Friday playoff roundup: Red Lion baseball knocks Central York out of districts

Thomas Kendziora
York Dispatch

Red Lion baseball was a thorn in the side of Central York all season, and the Lions bested their York-Adams Division I rivals once again in the opening round of the district playoffs Friday.

Spurred by a four-run fourth inning and a commanding performance on the mound from junior AJ Lipscomb, No. 9-seed Red Lion advanced to the District 3 Class 6A quarterfinals with a 6-2 road victory over the No. 8-seed Panthers.

The Lions (13-8) will visit top-seeded Central Dauphin on Monday. Central York has finished its season 12-9.

Lipscomb allowed one run on three hits in six innings pitched, striking out three while walking one. Connor Lawrence went 3 for 4 with two RBIs at the plate and closed the door on the Panthers in the bottom of the seventh. Catcher Lane Heuer was 2 for 3 with his own pair of RBIs, while Braylon Roberts finished 2 for 4. 

Central York took a 1-0 lead in the first, as Ethan Hall tripled and scored on Aidan Jernigan’s groundout. But the Lions responded in the second with Lipscomb’s double and Heuer’s RBI single. Red Lion escaped a jam in the bottom of the third — runners at second and third with one out after a sacrifice bunt — to keep the score at 1-1. Then they broke the game open.

After an error and hit-by-pitch started the fourth-inning rally, Heuer slapped another RBI single to center field, scoring Jason Krieger and giving the Lions the lead. Carter Gibson followed with an RBI single to third, and two-out RBI knocks from Bailey Grim and Lawrence made it 5-1. That spelled the end of the day for Panthers starter Cole Grady, who was charged with five runs (two earned) in 3 2/3 innings.

Colin Dempsey came on in relief to finish the fourth but gave up another run in the sixth when Lawrence poked his second RBI single of the afternoon. Dempsey and Ethan Hall each went 1 2/3 in relief for the Panthers. 

The Central York offense made a final push after Lawrence took the mound in the seventh. Kenny Laughman singled and Dempsey walked to start the frame, and after two strikeouts pushed the Panthers to the brink, Will Ferrell singled and Eric Rebert walked to make it 6-2 and bring the tying run to the plate. But Hall flew out to Krieger in right field, leading to the Lions' celebration.

Ferrell had two of Central’s five hits in the game, while Rebert went 1 for 3 with the run-scoring walk. The Panthers shared the fate of three other York-Adams League teams who saw their seasons come to a close Friday.


District 3 Class 6A first round

Cedar Cliff 6, Northeastern 3: After the No. 12-seed Bobcats took a 3-0 lead in the second inning, the No. 5-seed Colts roared ahead with four runs in the fourth and two in the fifth en route to the home victory. The big blow came in the fourth with Northeastern up 3-1 — Quinn Shindler’s wild pitch brought home a run, then a single and an error in right field brought home two more to give Cedar Cliff the lead. Devin Niemiec added a two-run homer off Shindler in the fifth.

Conner Rippo went 2 for 4 and drove in Northeastern’s first run with a single in the first. Brandt Johnson added a two-run double in the second. But the Bobcats (11-10) managed only one hit in the last five frames as the Colts (15-6) took control.

District 3 Class 5A first round

Shippensburg 3, Susquehannock 1: Four days after repeating as York-Adams League champions, the host Warriors’ season came to a stunning end in the opening round of districts. Everson Weller’s two-run homer off Joey Smith in the top of the seventh gave the No. 14-seed Shippensburg the lead, and Tucker Chamberlain shut down No. 3-seed Susky in the seventh to finish a complete game.

Delone Catholic vs. Susquehannock during York-Adams League baseball championship action at Red Lion Area Senior High School in Red Lion, Monday, May 15, 2023. Susquehannock would win the game 6-3. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Chamberlain allowed one run on five hits while striking out nine, and he also scored Shippensburg’s first run after smacking a double in the fifth. The Warriors (18-4) loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth, but after Josh Pecunes’ groundout brought home the tying run, Chamberlain got out of the jam. Then the Greyhounds (12-8) pulled the stunner on Smith, who allowed three runs on three hits with eight strikeouts in seven frames.

Lampeter-Strasburg 2, Spring Grove 1 (10 innings): The No. 12-seed Rockets gave a spirited effort but couldn’t pull ahead and saw their season end on Logan Leaman’s bases-loaded single off Landon Bailey in the bottom of the 10th. Bailey pitched 2 2/3 innings in relief of starter Nick Vitale, who allowed one run in seven frames to give Spring Grove (11-10) a chance.

Vitale gave the Rockets the lead with an RBI double in the second, then kept the No. 5-seed Pioneers (17-7) off the board until Anthony Turek blasted a solo homer in the bottom of the fourth. Spring Grove tallied seven hits and drew six walks on offense but struck out 14 times and struggled to turn rallies into runs. Nizeah Mummert went 3 for 5 to lead the charge against L-S pitchers Jason Long (six innings) and Peyton Harsh (four frames).


PIAA Class 3A state quarterfinals

Downingtown East 3, Dallastown 1: The District 3 champion Wildcats are done for the spring after reaching the final eight in the state tournament, as they finally met their match against the Cougars on Friday afternoon at Hershey Racquet Club. Dallastown finished 18-3, while Downingtown East improved to 17-2.

Hayden Koons won the No. 1 singles match for the Wildcats, but the Cougars easily captured both doubles matches and added a win at second singles to clinch the team match. The third singles match was not completed.


Susquehannock’s Matthew O’Brien made history on the first of two days at the PIAA District 3 championships, setting a new meet record in the 3A boys’ 3,200 with an 8:59.82. The senior won by nearly 11 seconds in the lone boys’ track final of the day. In the girls’ 3,200, Dallastown’s Kailey Granger and Victoria Rodriguez finished third and fifth, respectively, to earn district medals.

Bermudian Springs’ Allison Watts won the first gold medal of the weekend, taking the title in the 2A girls’ high jump. Teammate Lilyana Carlson will be favored in Saturday’s pole vault. Another York County standout, Christian School of York’s Luka Schroeter, won the 2A boys’ long jump.

There were plenty of prelims and semifinals on the track, with local runners giving themselves a chance at district gold. Spring Grove’s Laila Campbell is the top finalist in the 3A girls’ 100 and 200, while the YAIAA has the top three qualifiers in the 3A girls’ 100 hurdles (Susquehannock’s Ryleigh Marks, Spring Grove’s Ella Bahn and Dover’s Gemma Galligani). And Carlson was second in the semifinals of the 2A girls’ 100 hurdles.

Saturday will feature the remainder of the track event finals, with half the field events still to be completed. Stay tuned for more coverage.