Monday, January 22, 2018
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Mounts claim LL Baseball Title

Ephrata's motto this season was “Defend the Turf.”

The Mountaineers did that, dealing Penn Manor a 7-2 defeat Thursday night in the L-L League title game on the new turf surface of War Memorial Field.

Austin Lowrey scattered six hits in going the distance, Dillon Good drilled a two-run home run and the Mountaineers scored seven runs over the final three frames to claim their first title since 2010 and third overall for skipper Adrian Shelley.

“We have high expectations and when we didn't win the section we stepped back and regouped,” Shelley said. “We have the ability to play with anybody but we hadn't proved it.”

They proved it in the tournament, the Section Two runner-ups beating Manheim Central, Section One champion and defending league champ Hempfield and then Section One runner-up Penn Manor.

“We started to do things we needed to do,” said Shelley.

“We know we have a good team,” Dillon Good said. “We just try to go out and (play) it one game at a time, and I think we did that.”

Lowrey did it one pitch at a time, riding his fastball and cutter throughout. He had thrown a complete game in beating Penn Manor 3-1 last spring.

“I kind of knew their weaknesses and worked on that,” said Lowrey, who threw 97 pitches, 63 for strikes.

“He was incredible,” Dillon Good said. “He hit his spots real well, got them to hit into outs.”

The Comets struck first, scoring in the top of the first. Collin Groff stroked a leadoff single to center, and took second when Cameron Dickerson followed with a walk. Nate McFarland's sacrifice moved both runners along and Grant Gale's groundout scored Groff.

The Mounts looked to counter in the bottom of the inning. Dillon Good led off with a single and Andre Good walked. But Gale struck out the side, stranding two and preserving the narrow lead.

Ephrata broke through in the fourth. Andre Good drew a leadoff walk and Adam Schwartz followed with a single. Brandon Schwark's sac bunt resulted in an error and prompted Comets coach Jim Zander to bring Jeremy Miller on in relief.

With the bases loaded Brian Wentz reached on a fielder's choice. An error on a force play at home tied the game as Andre Good scored from third, and the Mounts took the lead when Schwartz scored on the same play following a throw down to second.

"Crazy inning," said Shelley.

Ephrata upped its advantage to 4-1 in the fifth. Weik opened the inning with a single and one batter later Dillon Good pulled a two-run blast into the left-field bleachers.

“I felt like I was getting some good swings,” he said. “I was looking for a fastball middle-in and that's exactly what he gave me.”

"He put a good swing on it," Shelley said.

The Mounts added three more in the sixth, Nate Fassnacht singling in two runs and Chase Weik bringing in another run with a flyout that scored Fassnacht.

The Comets countered with a final run in the seventh, Anthony Knight doubling in Collin Whiteside.

Note: The Mounts were making their first trip to the L-L final since winning it all in 2010. The Comets were making their first trip to the title game since striking gold in 2009.