No-run zone: Dallastown pitcher dominates foes
Dallastown's Riley Hamberger has certainly found a groove on the mound for the Wildcats.
The senior pitcher sports a 3-1 record so far this season for the upstart Wildcats, who after Monday's 2-0 win over New Oxford are 6-1 in Division I.
"This stretch is the best I can remember throwing," Hamberger said.
Last Thursday, during a 2-0 win over Red Lion, the righty struck out 12 Lions in the complete-game effort. He allowed just two hits.
"It went great. I just threw strikes and everything happened to work out in our favor," Hamberger said.
But that wasn't even the best start of the season for Hamberger. That moment came April 6 against South Western, when he fired a no-hitter on the strength of an 11-strikeout performance.
"It felt great," Hamberger said. "I didn't do anything special. I just threw strikes and everything worked out."
The ability to throw strikes, which Hamberger acknowledged has been his Achilles heel in the past, is a large reason why he's having success on the mound.
"Riley is a competitor and gives you his best every day out there, no matter the circumstances," Dallastown head coach Greg Kinneman said via email. "We were fortunate to get out to an early lead in the game (against South Western) as well, and played some good defense behind Riley that day. Riley had great command of all of his pitches that day, and threw a lot of strikes. All of those things contributed to his success and the no-hitter."
Hamberger attributed some of the team's early success to Kinneman, a first-year coach with the program.
"He's brought a true toughness and knowledge. He's teaching us how to compete. He really wants it for us which makes us want it even more," Hamberger said.
It's also the off season workouts that Kinneman brought with him from West York that has helped Hamberger further develop as a pitcher.
"Coach Kinneman brought in a weight lifting program and I think being stronger this year has helped me on the mound," said Hamberger, who features a fastball, changeup and curveball.
In an email, Kinneman explained, "We began weight training as soon as I arrived at Dallastown, which is something we definitely did at West York. Weight training is a crucial part of our success thus far, both from a strength standpoint as well as a team standpoint.
"We spent a lot of hours in the weight room together this winter. Certainly there are other aspects that have come along with me as well, but that is probably the biggest one. I was fortunate to be part of a great staff with Roger Czerwinski at West York and we had some great kids."
Dallastown currently sits at 6-2 overall and is currently in second place in a very tightly contested YAIAA Division I.
"We have just been playing hard and competing in everything we do. We have been playing solid defense and pitching pretty well and our offense is coming around," Hamberger said.
That's the kind of attitude and effort Kinneman has hoped his team would have.
"Our players have also bought in to a culture change and we have stressed that our culture will drive our success," Kinneman said. "Fortunately, we have some great senior leaders this year that are leading that charge."