DALLASTOWN — Whenever Nick Parker is on the mound to start a game for the Dallastown baseball club, the Wildcats know that their ace will not require a lot of run support.
So, even after falling behind early Thursday afternoon in their District 3 Class 6-A quarterfinal vs. J.P. McCaskey, the Dallastown boys didn't panic.
Parker, a Coastal Carolina recruit, did his part by shutting down the Tornadoes after allowing an unearned run in the first inning. The right-hander fanned seven and walked just one while allowing but three hits in a complete-game effort.
Peter Capobianco took care of the rest. He fueled a five-run, third-inning rally with a clutch two-run single to put the Wildcats ahead for good in what became a 7-1 triumph.
Dallastown (17-4), the top-seed in the 6-A draw, will face backyard rival Red Lion in the semifinals Tuesday at a time and location yet to be determined. The Lions, who handed the Wildcats half of their four losses this season, claimed a 2-0 victory over Wilson in another quarterfinal Thursday.
"I was still pretty confident," Dallastown coach Greg Kinneman said of his team's early deficit. "I know that they scored one in the first, but in terms of our approach and the attitude that I sensed around the field today left me feeling pretty confident."
Dallastown bats wake up: Kinneman's confidence was not unfounded. The Dallastown bats woke up after failing to score in the first two innings. The first two batters in the third reached based off McCaskey starter Scott Winters, after which a bunt by Parker moved both into scoring position.
That set the stage for Capobianco, who ripped a first-pitch fastball to drive in both runs.
While batting second in the Dallastown lineup, Kinneman pointed out that it hasn't been smooth sailing all year for his standout.
"Pete has actually struggled a bit this year," Kinneman said. "Just early on with timing and things like that. Pete's a gamer and I know that come playoff time and in this type of atmosphere that I'm not concerned about him."
A mental adjustment to how he was going about his at-bats played a part in how Capobianco started to finally turn things around as of late.
"I really changed my mindset," said Capobianco, who also stole a pair of bases in the triumph. "I really try to be more aggressive. I really hunt the first-pitch fastball and that really has helped me."
Alex Weakland also suffered from some early-season struggles with the bat this year. Just like Capobianco, Weakland has started to heat up at just the right time. Weakland smoked a two-run double to cap off the third.
"I know that both of those guys are going to get some key hits for us down the stretch," Kinneman said.
Another meeting with Lions: Getting key hits will be at a premium come Tuesday when the Wildcats take on Red Lion for a third time this season. In both of the previous match-ups, Parker has faced Tyler Burchett.
Burchett, a Kentucky recruit and MLB Draft hopeful next month, picked up the win against Wilson Thursday. Both he and Parker will be eligible to throw again in the semifinal showdown Tuesday.
Kinneman, however, refused to commit to starting Parker against the Lions.
"I don't know who we'll throw in that game to be honest with you," he said. "I've got Nick, but I've also got Alex Weakland so I don't know who we'll throw."
Regardless of who throws, the difference may be whether or not the Wildcats can muster a couple of runs against the hard-throwing Burchett. Dallastown managed just one run in their two contests against Burchett this season.
"If Nick (pitches), we know we just need a couple of runs," Capobianco said. "If we do that, we just know that we'll be good."
Eighth-seeded McCaskey finished 13-9.
Red Lion 2, Wilson 0: At Wilson, Kentucky recruit Tyer Burchett was dominant on the mound for fifth-seeded Lions, striking out 13 and allowing only two hits over six innings, using 99 pitches.
C.J. Czerwinski pitched a perfect seventh for the save in the District 3 Class 6-A quarterfinal.
Cole Gipe had two doubles, an RBI and a run scored for Red Lion (14-6), which had just three hits. Channing Bratton's double was the Lions' other hit.
Fourth-seeded Wilson finished 14-6.
East Pennsboro 6, Kennard-Dale 3: At Enola, the Rams outhit East Pennsboro, 5-3, but four K-D errors led to four unearned runs.
The seventh-seeded Rams finished 14-7. Second-seeded East Pennsboro improved to 16-4.
K-D starter Cole Sinnott allowed three hits and two earned runs over 5 1/3 innings. Wyatt McCleary led the Rams offense with two hits, an RBI and a run scored, while Garrett Lowe doubled and drove in a run.
Bishop McDevitt 4, West York 3: At West York, the fourth-seeded Bulldogs saw their season end with a loss to fifth-seeded Bishop McDevitt in the District 3 Class 4-A quarterfinals.
West York finished at 12-9. McDevitt moved to 12-7.
Lancaster Catholic 4, Biglerville 1: At Red Lion, the third-seeded Canners saw their season end with a loss to second-seeded Lancaster Catholic in a District 3 Class 3-A semifinal.
Biglerville finished 16-6. Lancaster Catholic improved to 15-4. Paul Asper and Connor Orner each had two hits for Biglerville.
West Perry 10, Littlestown 1: At Littestown, sixth-seeded West Perry cruised past third-seeded Littlestown in a District 3 Class 4-A quarterfinal.
Littlestown finished 14-5. West Perry improved to 15-6.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.