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After two weeks of enduring cold temperatures and rain, Spring Grove took the field on a warmer, sunny day on Saturday.

The Rockets might have preferred cold and rain, though, to the 30 mile-per-hour winds that wreaked havoc on their defense in 10-0 loss to undefeated Lower Dauhpin.

Outfielders on both teams struggled to get under fly balls and Spring Grove made five errors, all in the last four innings, that allowed the Falcons to take full control of the game.

"The wind was blowing the ball all over, knocking it down sometimes, carrying it other times," Lower Dauphin assistant coach Ron Collier said. "It was a tough outfield day.

"We were lucky enough to have them hit the ball on the ground more. We hit more in the air than they did."

Spring Grove trailed 1-0 going into the fourth inning before a leadoff triple by Tyler Fredrich, who went 3-for-4, ignited Lower Dauphin's biggest inning. An error, two walks and a double by Tommy Townsend put the Falcons up 5-0 and ended sophomore Jon Sager's day on the mound.

Sager showed a glimpse of his potential, though, by striking out eight batters in 4 2/3 innings and recording nine consecutive outs at one point. He's one of three sophomores starting for the Rockets, who lost every starter from last year's YAIAA championship team except for Matt Brooks.

"Pitching hasn't really been our problem, it's just been getting timely hits and scoring runs," Spring Grove coach Kevin Stiffler said. "I know as a coach, I've been here a long time, that these kids are still trying to get used to the speed of the varsity game.

"Maybe I'm thinking we should be better than what we are but we're used to having a solid program here and I believe in them. We're way better than what we showed today."

After the game, Stiffler spent more than 10 minutes talking to his team in the outfield, then held the sophomores back for a few extra minutes.

"He was just saying that we need to step up to the plate," Sager said. "He thinks that if we succeed, the whole team will and we just need to be a little more of leaders."

Lower Dauphin 10, Spring Grove 0

Lower Dauphin1004203—10111Spring Grove0000000—045

LD, Tyler Roman, Michael Wilhite (5) and Tyler Fredrich. SG, Jon Sager, Matt Brooks (4), Logan Miller (7) and Ty Maughlin.

SO-BB — LD, Roman 2-1, Wilhite 1-2. SG, Sager 8-2, Brooks 3-0, Miller 0-0; W — Roman; L — Sager; 2B — LD, Tommy Townsend, Bailey Heath, SG, Matt Brooks; 3B — Fredrich.

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