West York beats Susquehannock, advances in D-3 tourney
Wildcats down Gettysburg to take home league title -- again. (Teddy Feinberg/GameTimePA.com)
The West York Bulldogs feel as if they're playing their best baseball of the year right now.
It showed during their 6-4 win over Susquehannock on Thursday, in a District 3 Class 4A quarterfinals contest played at Susquehannock High School.
Justin Wetzel started and threw into the fifth inning, Zach Gettys came on to close things out, and the Bulldogs got production from throughout their batting order. The result was a playoff victory over a fellow YAIAA program.
The Bulldogs now stand at 12-10 overall, yet narrowly missed out on a YAIAA Division II championship to Gettysburg. West York finished the regular season with a 10-4 league record.
The team then opened the District 3 tournament with a 5-0 win over ELCO, then topped YAIAA Division III winner Susquehannock on Friday.
Head coach Scott Erickson said five of the Bulldogs' six non-league games came against district-qualifying teams, and contributed to West York's slow start. But he also feels that the difficult schedule early is playing a role in his team's late-season success.
"Some games have been up, some games have been down. But we're playing our best baseball now," Erickson said. "We're peaking at the right time."
While Gettys, one of the YAIAA's true star players, has received much of the headlines throughout the year, the team put six runs on the board with some timely hitting.
Colton Kubicki had an RBI double in the contest — the base knock narrowly missed being a grand slam off the high wall in right field — and Zion Neuman had three steals, according to Erickson. The head coach added that Anthony Kahley and Robbie Bertucio each had RBIs of their own.
"We were struggling to score runs, kind of throughout the season," Erickson said. "First half of the season, we'd have three guys hitting well, then those guys would drop off. Then another three would start hitting well. Now we're finally starting to get some consistency throughout the order."
The team went with sophomore Justin Wetzel to start Friday's contest, and was cruising up 6-1 in the fifth inning. Susquehannock got back into things, however, cutting the deficit to 6-4 as West York turned to Gettys.
The competitive left-hander got out of the fifth, was supported with good defensive execution in the sixth, and struck out two in the seventh to preserve the win.
On one seventh-inning strikeout, Gettys nodded his head confidently after a called strike two on the corner, then gave a fiery fist pump when the batter was set down.
"Not to be cocky, but every time I step on the mound I tell myself I'm the best on the mound right now," Gettys said. "I'm going to strike this kid out right now. He's mine. I don't shy down from anybody."
For Susquehannock, Chase Summers got on base three times and Ben Trego had two RBI.
Up next for the No. 10-seeded Bulldogs is the winner between No. 3 Berks Catholic and No. 6 Kennard-Dale. Those two teams were scheduled to square off Friday at 4:30 p.m. at Berks Catholic High School.