Site updated 05/19/15 09:07 AM Upper Dauphin Sentinel ©2006
Despite the feeling after the loss, Keim said the Indians remain focused. They talked about what lies ahead for the team as it is the top seed in the District 3-A playoffs which started May 18.
“Still keep our eyes on the prize. We still have places to go,” he said of the team’s postseason goals. “We’ll just stay the course. We are playing good baseball. We played a good game today. We are right where we want to be this time of year.”
Sophomore lefty Christian Wingard took the mound for the Indians and pitched well enough to win the game. He pitched the full seven innings, allowed just three hits, struck out nine batters and walked three. He even picked three runners off in the game, two off first and one off second base.
The Indian defense even helped his cause playing a solid game, with the exception of one error in the first inning that aided in the only run of the game.
Dane Barrick, Susquenita’s leadoff hitter, started the game with a solid single to center field. Barrick and Wingard then got into a cat-and-mouse game at first with Barrick slowly inching away from the bag, trying to gain as much of a lead as he could. Wingard kept a close eye on him. Barrick left for second a little early and Wingard appeared to have him picked off but the ball was dropped, and Barrick successfully made it to second. Two wild pitches later and Barrick scored for what would be the only run of the game.
“Mistakes happen. They’re part of the game,” Keim said. “We hadn’t been shut out all year and with our offense I figured it was just a matter of time for us to get some runs. We had our chances and were knocking on the door a couple times. We just didn’t get that one big hit when we needed it. I really wasn’t worried about that one run … well, not until the last out of the seventh inning.”
After that run, Wingard was in control of his game. He erased a runner in the first with a pickoff. After a leadoff hit by Adam Schrope in the second inning, Wingard retired 10 straight batters. The batter that broke that streak, Josh White had a single with one out in the fifth, was subsequently picked off first base.
In the top of the seventh, Schrope again reached base with a walk with one out. Pinch runner Hunter Reed stole second base. The Indians then pulled off a play that would be deserving of an academy award nomination. Wingard turned and made a motion as if he was attempting to throw to second base. Shortstop Austin Lehman, second baseman Robbie Burger and centerfielder Connor Keim all perfectly played their part as if the throw had gone into center field with other Indian players yelling “ball, ball.” Reed got up and broke for third only to have Wingard, who still had the ball, run over and tag him out.
“Bird (Wingard) was on top of his game. Today he worked ahead of the hitters. That was a solid performance to hold a team like (Susquenita) to one run,” Coach Keim said.
Millersburg, though, could not get a run across against Smith, the Black Hawks’ ace lefty. The Indians collected six hits, but Smith did not issue a walk, and he struck out three batters, including the final two outs of the game on called third strikes.
The Indians best chance to score came in the bottom of the first inning. Lehman (two hits) singled to lead off the game and was moved to second with a sacrifice bunt by Burger. Keim (two hits) reached on an infield single, beating out his bouncer to shortstop, and Lehman made it to third. Keim then stole second, but Smith retired the next two batter on a pop out to first and a strikeout.
Millersburg again put the leadoff batter on in the second inning, Ty Coleman single, and the fourth inning, Ethan Troutman single, but couldn't get a run across.
Smith even took his turn at catching a runner leaning too far off first when he picked off a would-be base stealer in the fifth inning. After that pick off, he retired the final seven batters of the game to shut the door on Millersburg’s chances for its first overall league crown since 1964.
The Indians were to open District 3-A play May 18 with a home game against the Christian School of York. If the Indians won that game, they would play the winner of the Newport (fourth seed) and Mount Calvary Christian game. Halifax (the third seed) was to host Steel-High. Winner of that game would play the winner of Lancaster County Christian (second seed) and West Shore Christian Academy game. All games were completed after this week’s press deadline.
Semifinals are scheduled for Thursday, May 21 with the District 3-A championship Thursday, May 28. The top two teams from District 3-A qualify for the PIAA Class A playoffs.
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