Halifax is 1 step closer
to TVL baseball title
By Mike Hutchins, Contributing Writer
ELIZABETHVILLE - Halifax Area had a simple plan coming into the final
week of the Tri-Valley League season: Win the rest of its games and earn
its first-ever TVL baseball championship.
back-to-back games with Upper Dauphin Area and East Juniata -- the two
other squads who entered the week with two losses -- having a plan was
one thing, executing it would be another.
Wildcats took Step One to making the plan come to fruition May 13 when
they rallied from a 5-1 deficit to defeat the Trojans 8-6.
matter what the score, we (the coaches) never give up on these kids and
they never give up on us,” Head Coach Rick Ansel said. “You just never
know what will happen.”
Kaleb Reitz gave Halifax a workman’s effort on the mound, tossing a
complete game to earn the victory. Pitch count was not available, but
his arm was still attached to his body after the team celebrated its
huge win that set up a showdown with East Juniata at home Tuesday, May
14 at 4:30 p.m.
feel so blessed that God gave me the talent to be able to pitch and even
more blessed to have coaches and teammates who believe enough in me to
give me the chance in a game like this,” Reitz said
Trojans got to Reitz early, taking a 5-1 lead after two innings, but had
a hard time mustering any offense after that.
don’t know what it is,’’ UDA Head Coach Ryan Lentz said. ‘‘I know when I
played we were never happy with a lead. We seem to get ahead and we get
satisfied. We just didn’t play seven innings.
all the credit to Coach Ansel and his crew because even when we were up
5-3, we looked like the team that was behind,” he added.
plated two runs in the first. Tanner Miller singled and later scored on
a throwing error. Payton Kennerly doubled with two outs and then scored
on another Halifax error. The Trojans added three more in the second on
a two-out two run single by Ian Buffington and an RBI double by Kennerly.
that, Reitz settled down and got locked into a groove, allowing just one
hit the rest of the game.
always seem to get off to a slow start, so that’s not new,” Reitz said.
“I’ve learned that with this team behind me that I need to throw strikes
and they will come back. I usually get tired and have to come out (late
in the game), but I hadn’t pitched much lately and my arm felt strong …
plus the adrenalin was pumping.’’
Halifax finally got to Trojan starter Buffington in the fourth inning
thanks to lots of production from the bottom half of the order produced.
Cook (three runs scored), who was batting sixth; and Nate Houtz (three
hits, two RBI), batting seventh, each singled. Dewey Sheaffer (two
hits, two RBI), batting eighth, doubled home a run. Number-nine hitter
Travis Miller singled home another run to make it 5-3.
continued to hold the Trojan bats in check. In the bottom of the fifth,
UDA put a runner at third with one out but could not add to its lead.
Halifax offense pushed the ‘Cats into the lead, 6-5, with a three run
sixth. All three runs were unearned. Sheaffer had an RBI single and Trey
Pritchard had the big blow when he drove in both the tying and go-ahead
run with a two out single.
Trojans minimized the damage with a heads-up play by Buffington and
catcher Dylan Lesher. The ‘Cats tried to score three runs on Pritchard’s
hit. Buffington had come in to back up home plate, and when the relay
from the outfield skipped in toward home, Lesher raced out to pick it up
and Buffington moved in to cover the plate. Lesher turned and flipped to
Buffington, who made the tag for the final out.
bottom of the sixth, the Trojans again put a runner on third with one
out and did not score.
’Cats added two runs in the top of the seventh. Hunter Hilinski had an
RBI single and Cook drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to make it 8-5.
tried to rally in its final at bat, trying to take advantage of Reitz
who appeared to be tiring, sometimes shaking his throwing arm between
pitches. Two walks and a single by Casey Wise loaded the bases with two
outs and Lesher took one for the team and knocked in a run when he was
hit by a pitch. Reitz summoned enough energy and forced a ground out to
end the game, with UDA leading the bases loaded for the second time in
was the story of this one: too many men left on base (10) and too many
errors (four),” Lentz said. “I though Ian pitched a good game and he
certainly deserved better.”
said he was concerned coming into the game because his squad seems to
not bring its best when it plays on Mondays.
year long on Mondays we just don’t seem to play our best. We talked
about it coming into today that we needed to be ready to play ...,”
Lentz said. “We played our worst game on the biggest day of the