SPRING GROVE — Some wrestlers always seem to find themselves in the pivotal moments during matches.
This week, on two occasions, Spring Grove's Trent Baker was the man in the big spot.
Tuesday night, it was his 4-0 decision at 160 pounds over Hayden Jones of Dallastown that secured the Rockets' match victory and at least a share of the York-Adams League Division I title.
Thursday night, he took the mat again, this time at 170 pounds, with the opportunity to clinch the match win and secure the division crown outright. Facing New Oxford's Luke Lardarello, Baker had little trouble controlling the bout, winning by technical fall, 17-2, and putting Spring Grove ahead by enough of a margin that it didn't matter how the last two bouts went. In the end, the Rockets won the match 45-29, winning the Division I title outright for the second consecutive season.
Spring Grove has now earned at least a piece of the Division I title in nine of the last 11 years.
"I knew that my match definitely dictated the end of the match," Baker said. "But, my coach told me that all I needed was three and I didn't need any extra. He said extra would definitely help, but I didn't need six."
He didn't need six and didn't get six, but he got five. It took the pressure off of Jared Barley at 182, but he still went out and delivered a statement victory of his own, scoring a pin in 1 minute, 14 seconds. The match ended with a good bout at 195 between Wyatt Becker of Spring Grove and Derrick Rudisill of New Oxford, with Rudisill claiming an 11-7 win.
Back-and-forth start: The match got off to a pedestrian start after the Colonials forfeited the opening bout at 220 pounds. However, they responded with Dylan Smith earning a pin at 285, and then Timothy Uhler held off Chase Bricker's late reversal attempt to secure a 4-2 decision and give the visitors a 9-6 advantage.
Rockets' standout junior Dalton Rohrbaugh, however, quickly erased the deficit with a 15-0 tech fall to put Spring Grove back in front. Always the perfectionist, despite his dominance, Rohrbaugh wasn't pleased with his result.
"I always want the pin," he said. "I was disappointed in myself a little bit. It didn't really matter because we got the win, but I know it's going to come to a point where we need to get the pin for the team and I'm going to need to do that."
New Oxford immediately jumped back in front with its own star, senior Zurich Storm, at 120 pounds. Storm, who recently got his 100th career win, earned a decisive tech fall of his own, 20-3, to put the Colonials ahead in the match 14-11, but the lead went right back to the Rockets in the next bout, when Clay Baker got in on the tech fall party with a 15-0 decision at 126 pounds.
Pitzer provides turning point: With the match swaying back and forth and neither side truly grabbing momentum, the match's ultimate turning point fell on the shoulders of Spring Grove freshman Brady Pitzer at 132 pounds.
Tuesday night, it was his pin against Dallastown's John Ligon that put the Rockets ahead for good.
Thursday night, even though the Rockets were already leading, it was his pin of New Oxford senior Noah Richley that lit the spark under the rest of the Spring Grove lineup to take hold of the match.
"Him being a freshman and pinning a senior, it got everybody in the stands hyped up," Trent Baker said. "Everyone (on the team) was off their seats. It was definitely good having him get two pins two matches in a row."
Chance Jackson kept the train rolling for the Rockets with a pin in just 1:17. The Colonials ended up winning the next two contested bouts of the match by pin, first with Matthew Poust at 145 and then with Evan Brown at 160. In between, there was a forfeit in Spring Grove's favor that kept it comfortably ahead before Trent Baker finished the job at 170.
For a team that has greater goals than just the division championship, the accomplishment can't go overlooked. The Rockets understand that, at the moment, they're the class of Division I — if not all of the Y-A League — so to go undefeated in division competition and defend their title from a season ago, it's a testament to the wrestlers.
"It's tough to win the last one when you're talking about winning the (division) outright," Spring Grove head coach Tony Miller said. "You always worry about that, it being Senior Night, lots of distractions, the kids came out and did a nice job and did their jobs."
Susquehanock 51, Eastern York 24: At Glen Rock, the Warriors received pins from Jacob Silliman (113), Ben Sweigard (120), Owen Bortner (126), Colby Romjue (132), Joey Romjue (170), Alex Smith (195) and Lee Cook (220). For the Golden Knights, Alex Miller (106), Nathan Robbins (138), Dylan Prugar (145) and Troy Staats (152) had pins.
Dallastown 51, Red Lion 20: At Dallastown, the Wildcats claimed bragging rights in this rivalry for the next year by taking down the Lions. Dalton Daugherty (126), John Ligon (132) and Hayden Jones (160) all scored bonus points for Dallastown. Jack Conrad (170) was the only wrestler from Red Lion to score bonus points in a contested bout for his team.
South Western 35, Central York 29: At South Western, the Mustangs were able to edge the Panthers on the strength of two major decisions, two forfeits and a pin. The Mustangs’ Jordan Shephard picked up a pin at 138 pounds. Logan Paluch (120), Michael Wolfgram (285) and Mason Myers (113) each earned pins for the Panthers.
Bermudian Springs 44, Delone Catholic 24: At McSherrystown, the Eagles won a showdown of York-Adams Division III unbeatens. Bermudian improved to 6-0 in the division and 17-1 overall. The Eagles clinched the outright division title for the eight straight season. They've won 11 of the last 12 division crowns. Delone fell to 9-3 and 5-1. No other details were reported.
West York 44, Dover 33: At Dover, the Bulldogs grabbed the York-Adams Division II win. No other details were reported.
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at email@example.com.