Monday, January 22, 2018
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Pitching Pushes Ephrata to Another Win


Following complete games Wednesday and Thursday by Ephrata mound mates Gavilan Fogarty-Harnish and Austin Lowrey, respectively, Morgan Stauffer was hoping to continue the trend.

“I wanted it keep it going,” the senior right-hander said.

Stauffer made it three complete games in as many days Friday, pitching Ephrata to a 5-2 win at Manheim Township in an L-L League Sections One-Two crossover game.

“We’ve got a good staff and we will be as good as the collection of that staff,” said Mountaineers skipper Adrian Shelley, who combined with longtime Blue Streaks boss Bill Sassaman to put 39 years of managing experience on the field Friday.

Bobby Nye singled and scored the eventual winning run in a decisive four-run sixth, an inning highlighted further by Nate Fassnacht’s two-run single back through the box.

Fassnacht reached base four times as Ephrata (5-1 in Section Two, 6-1 overall) won for the fourth time in as many days and extended its win streak to five.

“That four-run inning was huge,” said Stauffer, who improved to 2-0 this season. “It got me pumped up.”

Southpaw Aidan Zimmerman started for the Blue Streaks (2-3, 2-5) and dueled Stauffer on even terms for five innings. Through five frames their pitching lines were nearly identical: Five hits and one run allowed, five strikeouts and two walks apiece.

Two Township errors in the top of the first led to Ephrata’s first run, Fassnacht scoring for a quick lead.

Township tied it in the fourth when Gavin O’Donnell, recently returned from an injury, slammed a leadoff drive over the wall in left-center.

Josh Gehman got Ephrata started in the sixth when he was hit by a pitch on a 3-1 count. He was one of four Ephrata batters hit during the game.

Nye followed with a single off reliever Tommy Smeltz and Charlie Warden put the Mounts in front for good by grounding an RBI single to center. Jarred Martin walked to load the bases and Nye scored on a wild pitch.

Fassnacht ripped a 3-1 offering over a ducking Smeltz to score two and make it 5-1. Ephrata’s offensive output over its last five games has been outstanding, the Mounts outscoring opponents 42-10.

The Streaks rallied in their final at-bat. Sean Hennessy led off and reached on an error and Ian Eriksson followed with a single. Carter Krick grounded into a double play that was close — and disputed by some — at first base.

Dan Vucovich’s single to left made it 5-2, but with Township one batter away from bringing the tying run to the plate, Stauffer steadied and got a game-ending groundout to Nye at first base.

“Morgan’s performance was outstanding,” Shelley said. “He competed to the nth degree. As a team we can’t ask for anything more than that.”

Following a most productive week that vaulted the Mounts to the top of their standings, the defending section champs have a deserved day off today.