Rams get late rally, extra-inning win over West York in district semifinals. (Teddy Feinberg/GameTimePA.com)
A never-say-die attitude has the Kennard-Dale Rams on the brink of winning a District 3 Class 4A baseball championship.
Down 4-0 in the seventh and final inning of Tuesday's semifinal against West York, the Rams tied the score off separate one-out RBI base hits from Garrett Lowe and Ben Stewart. The team went on to win the game in the eighth inning, when Ben Lowe's one-out single to left scored freshman Max Cooper, as the Rams stormed the field in celebration.
Kennard-Dale, seeded No. 6 in the District 3 Class 4A tournament bracket, advances to Thursday's championship game, where it'll take on the winner between No. 9 West Perry and No. 5 East Pennsboro. Those two teams were rained out Tuesday. They were re-scheduled to play their District 3 Class 4A semifinal Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. at Newport High School.
"We showed some heart. Bottom of the seventh inning, got a rally started almost from nothing. And just clawed our way back," Ben Lowe said. "Come back in the bottom of the eighth with a chance to win it. That's Kennard-Dale baseball."
West York, the No. 10 seed in the District 3 Class 4A bracket, must win its District 3 third-place game, scheduled for Thursday, to qualify for states.
Time and location of Thursday's championship and third-place games are yet to be determined.
Tuesday's contest saw the Rams have little to no luck against West York ace left-hander Zach Gettys. West York took advantage of early KD errors, mental miscues, and cold and wet weather to take a 4-0 lead after three innings.
Gettys exited in the sixth inning, however, after reaching the 100-pitch mark. He gave up just one hit, walked three and struck out five in 5 1/3 innings of work. He also hit two batters.
His replacement, Corey Wise, induced a double-play ball to get out of the sixth, but Kennard-Dale broke through in the seventh stanza.
"During the game, he was tough. He didn't leave a lot over the plate and he threw a great game," Ben Lowe said of Gettys. "Getting him out of there was definitely a big spark. That was huge...If nothing else, a confidence boost for us."
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Two walks and a base hit brought Garrett Lowe to the plate with one down, and he promptly singled to left field. Two runs scored, and Lowe and Joey Thomas moved to second and third on the throw to the plate.
They would then score on Stewart's base hit to center, tying to score 4-4.
Kennard-Dale nearly ended the game right then and there. With a runner at third and two out, Kennard-Dale's Mike Lizzi hit a grounder up the middle, only to have second baseman Trent Ketterman make a diving stop and nab Lizzi on a close play at first to send the game to extras.
West York went down in order in the top of the eighth.
Kennard-Dale freshman Max Cooper, in his first varsity at-bat, walked and then stole second. Thomas was hit by a pitch, bringing up Ben Lowe who's single to left brought in Cooper and sent the Rams into a frenzy.
"We played five or six of the worst innings I think we played all year. We were able to make corrections in one inning and go get it back," said Kennard-Dale coach Blake Knecht. "It just shows you the resiliency these guys have, the dedication they have to their craft and how hard they've worked all year, to not let anything spoil their fun, their excitement."