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Experienced Gettysburg makes noise in new division

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The Gettysburg baseball team has already achieved its first goal of the season, and in convincing fashion.

The Warriors were determined to avoid what they'd done each of the past two years: Losing the first four games of the season.

In fact, Gettysburg has done a complete about-face: The Warriors sit at 5-0, atop YAIAA Division II.

"The kids knew that we couldn't afford to start 0-4 again," third-year coach Ryan Brady said. "It's such an uphill battle to climb out of the hole and you have such little margin for error."

After last season's 0-4 start, the Warriors went on an eight-game winning streak. But they but ended up missing the district playoffs by one game when they dropped their finale to Boiling Springs.

This year's team brings back seven of last year's starters, so the expectations were high coming into the season, despite moving from Division III to Division II. Gettysburg lost right fielder Tyler Wilt and first baseman/pitcher P.J. Cosden to graduation.

Freshman Zach Ketterman has stepped into the leadoff spot and also plays shortstop, a move that has pushed his brother, Ethan, a senior, to second base.

"Being in a new division, we've had to learn new opponents," Ethan Ketterman said. "But we've gotten a lot of experience the last few years."

The Warriors made an early-season statement by defeating Dallastown, the defending Division I and YAIAA tournament champion. Gettysburg earned a  6-4 victory when they faced off March 27 in a YAIAA Division I vs. II showdown that counts as a league contest.

"We felt all throughout the offseason that we'd have a good team, but you never know for sure," Brady said. "We have five seniors and you can't underestimate having that many guys with three years of varsity experience under their belts."

The team is averaging seven runs per game and hitting .380 as a group.

"Our bats have come through for us so far," Ethan Ketterman said. "We have confidence that we can score runs and we always try to pick each other up."

Brady's rotation has featured three starters with senior Michael Tempel, junior Logan Carbaugh and sophomore Josh Topper, while the Ketterman brothers have picked up innings in relief.

"We have three or four starters that I feel pretty confident in when they are on the mound," Brady said. "We've got to get off to better starts than we have in the past two games, because you have to play differently when you're behind."

While the Warriors haven't lost yet, they have survived some struggles.

On Monday, Gettysburg rallied from a 7-0 deficit to defeat York Suburban, 12-9. Then on Wednesday, the Warriors found themselves in a 7-4 hole after two innings against Northeastern before winning, 9-8.

Brady pointed to the chemistry and closeness of the players as a major reason for their success so far in 2017.

"This team is focused and they pay attention to detail," he said. "They hang out together off the field and you can tell that they really do like each other and that can make a big difference."