BASEBALL: Penn Manor clips Dallastown, 2-1 in district opener
MILLERSVILLE - While it probably wasn't one pitch that cost the Dallastown baseball team a victory in their playoff opener versus Penn Manor, there was just one Comet player who did all the damage.
Comets' sophomore pitcher Jeff Taylor threw seven strong innings and helped himself with the game-winning hit in the bottom of the sixth inning to turn away the Wildcats, 2-1, Monday afternoon at Penn Manor's Comet Field.
The win keeps No. 4 Penn Manor (19-5) moving on in the District 3 Quad-A bracket, while No. 13 Dallastown (11-9) ends its season much the way it began, with Penn Manor coming from behind to defeat the Wildcats.
"Second heartbreaking loss," said Dallastown head coach Rob Alkhas. "We did everything that we needed to do to win the game today."
With Dallastown leading 1-0 in the bottom of the sixth, Taylor came to the plate versus Wildcats' relief pitcher Riley Hamberger with runners on second and third and two out.
Fouling off numerous full-count pitches, Taylor lined a fastball past first base, scoring Collin Groff and Nate McFarland for the 2-1 lead.
"Hate to say one pitch lost us the game, but one pitch there in the sixth inning, he got all of it," Alkhas said. "I told (Taylor) coming through the line (he) single-handedly beat us today, so good job to him."
The Comets' lefty then slammed the door with a 1-2-3 seventh inning, finishing the game with seven strikeouts and just one walk, not to mention tallying all three Comet hits on the day.
"Ever since the Catholic game when I pitched in the L-L Playoffs, that really got my adrenaline going," Taylor said about the seventh inning adrenaline. "Pitching during the Hempfield game during the season really got my adrenaline going. It was just one of those games, I'm getting used to it. It's just a lot of fun pitching in these big games."
The Wildcats took their 1-0 lead in the third inning when Bryant Holtzapple drilled a one-out double to left, scoring on Cody Sommerville's single to center.
"I think they hit a changeup for a double, (Taylor) had that up a little bit," said Penn Manor's head coach Jim Zander. "Other than that I don't know that he made a mistake the whole game. He zoned in; great composure for a tenth grader."
"Coaches calling the pitches and everything was working for me today," Taylor said, calling senior catcher Anthony Knight "a rock behind the plate."
Wildcats' starter Andrew Stambaugh (4Ks, 3BBs) was equally effective, allowing just two hits plus a pair of hit-batsmen. Hamberger came on in relief in the bottom of the fifth, getting Knight on a fly ball to left to end a bases-loaded opportunity for the Comets.
"I told (Stambaugh) after I brought him out, you gave me everything that I needed from you, and we'll see if we can hold on for the win here for you," Alkhas said. "It just didn't work out."
The Comets also left the bases loaded in the bottom of the third, Taylor stroking a one-out single to centerfield. Chase Johnson walked and Collin Whiteside was hit by a pitch before Nate Brown popped-out to second and Knight grounded out to third base.
"We have to cash in to those opportunities and we had the right guy up there," Zander said of his senior catcher. "Anthony has been our leader all year. He put the ball in play; sometimes you hit it at somebody."
Penn Manor will now look to capitalize in the second round of playoffs on Thursday when they take on No. 5 Governor Mifflin (18-6), a 4-3 winner over Cumberland Valley.
"Throughout all these teams, there're solid players on every team, solid pitchers on every team," Taylor said. "We're just one of those teams, too, that have a solid staff and a solid hitting team. We'll be ready to face whoever we get."
Boys' High School Baseball
District 3 AAAA First Round
Penn Manor 2, Dallastown 1
DT 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 - 1 3 0
PM 0 0 0 0 0 2 x - 2 3 3
WP-J. Taylor; LP-R. Hamberger
K-BB-A. Stambaugh (4.2IP, 4K, 3BB, 2HBP), R. Hamberger (1.1IP, 0K, 2BB) and B. Holtzapple; J. Taylor (7IP, 7K, 1BB) and A. Knight
2B-B. Holtzapple (DT)