See the top five plays from the Dutchmen's wild 2-1 win in the 10th inning over the Raiders Friday. Matt Catrillo/GameTimePA.com
ANNVILLE – Baseball is a sport in which the probability of the unpredictable happening is higher than others.
Just ask the Annville-Cleona and Elco baseball teams after their wild encounter Friday.
The Dutchmen found themselves an out away from a big win over their intra-country rival – only to see the game extended with the aid of a controversial call.
But A-C admirably kept its composure, and finally came away with a 2-1 win in walk-off fashion in the bottom of the 10th, thanks to Cameron Hoch’s RBI bloop single to left.
The game took a wild turn in the bottom of the seventh with two outs, when Dane Miller hit a grounder to short and attempted to beat the throw.
When the throw was made, there was no immediate call by the first base umpire, who then asked for help from the home plate umpire. It didn’t appear as though the home plate umpire saw the play either, so after a short conference, Miller was called safe, which allowed a run to score.
A-C coach Scott Shyda said, “I was very proud of the guys for keeping their focus on the game and finally putting ourselves in position to win it.”
Though Elco coach Chris Weidner knew his team was on the good end of a tough call, he also knew there were plenty of other chances his team didn’t advantage of.
“The ball skipped. We were fortuitous,” Weidner said. “But there were some times where we didn’t take great approaches at the plate. The one thing that bothers me was going down on called third strikes. We don’t give ourselves a shot by not putting the ball in play.”
Luckily for the Dutchmen, not only did they show composure, but they knew they had guys who can come through with the game on the line – one in particular who’s also done it on the football field, the basketball court, in track and field, and on the diamond.
“I just come at every sport focused, think about my teammates and what it means to them,” Hoch said. “It’s a great team and this was a great win. I really don’t do it for myself. I do it for them.”
What helped Hoch and his teammates stay focused was remembering how they first put themselves in position to win, knowing it was a team effort.
“We would’ve never been there if Mitch Long didn’t hit a home run, Eli (Setlock) had a great pitching outing, and Brandon (Uhrich) came in and pitched well,” Hoch said. “It was a tough call, but it had a good ending.”
Long’s homer, a bomb to right center, broke a scoreless tie in the sixth.
Setlock found himself in a pitcher’s duel with Elco’s Clay Hain, going seven innings, allowing the one run on four hits while striking out six, and didn’t walk a batter.
“I finally started throwing strikes,” Setlock said. “Once I started throwing strikes, I got more confident, and that’s key. I finally had the curve ball this game, and that was keeping them off balance.”
Hain meanwhile, went 6.1 innings, allowing one run on three hits, struck out five, and walked just two.
Weidner said, “They (the Dutchmen) were threatening a couple of times and he had to pitch his way out of some big spots. I’m really proud of the way he pitched.”
And though losing a close one like this is a tough pill to swallow, Weidner says there’s a lot to learn.
“We’re going to grow from this,” Weidner said. “I truly think we’re capable to scraping some wins together, and hopefully find our goal of getting to the league playoffs and districts.”
For A-C, its confidence continues to grow, continuing to climb the latter in the Section Four standings and keep the pressure on first-place Lancaster Catholic.
“This is about as good of a week as we could’ve expected,” Shyda said. “Now we’ve put together a couple of these well-played games in a row. We’ve been waiting for this.”