Northern Lebanon baseball edges Annville-Cleona, 4-3
The Northern Lebanon baseball team held on for a 4-3 win Monday over cross-county rival Annville-Cleona. Andrew Callahan, GameTimePA
The Vikings have now won three of their last four following a slow start to the season
FREDERICKSBURG - There they were, sprinkled over seven tight innings on a sun-splashed day, as clear as the sapphire sky above.
Those infamous little things; converting first-pitch fastballs into early runs, limiting the damage of an error-stricken inning and stranding your opponent's game-tying score harmlessly at third base.
And then came the sum of those little things for the Northern Lebanon ball club that had executed them all: one big ole win.
The Vikings held off cross-county foe Annville-Cleona, 4-3, in the penultimate game of their league crossover schedule, which marked a three-game win streak. Michigan Daub finished 2-for-2 with a triple, one RBI and a pair of runs scored, his last a first-look insurance run that proved to be the game-winner. Boosted initially by a two-run lead in the bottom of the third, Northern Lebanon senior Isaac Wengert went on to toss his fourth complete game.
"I was just pounding the outside corner," Wengert said. "They were trying to pull everything, and you never pull an efficient outside pitch, so they rolled over it and I let my defense do the work. It was a team win."
The Little Dutchmen (7-5, 5-5 Lancaster-Lebanon) have now dropped five of their last six, suffering more than half of those defeats by a single run.
Locked at one apiece during the third, Northern Lebanon (7-7, 5-5) sprung ahead as Daub poked a full-count offering from Little Dutchmen starter Eli Setlock into right field for an RBI single. Two batters later, Setlock was yanked in favor of Tyler Schrader, who finished the game and was only touched up for one more run when Daub came around in the fifth for a 4-1 lead.
Vikings third baseman Seth Walmer plated Daub on a single to left and went 2-for-3.
"It's frustrating for the kids. Another close one. We were right in the game the whole way," Little Dutchmen coach Scott Shyda said." (Tyler) Schrader came in and really kept them in check and that allowed us to stay in the game. We had some chances and just didn't get the big hit when we needed it."
No Annville-Cleona chance proved more excruciating than the top of the sixth, which opened with consecutive hits and Jordan Seyfert's sac fly. Now trailing by one, thanks to Seyfert and an earlier unearned run, the Little Dutchmen left their extra-inning ticket on third base via an ensuing grounder and punch-out.
That tough-luck fate, which haunted the Vikings over the first half of this season, now hovered over the opposing dugout. And for that they couldn't be more thankful. Not only due the thrill of victory, but the element of surprise it could afford them moving forward.
"We're hitting a lot better now and picking each other up," Daub said. "Nobody expects us to do much after the way we started out the season, losing all those close games.
"But now when we're coming a second time around against everybody, I think they should be a little scared."