York Suburban beat the Thunder Bolts on Thursday three weeks after losing to them by 10
Three weeks ago, York Suburban pitcher Brendon Delridge felt he and his teammates "never even got off the bus" when they lost to Littlestown by 10 runs.
In a rematch against the Thunderbolts at home on Thursday, the Trojans looked like a completely different team. Delridge tossed a complete game and York Suburban beat its division rival, 5-1.
The difference between the two games for York Suburban? No 50-minute bus ride this time.
"(The bus ride) kills you, players are sleeping on the way there and we have to wake them up and get going," Delridge said. "It's hard to get up from an hour bus ride and be ready to play. I didn't have my best stuff last time, and today I came out relaxed and with my best stuff."
After not getting out of the second inning during York Suburban's 13-3 loss to Littlestown on April 14, Delridge struck out seven batters and gave up just four hits and one run on Thursday. He had a shutout going until the fifth inning and didn't allow a run until Suburban already led by five.
Offensively, the Trojans broke the game open in the fourth inning when they picked up four runs on four hits, one walk, a sacrifice fly and one Littlestown error. Brad Smith drove in two runs when he hit a short pop up to left field that managed to drop in.
"We knew we would get more out of Delridge than what we got last time," York Suburban head coach Chris Rotolo said. "When we went there we never got off the bus, got off to a slow start and it just imploded from there. Our mindset was different this time and it was nice to be at home."
With just about a week left in the regular season, York Suburban (8-7, 8-3 Division III) and Littlestown (7-6, 7-4 Division III) are both in a four-team battle with Gettysburg (9-5, 8-4 Division III) and Eastern York (11-6, 9-3 Division III) for the YAIAA Division III crown. Thursday's win puts Suburban just half a game back of Eastern York, and the Trojans still have three division games left on their schedule.
While it has a strong record in division play, Suburban entered Thursday ranked 27th in District 3 Class AAA and has a slim chance of making the 16-team district tournament. The YAIAA tournament is likely the Trojans' only hope of postseason play, but Rotolo said he's encouraged his players not to worry about things they can't control.
With four games remaining and three against divisional opponents, Littlestown is in a similar situation as York Suburban. Like Rotolo, Bolts head coach Larry Baumgardner said he's trying to get his players to focus on each game instead of worrying about clinching scenarios and weather postponements.
"There's no sense getting these kids worked up about, 'We've got to do this, this and this to make it happen,' because what's going to happen will happen," Rotolo said. "Traditionally we haven't been in the running (for the division), but they've always known they're capable of it. We've got to focus on the little things and have fun."
"It's tough but I think the guys are prepared," Baumgardner said. "Playing almost every day is going to test our pitching, but hopefully we can get into a little bit of a rhythm. I think our guys are ready for it."