added two more runs for good measure in the bottom of the fourth. A leadoff triple by Peter Capobianco was followed by an RBI single from Sean Reding and then an RBI double by Tracy Carr. That chased Stabley from the game and staked Weakland to a 4-0 advantage.
After that, Weakland did the rest. He battled some control issues in the early part of the game, but worked out of some jams thanks to good defense. Weakland got stronger as the game progressed, eventually giving way with one out in the seventh after 89 pitches. He and reliever Michael Carr combined to hold Red Lion to three hits, while striking out five for the shutout.
A pitching performance like that has been routine for Dallastown throughout the season, despite not having the services of Parker, the junior Coastal Carolina commit. With Parker dealing with injury issues for much of the year, the Wildcats have turned to Weakland, Carr and Jake Gates to get them innings, and they’ve delivered time and time again, just like in Wednesday’s win.
“All of our pitchers have done a great job in terms of just pounding the strike zone and throwing strikes,” Kinneman said. “When you look back at the percentage of strikes we throw during games, it’s always near 70 percent, which, for a high school pitching staff, is pretty fantastic. We’ve thrown a lot of strikes and relied on our defense behind us to make plays, which we’ve done.”
With the Y-A League Tournament basically out of the question now for the Lions, the task over the final week of the regular season is righting the ship so they have some momentum going into the District 3 6-A Tournament. A week ago, Red Lion (12-5 overall, 9-4 D-I) was tied atop the D-I standings, but some recent losses have put it in a spot where the team is reeling a bit as the postseason looms.
“Offensively, we need to continue to have an excellent approach at the plate, allow ourselves to get into good counts and then put good swings on the ball,” head coach Kevin Lawrence said. “…Defensively, we need to be a little bit more stout. Pitching-wise, as a team, we need to do a better job of keeping the ball down and throwing strike one, because when you throw strike one, you can throw a lot of other stuff after strike one. But, when you throw ball one, then you’re kind of handcuffed, and good hitting teams are able to sit on your fastball.”
West York 12, Dover 1: At Dover, Colton Kubicki led the Bulldogs by going 3 for 3, including a double, with three runs scored, two RBIs and two walks. Also for West York, Zach Gettys went 3 for 4 with four runs scored, Anthony Kahley went 2 for 3 with three RBIs and two runs scored and Jacob Mease went 2 for 3 with three RBIs. Gettys also threw a complete game, striking out nine, walking three and allowing two hits.
Central York 9, South Western 0: Michael Reisinger led the Panthers by going 5 for 5, including two doubles, with two runs scored and one RBI. Also for Central, Benjamin Ward went 2 for 3 with one run scored and three RBIs, Landon Ness went 2 for 4 with one run scored and one RBI, Nicholas Myers doubled with two runs scored and two RBIs and Brandon Walters threw a shutout, striking out four and walking three. Central improved to 9-7 overall and 8-4 in York-Adams Division I.
Susquehannock 5, Bermudian Springs 0: At Glen Rock, the Warriors inched closer to the York-Adams Division I title, improving to 14-3 overall and 11-1 in the division. Hunter Sentz pitched a four-hit shutout, striking out six without a walk. Josh Smiley (three hits, three RBIs) and Peyton Reider (double, two walks, two runs scored, RBI) paced the Warriors' offense.
York Tech 4, Biglerville 2 (8 innings): At Biglerville, the Spartans plated two runs in the top of the eighth to break a 2-2 tie. Juan Lopez led the Spartans, going 2 for 2, including a double, with one run scored and one RBI. Also for Tech, Tyler Smith went 1 for 2 with one run scored and one RBI, while starting pitcher Nathan Chronister threw seven innings, striking out six, walking two, scattering 10 hits and allowing no earned runs in a no-decision.
Northeastern 17, York Suburban 4 (6 innings): At Suburban, Alex Raymond had a big day at the plate, going 4 for 5 with a triple, four RBIs and two runs scored to lead the Bobcats. Miles Staub was 2 for 3 with a double, an RBI and a run scored for the Trojans.
Kennard-Dale 6, Littlestown 1: At Littlestown, Garrett Lowe was 2 for 4 with a home run, three RBIs and a run scored to lead the Rams. Ethan Phillips went the distance, scattering five hits while striking out five and walking one to collect the victory on the mound. K-D improved to 14-3 overall and 11-2 in York-Adams Division III.
Spring Grove 8, New Oxford 2: At New Oxford, the visitors pounded out 12 hits, led by Derek Hoiles (two hits, double, two RBIs, one run) Trent Baker (two hits, two RBIs, one run), Cameron Sterner (two hits, run), Logan Miller (two hits, run) and Jon Sager (triple, two RBIs, two runs). Sterner also got the win, allowing two earned runs in five innings. Miller added two innings of one-hit, shutout relief, striking out three. The Rockets improved to 10-8 overall and 8-5 in York-Adams Division I.
York Catholic 9, Hanover 6: At Hanover, the Fighting Irish stormed back from a 5-0 hole after three innings to earn the win. York Catholic scored four times in each of the fourth and seven innings. Luke Kordaz (three hits, two doubles, four RBIs), Matt Knauer (homer, three RBIs, two runs scored), Will Catterall (two hits), Nick DeMarco (two runs, hit) and Bill Walker (hit, two runs, RBI) paced the Irish offense. York Catholic improved to 8-7 overall and 8-5 in York-Adams Division IV.
Reach Patrick Strohecker at email@example.com.