East Penn ends Kennard-Dale's district title dream
East Pennsboro's Chris Horst pitched a complete-game victory to lead the Panthers to a 6-1 victory in the District 3 Class 4A baseball championship game Thursday, June 1, 2017. Jim Seip, GameTImePA
East Pennsboro right-hander Chris Horst knows his limitations.
He might not wow you, but he doesn't care.
He just wants to win.
The senior kept Kennard-Dale's lineup off-balance, allowing East Penn to pick up a 6-1 victory in the District 3 Class 4A baseball title game Thursday night at Northern York High School.
"The key for me: I don't throw super hard, so I try to place my pitches, get my curveball across for strikes and throw first-pitch strikes," Horst said.
He checked off each during an impressive complete-game victory. Perfect through three innings, he had a shutout and 1-0 lead headed into the bottom of the sixth inning.
"One of the big things we talked about in the middle of the game was we had to break up his rhythm," Kennard-Dale manager Blake Knecht said.
"He's probably the best pitcher we've seen all year."
Horst struck out nine, walked one and allowed four singles.
East Penn (17-4) loaded the bases and took advantage of two costly errors in the bottom of the sixth to score five unearned runs. East Penn sent 11 batters to the plate in the inning, using one double, two singles, two hit batters, two errors and one walk break the game open.
In the third inning, a fielding error on a ball hit to the outfield eventually led to the first run of the game when Nick Embleton followed with a triple to the gap. In the sixth inning, a dropped pop-up behind second base and a roller in the infield that was thrown off the mark extended the inning and allowed East Penn to score insurance runs.
"We are a quarter of an inch from keeping the game at 1-0," Knecht said. "It's one little bobble, one little extra step ... two balls that hit off the end of gloves but that's how it works."
The loss overshadowed another solid performance from Kennard-Dale's Ben Stewart. He struck out four and walked two in 6 2/3 innings. He allowed six runs on six hits, but three of Kennard-Dale's four errors led to the six unearned runs — including five unearned runs in a pivotal sixth inning.
"I feel good every night when I go out," Horst said. "I'm always confident, but as soon as we scored those five runs, I didn't know it was over but, I was happy with the position we were in."
The loss does not signal an end to the season for Kennard-Dale (18-4), something manager Blake Knecht tried to impress on his players after the loss. He talked about the state tournament, he talked about the accomplishment of reaching a district final.
"I'm super proud," he said.
West York 8, West Perry 1: In Dillsburg, West York put the game out of reach with a six-run fifth inning to win the District 3 Class 4A consolation game and earn a berth in the state tournament. The Bulldogs sent 10 batters to the plate in the inning, and scored all its runs with two outs.
The Bulldogs (13-11) used four singles, two walks and an error to fuel the big inning. West York second baseman Trent Ketterman hit a three-run single, finishing the day with a 3-for-4 showing at Northern York.
West Perry (15-9) snapped the Bulldogs' shutout bid with a run in the sixth inning.