SPRING GROVE – Thursday’s York-Adams League baseball playoff title game figured to be a good one.
Gettysburg, the Division II champion, rolled into the championship contest at Spring Grove High School on an incredible 17-game winning streak after defeating Division IV champ Biglerville Wednesday in the semifinals.
Dallastown, the Division I champ, was nearly as hot. The Wildcats had won nine in a row after defeating Division III champion West York in the other semifinal.
So which team would extend its lengthy win streak when the squads squared off in the final?
It didn’t take long to answer that question. The Wildcats sent 10 batters to the plate in the top of the first, putting up six runs, to take control.
Carson Wolf then scattered eight hits over seven frames but did not yield a run in Dallastown's impressive 8-0 victory.
In the process, Dallastown held another formidable opponent off the scoreboard. It was the Wildcats' fourth consecutive shutout.
“They’re a really good team,” Gettysburg coach Ryan Brady said of the Wildcats. “Obviously we wanted to win this game, but they have the record that they have for a reason. They are going to compete for districts and probably a state title.”
Vintage Dallastown baseball: The first inning was vintage Dallastown baseball. After leadoff batter Trent Rowland was hit on the game’s first pitch, a walk to Cole Bankert set the stage for Chase Hoecke. Hoecke singled to right to drive in Rowland, with both runners moving up to second and third.
That brought up No. 4 hitter Julian Bailey. Typically the cleanup hitter is one of the team’s best hitters, which Bailey certainly is. What made Bailey’s RBI single surprising to the Gettysburg side, however, was that Bailey did so by deftly dropping a bunt toward third. The ball died in the grass, allowing the Wildcats to take a 2-0 lead.
“We knew that bunting was coming,” Brady said. “But when you lay it just here or just there, sometimes it’s just indefensible. And that’s their cleanup hitter.”
Peyton Fox drove in the third run with a single before Evan Beach made it 4-0 on a sacrifice fly for the first out of the inning. After a single and hard-hit lineout to third, Rowland stepped to the plate for the second time in the frame and singled to drive in a pair to push the lead to 6-0.
Another strong outing by Wolf: That was more than enough for Wolf, who entered the night with an ERA below 1.00. That minuscule number got even smaller on Thursday.
Wolf fanned six, but gave a lot of credit for his gem to a defense that played lights out.
“We have a speedy outfield,” Wolf said. “And they will track down anything that they think they can get.”
The final out of the night was a perfect example of that. Zach Ketterman, one of Gettsyburg’s top hitters, ripped a line drive toward the wall in left-center. What appeared like a sure RBI double that would have broken up the shutout instead turned into the final out when Cole Bankert tracked it down.
“I couldn’t believe he caught it,” Brady said. “I turned and I saw all of their guys start to throw their gloves in the air and I just wondered ‘how did he catch that?’ I thought it was a triple and we finally scored a run.”
That out extended a string of four-plus games without a Wildcat opponent putting up a run. While many may see senior pitcher Alex Weakland as the ace of the Dallastown staff, Wolf is making his claim to that title.
“We’re definitely not taken by surprise with Carson,” Dallastown coach Greg Kinneman said. “We knew that he would have a pretty good chance to have a really good year. But if you told me he would be 6-1 with an ERA under 1.00 I would have probably said that I’m not sure that we would be getting that from him, but it’s not a surprise to see the kind of success that he’s had.”
Ducking a dumping: After uttering that last phrase, the Wildcats made one of their only miscues of the afternoon when they attempted to dump the water cooler on Kinneman’s head. The Dallastown coach showed off a keen sense of awareness with a quick first step when he ducked away from his dousing, leaving the ground around home plate soaked and covered with ice.
In true Kinneman fashion, the coach stepped back in front of reporters and continued to talk up his team.
“We’re obviously playing good baseball at the right time of year,” he said. “I mean we’ve played pretty well all year, but in terms of putting it all together in terms of pitching and hitting and defense, this has been pretty good.”
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.