Clutch throw propels Gettysburg past Susquehannock
Here are the four squads competing for league supremacy. (Teddy Feinberg/GameTimePA.com)
Now that was clutch.
Leading 6-5 in the top of the seventh inning, Gettysburg faced a bases loaded, nobody out jam in a YAIAA semifinals game against Susquehannock on Tuesday night at New Oxford High School.
No. 4 hitter Ben Trego sent a fly ball to shallow center field, where Gettysburg's Jay Geesaman camped under it to make the catch. Geesaman then loaded up and fired home, as base runner Chase Summers tagged up from third.
Geesaman's throw was on the money, catcher David Buxton applied the tag, and just like that the double play was in order. Gettysburg still held its 6-5 advantage, only now with two men out in the final frame.
Freshman pitcher Zach Ketterman then retired Peyton Reider on a fly out to right field. Gettysburg advances, and will face Dallastown in the YAIAA championship Wednesday at 5 p.m. at Spring Grove Area High School. The Wildcats beat York Catholic 11-5 in Tuesday's other YAIAA semifinal, played at Spring Grove.
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"Something needed to happen when we had bases loaded and zero outs," Geesaman said. "Double play somewhere. And I was thinking about, they're tagging up if there's any kind of fly ball...I saw it coming to me, I waited back, came, caught it and went through and just wailed it. Muscle memory. Went towards home, gave it all I got, and it got there. I was happy."
Geesaman said he's thrown runners out at home a few other times this season, and added that he expected Susquehannock would tag up in that situation.
"They were pretty desperate," Geesaman said. "They had zero outs and had not much to lose....I was firing home no matter what."
Geesaman also delivered at the plate with two hits — one of which was a double —.a walk and a run scored. The senior said, despite his No. 9 standing in the batting order, he views himself as another leadoff hitter with good contact ability and speed to burn.
"He starts it at the bottom and roll it over to the top," said Ketterman. "That's how we operate."
Gettysburg started Michael Fortney on the mound in Tuesday's semifinal, a left-handed pitcher who saw just four innings of work this season entering the contest.
Still, he experienced some success against Susquehannock in Gettysburg's 6-2 loss last week in one of the regular season's final games.
Gettysburg took a 3-0 lead in the first inning Tuesday, with Zach Ketterman scoring on an Ethan Ketterman groundout; a Susquehannock error in the outfield bringing home another run; and a two-out RBI single from Logan Carbaugh.
Susquehannock would tie things, however, with a run in the second inning and two more in the third.
Zach Ketterman relieved Fortney to start the fourth inning and Gettysburg would score three runs in the bottom of the frame. Geesaman doubled to deep right and Zach Ketterman followed with an opposite-field double down the left-field line. Ketterman eventually scored from third on a stolen-base attempt from Michael Tempel, as the ball got away from the Susquehannock defense. Another Susquehannock error during the rally made the score 6-3 Gettysburg.
Gettysburg had a chance to blow things open further in the fifth inning, loading the bases with one out. But a pop out and strikeout ended the rally.
Susquehannock would cut the deficit to 6-5 in the fifth, when Trego delivered a two-run single through the left side, but Zach Ketterman escaped another pressure situation to preserve the lead.
"He's not going to be nervous," Gettysburg coach Ryan Brady said of his freshman. "That kid's been playing baseball since he was in diapers. Nothing really gets to him."
Gettysburg now has Dallastown again, a team Gettysburg beat 6-4 at the beginning of the season. And while the Wildcats have won 13 straight games down the stretch, Gettysburg is excited for the rematch.
"We know we can beat them," Geesaman said. "We play a solid game, give it our best shot, that's all we can ask."