Anthony Reed steps up on the mound again as Spring Grove clinches share of Division I baseball title
After the Spring Grove Rockets lost most of their team to graduation last year, not much was expected from them this season.
Apparently, the Rockets were not listening.
On Monday afternoon, they clinched at least a share of the YAIAA Division I title with an 11-1 victory over Dallastown.
"A month ago, we were in a logjam at the top, and we thought, 'Why not us?'," Spring Grove head coach Kevin Stiffler said. "So what that they are juniors, let's run with it. Maybe it's our time. You never know if you're going to get back here next year."
Spring Grove's team features just one senior.
"Anthony Reed is the story," Stiffler said. "It's been an unbelievable senior year. He's 6-0, and he deserves it. He's worked extremely hard."
Reed overcame early pitch count troubles Monday to toss a one-hitter, his second of the year against Dallastown.
"I wasn't really comfortable at first with my emotions," Reed said. "I was getting nervous because it was a bigger game."
The lanky lefty threw seven pitches to each of the first two batters, and eight to the third, but still retired the Wildcats in order in the first inning.
Then, the Rockets' offense found success in the bottom of the first, scoring three times.
Caleb Ruth's double started things, and a walk and strikeout followed. Derek Hoiles loaded the bases with an infield single to deep short, and Trent Baker drove in a run with a liner to left.
Brandon Schuchart's sacrifice fly and a fielding error on Austin Piety's grounder to third made it 3-0.
"Not sure what happened," said Dallastown head coach Scott Altland. "Unfortunately, the tone went on the wrong direction right off the bat."
"(Riley) Hamberger was having trouble establishing his curveball in the first, so I told the guys that until he establishes it, layoff and just look fastball," Stiffler said.
Back on the mound in the second, Reed worked around hitting a batter and walking another to post scoreless frame.
"I found my pitches and settled in," Reed said. "My defense really helped me. Getting a few runs really helped me settle in, too."
Reed got more support from Trent Baker's bad-hop RBI single with two outs in the second. As the one-hopper bounced over the shoulder of the first baseman, Matt Brooks scored from second base.
A two-out throwing error in the third on Cameron Sterner's grounder brought in yet another run, and Brooks scored on a wild pitch in the fourth to make it 6-1.
Three Dallastown errors and a two-run single by Schuchart then helped put the mercy rule in effect.
Spring Grove has three games left to finish off the outright Division I title.
"We had it in our minds that we could do something special," Reed said. "I knew it from the very first day."
"When we started February 6 am workouts, when the kids came in, (Reed) spearheaded that," Stiffler said. "He's our senior leader, and he deserves it."
Spring Grove 11, Dallastown 1 (6)
Dt, Riley Hamberger, Brandon White (5) and Cody Somerville. SG, Anthony Reed and Derek Hoiles.
SO-BB — Hamberger 3-7, White 4-1. Reed 4-3; W — Reed; L — White; 2B — Dt, Somerville. SG, Caleb Ruth.