Monday, January 22, 2018
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Mounts Ousted in Semifinals


At precisely 6:58 p.m. Tuesday, right-hander Adam Schwartz uncoiled from his delivery and fired the first salvo in the latest installment of the Ephrata-Penn Manor baseball rivalry.

What followed over the next two-plus hours at Ephrata’s chilled War Memorial Field was a game that had a little bit of everything and was ultimately won by the Comets, 2-1, on a bases-loaded walk and a bases-loaded hit batsmen.

“All of our games have a little bit of everything,” Comets coach Jim Zander said. “We make it interesting, that’s for sure.”

“This means the world to the seniors,” said Comets ace Jeff Taylor, a junior, who fanned eight, walked one and threw 99 pitches, 67 for strikes, in a three-hitter. “It was a heartbreaking loss last year (to the Mountaineers in the L-L final).”

Section One runner-up Penn Manor (18-3) and Section Two runner-up Solanco (12-9) will return to War Memorial Thursday for the 7 p.m. title game.

“It’s going to be exciting,” said Taylor, who noted that the Comets trailed Solanco 5-0 in an L-L Section's One-Two crossover game this spring before battling back for the victory.

Taylor and Schwartz matched scoreless innings for four frames before Penn Manor pushed the first run across when Eric Snyder worked a bases-loaded walk in the fifth.

The Comets made it 2-0 in the sixth when Grant Gale was hit by a pitch from reliever Nate Fassnacht with the bases loaded.

Ephrata (17-5) countered in the bottom of the sixth when Fassnacht tripled and stole home, setting off a brouhaha. Taylor closed out the win when he retired the side in the seventh on nine pitches, all strikes.

"Jeff pitched a great game," Zander said, "and we had a rock-solid defense."