Our top-five teams three weeks into the season,, along with honorable mentions. (Teddy Feinberg/GameTimePA.com)
It was not a day for offense. Far from it, in fact.
Yet it was the Dallastown Wildcats that found a way to push a run across the plate, beating Central York, 1-0, Wednesday at Dallastown High School.
Each team is now 6-4 overall. Dalllastown moves to 5-2 in YAIAA Division I play, while Central York is 5-3 in league.
Red Lion remains in first place with a 6-2 league mark after falling to New Oxford, 3-2, on Wednesday.
Related:YAIAA baseball power rankings
Hits were scarce for the Wildcats and Panthers in this rivalry matchup. Starting pitchers Jake Gates (Dallastown) and Mike Nizinski (Central York) both threw well and weather conditions certainly played a factor in the low offensive output — it was a cold afternoon, and a stiff wind made virtually any fly ball a playable one for the defense.
Each team managed just one hit apiece, and Dallastown's came on a close call at first base that made Central York head coach Mike Valencik spring out of the dugout in protest. As it turned out, that one play ended up being a pivotal one in the contest.
It went in favor the Wildcats' leadoff hitter, Alex Weakland, in the bottom of the fifth inning. A subsequent bunt and groundout moved Weakland to third base for the speedy Sean Reding. He would hit a ground ball to shortstop Kevin Ehrman, who was an early-game injury substitute. A throwing error ensued, and the go-ahead run crossed the plate.
"We have our lone hit, we lay a bunt down and we hit two or three ground balls and we score a run," Wildcats' head coach Greg Kinneman said. "It's just having a good approach and a good plan at the plate. We did it in the fifth and sixth innings. We hadn't done it prior to that. But, thankfully enough, in the fifth we were able to scratch a run out."
Said Valencik on the close call to lead off the fifth: "Umpires miss them too. Umpires don't win or lose a game....They have a tough job to do."
Gates, for his part, was working on a no-hitter at the time and took that effort into the seventh and final frame. With one out, however, Central York catcher Colin Parks delivered a double down the left-field line.
Dallastown would get its bullpen going, but Gates buckled down to preserve the win. The next batter, Landon Ness, made solid contact but lined out to center field. Mike Reisinger would then ground out to shortstop Tye Golden for the final out of the contest.
"Jake Gates has been outstanding for us," Kinneman said. "The thing about Jake is, No. 1 he throws a ton of strikes. He's all around the plate all the time. And No. 2, he competes. Every time we put Jake Gates out there, he's going to compete until the very last out of the game."
Gates didn't join the Wildcats' baseball program until last season and takes the field for the club solely as a pitcher. Previously, Gates was a track athlete at Dallastown.
The senior cited Kinneman and last year's seniors as helping him make a successful transition, and was quick to tip his hat to the defense following Wednesday's win.
"Having those guys, having the coaching staff my first and second year, they're probably one of the bigger reasons why the success keeps coming," Gates said. "Not only for me, but mostly all of our guys."