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MYERSTOWN>> It took 10 whole games for Annville-Cleona baseball coach Scott Shyda to get what he wanted. But when his team's first all-around performance finally materialized Friday, it couldn't have come at a better time.

Having lost three of their last four, the Little Dutchmen (7-3, 6-3 Lancaster-Lebanon) bounced back to beat county rival Elco on the road, 12-0, in a mercy-rule shortened contest. Senior starter Colton Long tossed a complete-game gem, allowing three hits over six innings. Meanwhile, the Annville-Cleona bats exploded for 10 runs on eight hits in the final frame, forcing Raiders starter Jack Mays (5 1/3 innings, 6 ER, 7 Ks, 4 BBs) from the hill.

"We play these guys 10 times, no one is going to win 12 to nothing again," Shyda said. "We thought very much from the beginning it might be a close game, and we were playing for a run early. I'm definitely very, very proud of our guys. We've had a tough little stretch here."

Elco (7-3, 6-3) connected for just three singles against Long, who maintained strong control of the strike zone and opposing base runners throughout. Down 2-0 in the bottom of the fourth, Mays reached via his team's first base hit, but couldn't move over while Long's ensuing dozen pickoff attempts served effectively as a ball and chain. Keeping runners honest had been a point of emphasis for Long and co. the previous day in practice, while following a simple directive from their coach.

"Just be relentless," Shyda said.

Between his fires to first, Long picked up two outs and later induced a threat-ending flyout from Tyler Horst. Annville-Cleona had gone ahead an inning and a half earlier on a two-out Alec Barr RBI single, before Barr eventually came around to score himself on a stolen base and throwing error. Those plays marred an otherwise strong performance from Mays, who was forced into a tight spot in the sixth through his own inning-opening walk and later Little Dutchmen singles.

"In no way, shape, form or fashion would I say he pitched poorly. I thought he pitched pretty well," Raiders coach Chris Weidner said of Mays. "Going into that sixth frame there, we're still thinking we'll hit because that's what we've been doing. But it was one of those days. They hit the ball, and I tip my cap them."

Hitting the ball turned into crushing it after Mays had loaded the bases with a fielding miscue of his own, setting the table for Annville-Cleona right fielder Noah Connor. Connor then worked a 3-2 count and roped a foreseeable fastball to right for a two-RBI double. His extra-base knock ignited two more doubles, including a three-RBI hit by Colton's brother, Hunter Long, until Elco reliever Cole Blatt eventually retired the side.

"It was just awesome to see us come back. Everybody hit, everybody just did a great job. We pulled together and it was a good team win tonight." Colton Long said. "I felt great out there. I had my stuff, and my teammates had my back."

Hunter Long finished 1-for-3 with three RBIs, a total matched only by third baseman Isaac Woelfling. Woelfling went 2-for-4, as did center fielder Mitch Long.

With one county rival down, Annville-Cleona has its sights set now on another, which it will host Monday at 4:15 p.m.

"We're gunning for Northern Lebanon," Colton Long said.

Meanwhile, Elco will stay in county, as well, for a road game at Lebanon Catholic. The Raiders hope that date, in addition to one of their adopted slogans this spring, will get them back on track as the Little Dutchmen did Friday.

"One of our catch phrases for the season is whenever we make a mistake or make an error, 'wipe it,'"Weidner explained. "That's what it has to be now. I don't want them to be happy about it, but let's put it behind us rather quickly and move on."

A-C002 00(10) —12 90Elco000000 —032

W — Colton Long; L — Jack Mays.

SO-BB — A-C: Long 2-1. E: Mays 7-4, Cole Blatt 1-1.

2B — A-C: Noah Connor, Hunter Long, Isaac Woelfling.

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