4 teams take field in YAIAA semifinals
The YAIAA baseball tournament is here, with four teams qualifying for Tuesday's semifinals.
Dallastown and York Catholic will square off at Spring Grove High Area High School, while Gettysburg and Susquehannock will play at New Oxford High School. Both contests are at 5 p.m.
Here's a breakdown of the matchups:
Dallastown (15-4) vs. York Catholic (10-7), Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Spring Grove Area High School
Talk about rounding into form.
The Wildcats came on strong down the stretch of the season. After starting the year 3-4, the team has won 12 straight games and holds a 15-4 overall record and 13-2 mark in league. They ultimately overcame a hot start from Red Lion to win YAIAA Division I.
Simply put, Dallastown is a well-coached team that does everything well. From a pitching standpoint and defensively, the Wildcats are sound. Couple that with an offense that’s improved as the season's moved along, and it's a team that's surging down the stretch.
“We’ve pitched and played defense all year long. Most recently, the bats have started to come along,” said head coach Greg Kinneman. “We’re still pitching well and playing good defense. But we’re also scoring more runs.”
The return of Nick Parker cannot be overlooked. He was a GameTimePA All-Star last year as a sophomore, and is a Division-I college commit (Coastal Carolina). His return from a preseason arm injury has helped solidify the Wildcats’ pitching rotation, infield defense and batting order.
Meanwhile, in the absence of their ace pitcher, Jake Gates and Alex Weakland stepped up with big performances on the mound, and the team as a whole is battle tested with playoff experience from last year.
“We have been there before. We understand what it takes to win big games,” Kinneman said. “Certainly our guys are going to be prepared for that. But ultimately we have to execute.”
The Irish, on the other hand, finished the regular season back in their typical position: At the top of the YAIAA Division IV standings.
York Catholic isn't necessarily a flashy team, yet one that finished a game ahead of Delone Catholic and two up on Biglerville when all was said and done. The Irish are going to find a way to get the job done and grind out wins.
All and all, it looks like a tough matchup on paper for York Catholic – it usually is when a Class 2A school goes up against a 6A program. But this is playoff baseball, and the Irish enter the contest one strong pitching performance and a couple fortuitous bounces away from springing an upset.
“I’ve told our team we’re going to handle this game like any other game: Throw strikes, play very good defense and, at the end of the day, it’ll be a very close game,” said Irish head coach Joe Gurreri. “If it’s a close game at the end, anything can happen.”
Gettysburg (12-6) vs. Susquehannock (16-4), Tuesday at 5 p.m. at New Oxford High School
An intriguing matchup for a handful of reasons, not the least of which is that these two teams just met – a 6-2 Susquehannock victory on April 9.
Susquehannock, the YAIAA Division III champion, jumped out to an early lead in that one — going ahead 1-0 in the second inning before scoring three runs in the third and two more in the fourth.
That was Susuehannock’s last game of the regular season. Gettysburg, on the other hand, won a Division II-clinching 5-4 contest over West York later in the week.
“We’re basically playing them in back-to-back games,” said Susquehannock head coach Tim Hare. “It was a little bit of a different dynamic for them....but for both of us, going into Tuesday’s game, everybody should be fresh and ready to roll.”
It's been an interesting season for Gettysburg. The team got off to an 8-0 start before losing six of nine games down the stretch. Head coach Ryan Brady said his club got away from having quality at bats, and it showed in low offensive production.
Regardless, Brady said his team is fired up to redeem itself in its rematch against Susquehannock.
“We have one of those teams, nobody likes to lose, but they take it personally,” Brady said. “They want to show better. Don’t get me wrong, (Susquehannock is) a good team, but we feel we didn’t play our type of game either.”
Susquehannock is sound, and Hare said it’s no secret how his club has gotten to this point.
“We have to scratch and claw for runs,” he said. “But the key to our success is pitching and defense.”