Narrow victories vault Dallastown baseball atop the local standings
The gaps between good and bad high school baseball and softball teams can often be a gulf, and the best are sure to have plenty of run-rule victories on their ledger over the course of the season. But the margins can also be razor-thin in any given seven-inning contest.
Dallastown baseball entered its Wednesday clash with South Western boasting a 6-0 overall record and a 4-0 mark in York-Adams League games. The host Mustangs were 0-2 and 0-2. But Ayden McMillion confounded the visiting hitters and took a shutout into the final frame as South Western held on to a 2-0 lead.
The Wildcats, however, rallied with four runs in the seventh inning — highlighted by Chandler Powell’s go-ahead, three-run home run with two outs — and held on for a 4-2 victory. Now at 5-0 in the league and 7-0 overall, Dallastown is the clear frontrunner for the Division I title.
But the wins haven’t come easy. After victories of 8-1 and 7-1 to begin the year, the Wildcats needed a gem from Conner Barto to hold off reigning league tournament champion Susquehannock, 3-1, on March 28. They beat Spring Grove 4-2 the following day, then earned a 6-4 non-league win over Cedar Crest last Friday. In the first of two road tests this week, Dallastown escaped with a 3-1 triumph at Northeastern. Then came Wednesday’s heroics.
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The common thread in these games has been sterling pitching; the Wildcats’ staff has posted a collective 1.43 ERA, allowing 10 earned runs in 49 innings. Barto, a two-way standout and the 2022 Division I Player of the Year, has allowed four runs in 20 frames and thrown two complete games. Kamden Sowers (two earned runs in 13 innings) worked the first five in Monday’s division opener against the Bobcats.
South Western, meanwhile, has been victimized by hard luck against a tough early schedule. The Mustangs — who finished third in the division last year at 11-5 (12-8 overall) — dropped their season opener, 4-1, at New Oxford on March 29, then suffered an 8-7, walk-off defeat Monday at Central York before blowing another last-inning lead Wednesday.
There’s still a long way to go, of course. The Mustangs are all of three games into their spring; even Dallastown has only played five of the 15 games on its Division I schedule (two against each D-I team, one against all D-II foes). And as successful as the Wildcats have been, there are still three teams right behind them with just one D-I loss — 3-1 Central York, 3-1 Red Lion and 2-1 Northeastern.
New Oxford led Division II with a 3-1 record after Ethan Diehl’s shutout of Susquehannock in a 1-0 win Wednesday. Kennard-Dale’s 18-5 Wednesday thumping of West York moved the Rams to 3-1 in D-III, unofficially tied with 2-0 Bermudian Springs. And Delone Catholic has survived a handful of close calls to start 4-0 in Division IV, a game ahead of Hanover.
A handful of local teams had non-division games scheduled for Thursday, weather permitting. The slate included two cross-divisional makeup bouts in York High-New Oxford and Bermudian Springs-York Catholic. The only item on the Easter weekend docket is Saturday’s New Oxford tournament (featuring Delone Catholic), which was postponed from last weekend.
Softball shuffle: While South Western baseball has added up close losses, the Mustang softball team has had plenty of good fortune thus far. Jayda Koontz’s shutout of Dallastown in a 1-0 win Wednesday brought her team’s record to 5-0 overall and 3-0 in Division I. Opposing ace Gabby Fowler and the Wildcats dropped to 4-2 (4-1) with the loss. Reigning league champion Central York sits third at 2-2.
Division II appears wide open with Northeastern at 3-1, Susquehannock 3-2 and New Oxford 3-2 in league play. The Warriors fell 8-7 against the first-place Bobcats on Monday before beating the Colonials 10-6 on Wednesday.
Littlestown and Eastern York entered their Wednesday matchup as the final unbeatens in D-III play, but the Thunderbolts put the hammer down with an 11-0 victory in five innings. Chelsey Stonesifer had 14 strikeouts among 15 outs recorded and surrendered one hit as her team improved to 4-0 in the division and 6-0 overall.
Division IV, meanwhile, looks quite bunched up. Delone Catholic earned a 7-3 victory Monday at reigning champ Fairfield, but the Squirettes fell 11-1 at home to Biglerville on Wednesday. Fairfield now leads the division at 2-1, with Delone and Biglerville 2-2 and York Tech 2-3. There will be plenty more clashes as they sort everything out.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
Lacrosse and boys’ volleyball action was set to continue Thursday, although looming weather forced some schedule changes for outdoor events. It’s a light schedule for the rest of Easter weekend.
Boys’ lacrosse: Four York-Adams League teams entered Thursday with perfect league records. Dallastown reached 5-0 (8-0 overall) with Wednesday’s 23-3 win at Eastern York, while South Western improved to 4-0 (5-0) on Tuesday.
The Mustangs were set to host Susquehannock (6-0, 3-0) on Thursday evening. York Catholic (4-2, 3-0) had a bout with New Oxford scheduled for Thursday. Central York was 3-1 in the league entering its meeting with Kennard-Dale.
Girls’ lacrosse: Red Lion has stamped itself as a league title contender. The Lions followed Tuesday’s 10-9 win at Susquehannock with a 21-4 rout of West York on Wednesday (a game moved up to escape weather). They’re now 4-1 in the league with their lone loss coming to South Western, which entered Thursday 4-0 and a half-game ahead of York Catholic and Dallastown.
The first-place Mustangs lost two one-goal games against Susquehannock a year ago and were eager to try and flip the script in Glen Rock on Thursday evening.
Boys’ volleyball: York Catholic, in its first season as a Y-A member, came into Thursday 4-0 in the league and tied atop the standings with York Suburban. Northeastern and Red Lion were right behind at 3-0, with New Oxford 2-1 and Central York and Dallastown both 1-1.
Thursday’s slate is headlined by Northeastern’s visit to York Suburban for a matchup of last year’s league regular season co-champions.
Boys’ tennis: In a Wednesday full of matchups between Dallastown and South Western, the Wildcats handled business on the courts, winning 5-0 in a battle of unbeatens. Dallastown is the defending league and district champion, and now the Wildcats (7-2, 6-0) are well clear of the Division I field. The Mustangs are 3-1 (8-1 overall), with Red Lion at 4-2 (8-2).
Biglerville and Hanover remained unbeaten for the spring with Division II wins Wednesday. The Canners (7-0, 4-0) held off Bermudian Springs for a 3-2 win, while the Nighthawks (6-0, 4-0) swept West York. These squads won’t play each other until April 19, and anticipation will only increase if they continue to win. Hanover was scheduled to host South Western on Thursday, with Biglerville battling Middletown.
Track and field: York-Adams division standings are starting to take shape after two weeks of dual meets. The South Western and Dallastown boys’ and girls’ teams are 2-0 in Division I, New Oxford’s squads are 2-0 in D-II and Delone Catholic’s girls are already 3-0 in D-III after Tuesday’s tri-meet win over Fairfield and Littlestown. The Squire boys are 2-1 and a couple squads are 1-0, but it’s worth noting that reigning division winner Bermudian Springs’ first dual isn’t until next Tuesday.
A slew of local teams are scheduled to compete at Central Dauphin’s PanRam Invitational starting at 9 a.m. Saturday.