Alex Pirich clapped his hands and yelled, "Yes!" as he jogged down the first-base line during the sixth inning of Biglerville's game against Littlestown on Friday.
The senior catcher, one of two seniors on the team, had just put the Canners ahead 5-3 with a hard-hit grounder that found its way into the outfield for a two-run single.
“(Littlestown pitcher Brandon Pittinger) has been throwing with us since rec ball, so I knew he could throw strikes and throw fast," Pirich said. "I just tried to put the ball in play and find a gap out there.”
Pirich's timely hit continued a trend of opportune hitting this season for the Canners, who are now 5-0 in YAIAA Division IV play after Friday's 9-3 win against the Thunderbolts. The game against Littlestown, a Division III team, counts in the standings for both teams as a divisional crossover game.
Most of Biglerville's wins have followed a similar script to that one: giving up runs early in the game, but capitalizing on opportunities with runners on base later in the game by coming through with more hits.
“This season could have been very disastrous," Biglerville coach Jeff Taylor said. "But luckily we’ve gotten some clutch hits and our pitchers have kept us in the games.”
Junior Noah Ayers added a three-run double later in the sixth inning against Littlestown to extend the Canners' victory margin in a game that was tied midway through the sixth inning.
Ayers also pitched the final two innings, giving up two runs — neither of them earned — in the sixth and putting together a 1-2-3 inning to close out the game in the seventh. Chase Long allowed just one run in the first five innings, including striking out the side after facing a situation with runners on second and third base and no outs in the fifth inning.
"When we keep our heads up, we play well," Ayers said of battling back to win games. "It’s more of ‘if you make a bad play, get them next time,’ and keeping our confidence up.”
In addition for aiming for a division title this year, Biglerville also aims to qualify for the district playoffs. The Canners missed qualifying by less than seven one-thousandths of a point in last year's power rankings.
“It’s been a huge motivation," Ayers said. "These guys don’t like losing. The more we keep winning, it gets our confidence up. The whole team played legion ball together (last summer) and I think that really brought us together.”
For the Thunderbolts, the loss dropped them to 2-2 in divisional play.
“I like the effort we had today," Littlestown coach Larry Baumgardner said. "We talked earlier in the week about grinding out these games. We’ve got some inexperienced guys, but I feel like our approaches are getting better.”
“We’re close. We’re getting guys on base but we need that key hit. But give Biglerville credit, they got the big hit when they needed it.”