Monday’s baseball battle between Dallastown and Red Lion had just about everything you’d want in a classic, early-season, rivalry clash.
The crosstown contenders each entered the game with unbeaten records, and on the mound, it was a duel of NCAA Division I-bound talents.
The game also went down to the final pitch.
The only thing undesirable about Monday’s matinee was the weather. It was a frigid day that featured persistent flurries that were more slow-motion frozen mist than snow. It was just enough to make things muddy, but not enough to heavily hinder play.
In the end, it was the Lions who best overcame the conditions and rode the robust right arm of Tyler Burchett to a 2-1 victory.
“They’re excellent, they’ve got excellent players and they’re probably the best coached team in the league,” Red Lion head coach Kevin Lawrence said of the Wildcats. “Plus, it’s a rivalry game, so it’s pretty meaningful to beat a team populated with such good players and is so well coached.”
Red Lion moved to 4-0 both overall and in York-Adams Division I. Dallastown fell to 4-1 and 2-1.
Breaking the tie: With the game knotted at 1-1 in the top of the second inning, Nate Hodgkinson lashed a double down the third-base line to lead off the inning for the Lions. Two pitches later, Austin Wildasin hit a sharp grounder back to Wildcats shortstop Cam Urey. His quick turn and throw to third to stop Hodgkinson from advancing sailed over the head of third baseman Alex Weakland.
Hodgkinson scored on the play and Burchett settled into a groove the rest of the way. The University of Kentucky commit tossed 6 2/3 innings, giving up just one hit while striking out 10 and walking three.
Once he was staked to the lead, Burchett began to deal, freezing the first two batters of the bottom of the second inning before finishing off the 1-2-3 frame.
His defense helped in a highlight way to finish off the fourth. Hodgkinson snagged a hard line drive at first base and then doubled off Wildcats catcher Julian Bailey to squelch the threat. Bailey had recorded the only hit allowed by Burchett.
After hitting the first batter he saw in the bottom of the fifth, the towering righty struck out the next five Wildcats he saw over a span of two innings before a ground out closed out the sixth.
Scouts in attendance: Burchett’s day ended with his 100th pitch, a fastball that finished off his 10th strikeout of the day and put the Lions one out from victory. As his day on the mound ended, so too did that of the affiliated scouts who had faithfully clocked each wintry whip toward the plate.
“It’s tough, especially with it being so cold and stuff. And (we) haven’t been outside much before because of the rain and snow, but it’s nice to get out,” Burchett said of dealing with the elements and added attention. “It was tough at times, got a little slick. But other than that, nothing to it.”
Wildcats won't go quietly: The Wildcats, however, were not about to go away quietly.
With Cameron Czerwinski now on to close things out, the Wildcats got a Weakland single followed by a Ben Writer walk to give Dallastown the tying run at second with two outs.
The Lions, however, ultimately walked off victorious when Darren Sciortino turned around in disbelief after watching a called third strike.
Burchett’s day got off to a rocky start with more than 20 pitches in the first inning alone, when four batters took him to a 3-2 count, with two of them earning walks. That slight hitch in control, combined with a fielder’s choice groundout from Peter Capobianco, accounted for the Wildcats’ lone run.
“I take my hat off to Tyler Burchett, he threw a great game today. I thought he battled all day long, and I thought (Dallastown starter) Nick (Parker) battled, too,” Dallastown head coach Greg Kinneman said. “It just really came down to making a few plays early in the game that we didn’t make that allowed them to score two runs. And that was the difference in the baseball game.”
Parker also excels: For his part, Parker, a Coastal Carolina commit, was more than solid in five innings, giving up three hits while striking out six and walking three.
The Lions struck for an unearned run in the first when a pair of Wildcat errors came before a Connor Dewees double with two outs that gave the visitors a 1-0 advantage.
While Lawrence appreciates what his team accomplished Monday, his pleasure was tempered by the knowledge that it can easily be negated.
“The short message (to the team after the game) was every game matters. We don’t get credited with two wins here,” Lawrence said. “And if we turn around and lose one that we think we should win, then all we’ve done is traded one that was difficult to get for one that we thought we should’ve gotten. The way to make this one stand is to go get the other ones we’re supposed to get.”
Northeastern 14, York Suburban 10: At Suburban, the Bobcats rallied from a 6-0 hole after three innings, sparked by a seven-run fifth and a five-run seventh. The Bobcats were led by Spencer Rhoads (double, three RBIs, three runs), Josh Rich (three hits, two runs, two walks, RBI), Dalton Ream (two hits, three RBIs, run), Robbie Elzinga (double, two runs, RBI), Wade Wolfgang (two hits, RBI, run) and Robbie Clipp (two RBIs, two walks, run). Suburban's leaders were Tracy Carr (two hits, three walks, two RBIs, two runs), Carson Holsinger (two hits, two walks, run), Trey Pridgen (three runs) and Jacob Taylor (two RBIs, run).
Central York 11, South Western 5: At Hanover, the Panthers used a seven-run outburst to erase a 3-2 South Western lead. Mike Nizinski pitched three innings of relief without allowing an earned run to get the save. Nizinski also had two doubles, two RBIs and two runs scored. Also excelling for Central were: Landon Ness (two hits, four RBIs), Michael Livingston (two hits, RBI, run), Nick Myers (three runs, double), Jordan King (triple) and Cannon Maye (double).
West York 11, Dover 1 (five innings): At Dover, the Bulldogs rolled in a game shortened to five innings because of the 10-run rule. Eli Bentzel went the distance to get the win, striking out five and allowing four hits. West York's hitting leaders were Trent Ketterman (three hits, two doubles, three runs), Robbie Bertucio (double, three RBIs, run), Justin Wetzel (double, two RBIs, two runs), Anthony Kahley (two RBIs, two runs) and Corey Wise (two RBIs).
York Catholic 18, Hanover 3 (four innings): At Hanover, Kevin Duncan led the Irish by going 2 for 3 with three RBIs and one run scored. Also starring for the Irish were Ben Bullen (2 for 4, three RBIs, one run), Tony Staub (double, two runs, two RBIs, two walks), Luke Kordaz (2 for 3, two runs, two RBIs), Evan Tanner (two runs, two RBIs) and Manny Montes (three runs).
Biglerville 6, York Tech 5: At Biglerville, the Canners scored in the bottom of the seventh to grab the win. Nathan Chronister (two hits, double, three runs) and Luke Greisler (homer, two RBIs, two runs) paced the Tech attack. Greisler also went the distance on the mound, giving up three earned runs and striking out 10. Brandon Miller (two hits, two RBIs, two runs) paced the Canners.
Gettysburg 9, Eastern York 4: At Wrightsville, the Warriors plated seven runs in the sixth to erase a 3-2 Eastern lead. Dillon Gebler (triple, three RBIs) and Kyle Redding (three hits) led Gettysburg. Bren Taylor (three hits, triple, two runs), Dyson Renn (two hits, two RBIs, run) and Emmit Silar (two hits) paced Eastern.
Bermudian Springs 3, Susquehannock 1: At Glen Rock, the Warriors managed just four hits, including a double by Sam Odegaard. Jake Mahan pitched well in defeat, allowing two earned runs over seven innings, striking out four and allowing six hits.
Littlestown 2, Kennard-Dale 0: At Littlestown, Alex Dehaas led the Thunderbolts to the victory by throwing a one-hit shutout. Dehaas struck out seven and walked none.
New Oxford 10, Spring Grove 0: At New Oxford, three Colonial pitchers combined on a two-hitter. Ethan Zorbaugh doubled for Spring Grove.
Reach Elijah Armold at email@example.com.