BASEBALL: Tuesday's roundup, Greencastle has key hit in 8-inning victory over Middletown
MIDDLETOWN >> Heading into Tuesday's non-league game, Greencastle-Antrim's baseball team knew it needed a win.
The Blue Devils had dropped to No. 17 in the District 3 Class AAA power rankings with only 16 teams advancing to the postseason. A victory against Middletown, the 12th-ranked team, was a necessity.
But it wasn't easy.
The game was the definition of a pitchers' duel, as the teams combined for just three hits. But Greencastle used its one and only hit to secure a 1-0 victory in eight innings over the Blue Raiders.
"This was a game we had to have to get into the playoffs," Blue Devil coach Eric Shaner said. "We were facing a big time Division I pitcher, and it seemed like everyone had a bunch of strikeouts. Every guy struck out at least once, but we told the guys, 'Derek (Measell) is matching him, so just scratch and claw and get a run in somehow.'"
That's precisely what Greencastle (13-7) did.
Through seven innings, Middletown ace Nathan Ocker had not allowed a single hit. But in the top of the eighth, Measell led off with a walk, and pinch hitter Shawn Keller laid down a sacrifice bunt to move him into scoring position.
After yet another strikeout — Ocker finished with 18 on the day — Myles Gayman drove a curveball between third and short, giving Measell time to round the bases for the eventual winning run.
But Middletown didn't go down without a fight. In the home half of the extra frame, after one out, the Raiders drew a walk and notched a single to put a pair on. But the next batter smacked a grounder to Matt Kline, who stepped on second then threw to first for the double play.
"Derek was outstanding tonight, and that goes without saying when you look at his stats, but we played really good defense behind him tonight," Shaner said. "The guys just did a great job not getting down tonight. With 18 strikeouts, things can look a little bit grim, but they weren't willing to lay over for him."
Measell had a fine outing to make his record 8-1 for the regular season. He fired a two-hitter that featured just two walks and six strikeouts.
Greencastle 1, Middletown 0 (8)
W — Derek Measell (7-1); L — Nathan Ocker.
2B — (M) B.Harper; SB — (M) Finsterbush.
JEFFERSON 16, MERCERSBURG 1 >> Mercersburg Academy knew it was in for a battle against Jefferson, which is one of the top ranked teams in West Virginia, and the Cougars didn't disappoint.
The Blue Storm suffered a five-inning loss in the non-league game.
"We didn't play terribly, but we didn't have our good pitchers to throw because we had used everybody over the weekend," Mercersburg coach Karl Reisner said. "You don't play a good team like that without your best. They just hammered us from the beginning offensively."
Mercersburg (17-4) managed just three hits, including a double from Brandon Thomas. Tristan Baker and Chris Adusei-Poku both had singles.
Jefferson 16, Mercersburg 1 (5)
W — Carroll; L — Dylan Bartlett (3-1).
2B — (J) Alvarez, (M) Brandon Thomas; SB — (J) Price, Crockett.