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ANNVILLE>> Facing Cocalico southpaw Nate Baxter was not the best recipe for getting the Annville-Cleona Little Dutchmen back on track.

Featuring a fastball with sneaky, late life, Cocalico's lanky lefty struck out nine, walked just one—and, most importantly—settled down after a rough start to record a 7-4 win over host Annville-Cleona on Wednesday in a Lancaster-Lebanon League crossover. It was the Little Dutchmen's third loss in their last four games.

Baxter gave up a pair of first-inning runs on an RBI single by Colton Long and a fielder's choice groundout to second base before settling into a groove that allowed his club to stay in the contest. A-C's meat of the lineup, brothers Hunter, Colton and Mitch Long, went a combined 2-for-11.

"Our three-four-five hitters have been extremely productive so far, and (Baxter) did a good job of holding them at bay," Annville-Cleona coach Scott Shyda said. "They've been the ones doing the damage. And that's to his credit. He kept them down, and our guys are very good hitters."

The Eagles (4-6, 3-5 L-L) responded to Baxter's efforts by scoring two runs in the top of the fourth to knot the contest and then five more to blow the doors off it in the sixth. Cocalico batted around, plating five runs on five hits off A-C starter and losing pitcher Alec Barr.

"We did enough to keep ourselves in the game, and when we got an opportunity, we made the most of it," Cocalico coach Mike Bertolino said. "A-C played good defense, they pitched very well. Give them credit."

Baxter helped them get there.

"Aside from his arm talent, the biggest extra Nate Baxter has is his guts. We're a young team and we make young team mistakes. Nate never lost his cool, he kept fighting for us, and that's what we're trying to stress. I'm really proud of Nate Baxter tonight. He showed a lot of heart."

Jeremy Marshall's two-out, bases-clearing double down the left field line was the big blow, a hit that gave the Eagles a 7-2 lead. Baxter helped himself by kick-starting the rally with a lead-off double deep to left that bounced off the fence.

"Anytime you go on the road and beat a good team—and historically, we haven't won here much—it is a building block," Bertolino said. "And we had a rough start to the season."

The grind of playing a third game in three days taxed the Dutchmen (6-3, 5-3 L-L). Had the schedule been configured differently, Shyda may have had options out of the bullpen and gone to them late in Wednesday's ballgame.

But the Dutchmen travel to Elco on Friday for a fourth gig in five days and options are limited at the moment. So Barr took the brunt of the sixth, a frame in which his pitch count spiked severely, before giving way to Tyler Talhelm, making his first appearance, for the seventh.

"We are depleted, pitching-wise, right now," Shyda said. "We have a game Friday we need to save guys for. Not a lot of options. It's just a matter of battling through. It's just kind of where we are right now with our pitching."

A-C clawed back from a 7-2 deficit with two runs in the sixth, courtesy of RBI singles from Isaac Woelfling and Noah Connor, helped along by two Cocalico infield errors on one play to lead off the frame.

The Dutchmen again made noise during their final swings in the seventh by having two batters reach with one out. But Baxter induced consecutive fly-ball outs to end it.

Cocalico 7, Annville-Cleona 4

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W — Nate Baxter; L — Alec Barr

SO-BB — C: Baxter 9-1. A-C: Barr 2-1, Talhelm 1-0.

2B — C: Tyler Keppley, Brady Sawyer, Jeremy Marshall, Baxter. A-C: Mitch Long.

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