Four years ago, a group of York County boys from the Red Land Little League team garnered nationwide attention for their baseball exploits.
In 2019, a number of players from that Little League team are now one win away from capturing a state championship for Red Land High School.
The Patriots (24-3) advanced to the PIAA Class 5-A title game on Tuesday with an 2-1 semifinal win over District 11 champion Blue Mountain (23-4) at Wenger Field in Fredericksburg, Lebanon County.
In 2015, the Red Land team won the U.S. title at the Little League World Series in Williamsport before falling in the overall championship to Tokyo.
This year’s Red Land High team features seven players who have already committed to NCAA Division I colleges: Cole Wagner (Georgia), Luke Wagner (Georgia), Benny Montgomery (Virginia), Kyle Hannon (Penn State), Jaden Henline (Penn State), Jared Payne (Kentucky) and Mason Walker (Pitt).
In addition, of the 13 boys who comprised the 2015 Red Land Little League team, 10 are still playing for the Red Land scholastic teams.
Tuesday's win: In Tuesday's win, Luke Wagner (five innings) and Henline (two innings) combined on a five-hitter. Wagner gave up all five of the hits and Blue Mountain's lone run, striking out nine and walking three. Henline struck out two and walked two in a pair of hitless, scoreless innings.
Red Land struck first in the top of the fifth on Jake Cunkle's RBI single. Blue Mountain tied the game in the bottom of the fifth, but Red Land scored again in the top of the sixth to account for the final 2-1 margin. Payne's RBI single provided that run.
Up next: Tuesday’s win advances Red Land to the 5-A title game vs. Lampeter-Strasburg. L-S (24-4) earned its title berth on Monday with a 3-0 semifinal victory over District 3 champion Cedar Cliff (23-4).
The 5-A championship contest is set for 7 p.m. Thursday at Penn State’s Medlar Field.
Red Land beat L-S on May 30 in the District 3 third-place game, 6-0.
The Patriots are chasing the school’s first state baseball title since 1990, when they won the 3-A championship.
Reach Steve Heiser at email@example.com.