BASEBALL: Knights, Mules battle into the night - LancasterOnline: Sports

BASEBALL: Knights, Mules battle into the night

Deadlocked at 7-7, crossover game suspended until next week

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Posted: Thursday, April 26, 2012 11:52 pm | Updated: 11:35 am, Mon Jan 20, 2014.

The only power outage at Hempfield Thursday night came courtesy of Mother Nature.

In a matchup of two of the L-L League's best offenses, the Black Knights and Solanco slugged their way to a marathon, 7-7 tie in a Sections One-Two crossover that was suspended by the umpires upon completion of the 10th inning due to darkness.

"The A.D.'s (athletic directors) will get together and we'll finish it," Hempfield coach Jack Merrifield said.

Since Hempfield and Solanco have league games scheduled for Monday, Wednesday and Friday of next week, the game will likely be resumed at Hempfield next Tuesday or Thursday.

The Section One-leading Knights (9-1 L-L, 12-1 overall) entered the slugfest boasting a .338 team batting average. The Golden Mules (7-3, 11-3), a Section Two contender, listed five starters with batting averages ranging from .667 to .364.

Their three-hour showdown produced the expected fireworks.

Combined, Solanco and Hempfield hammered 27 hits, two home runs, one triple and five doubles.

"We have guys who hit the ball," said Solanco skipper Tom Fish. "That's what we do: We hit.

"And (Hempfield's) lineup has no soft spots. Their No. 8 hitter (Colton King) put the ball over the fence."

King, who tripled in the second, started the scoring in the fourth when he followed a Derek Totaro single by pulling starter Mark Kreider's first pitch to him over the right-field wall.

Dylan Manning then singled, stole second and took third on an error. He eventually scored on John Wilt's single.

"When you score, you have to hold them down the next inning," Merrifield said. "We didn't."

Indeed. The Mules exploded for five runs in the top of the fifth.

Luke Emling, hitting .667 entering this week, ignited the comeback with an RBI double off starter Cory Gantz. Cole Martin roped a game-tying, two-run single and Hans Herr made it 5-3 with a two-run double.

"Both teams," Merrifield said, "really hit."

And then some. The Knights, ranked No.1 in the District Three Class AAAA Power Rankings, answered in the fifth with Nate Booth's RBI double.

Solanco scored single runs in the sixth and seventh on RBI singles from Kyle Eby and Gabriel Skolnick off reliever Camden Hess. The latter hit plated Adam Planamento, who doubled off the wall in deep center to start the seventh.

Trailing 7-4 in the bottom of the seventh, the Knights responded. Gantz opened with a single and Shaun Corso drove an 0-1 offering from Kreider over the wall in left-center.

Booth's single scored Nick Yarnall with the tying run, and the Knights had an opportunity to win when they put runners on second and third with one out.

But reliever Harrison Ault, who according to Fish had pitched just three innings all season, retired King and Manning to end the threat.

Ault and Corso took it from there, working the eighth, ninth and 10th innings and facing only minimal threats. Solanco's Matt Murray, who went 4 for 6, doubled in the eighth, but Corso settled in and struck out the side.

Corso, who according to Hempfield's stats had worked just two-thirds of an inning this season prior to Thursday, struck out the side in the ninth as well.

Ault worked the final 3.2 innings, striking out two and not allowing a hit.

"He'd pitched three innings total this season and he shuts down probably the best lineup we've seen," Fish said, shaking his head.

"This," he added with a smile, "was a pretty remarkable game."

And it's not over yet.

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