Shippensburg extends streak at Greencastle's expense
Is it possible that a pair of Mid Penn Colonial Division baseball teams met Wednesday afternoon and are now headed in different directions?
Shippensburg, which began its season 0-5, has now won three straight and four of its last five after handing Greencastle-Antrim a 3-1 loss, which was the Blue Devils' second straight defeat after starting out 8-0.
There is no doubt the Greyhounds (4-6, 2-5 MPC) have turned it around.
"It stinks that we started the season like we did," said Ship's Brady Kuhn, who notched a save Wednesday. "But now we're in a groove, being laid back and having fun. We're playing for each other now instead of playing for ourselves."
As far as Greencastle, coach Eric Shaner said, "We are not in panic mode at all."
Shippensburg received a quality start from Nathan Holt, who allowed only two hits in his 5 1/3 innings. But when he walked three batters in the sixth to load the bases, Kuhn was summoned from the bullpen to put out the fire. He struck out his first batter and the second hit a chopper to third base. Matt Frick caught the ball, then tagged out the runner coming from second to end the inning.
"Frick stuck with it and made a big play - he stayed focused," Ship coach Nate Rosenberry said.
And that's the biggest reason why Rosenberry thinks his team has been rejuvenated.
"We've been making the plays on defense, and scoring just enough runs to win," he said. "Our pitching's been fantastic most of the way, but now when we have chances, we're taking advantage of them on offense. We're having better at-bats and putting the ball in play."
Against G-A ace Nathan Starliper, who gave up only four hits and fanned 11 in six innings, the Hounds got the most out of their chances.
In the third, Aaron Ross singled, stole second and came home on a line-drive base hit to center by Colton Zeigler. After moving up on an error and wild pitch, Zeigler came home on a sacrifice fly by Holt.
The Devils (8-2, 6-1 MPC) manufactured a run in the fifth on a walk, a bunt single by Jason Freeman, a sac bunt by Cade Bender and a fielder's choice by Jimmy Beavers.
But Shippensburg got it right back in the bottom half on singles by Jake Frey and Zeigler and a wild pitch.
Rosenberry said, "Getting that third run right after they scored was huge."
"If we had lost a couple more this week, we'd have been out of the playoffs for sure," Zeigler said. "We got our focus back."
While Ship is planning to give teams a problem down the stretch, Shaner said, "We can see what got us to 8-0, just as we can see what caused us to go 0-2 in our last two games. I'll take the blame for that. We'll get it back."