BASEBALL: Penn Manor defeats Manheim Township, 8-0 - LancasterOnline: Sports

BASEBALL: Penn Manor defeats Manheim Township, 8-0

Weidman surrenders just four hits

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Posted: Wednesday, April 4, 2012 10:34 pm | Updated: 11:35 am, Mon Jan 20, 2014.

It had been just five days since he had thrown 110 pitches.

A career-high 110 pitches.

And by his own admission, that high pitch count in a loss to Dallastown was on Penn Manor right-hander Darren Weidman's mind Wednesday afternoon as he prepared to face L-L Section One rival Manheim Township.

"I thought about it until I got on the field," he said. "Then I was able to focus and put it out of my mind."

Focusing instead on a Blue Streaks squad he battled last spring as a sophomore, Weidman fired a four-hitter and roped two doubles to pace the Comets' 8-0 win in Neffsville.

"To get high school hitters out, you have to locate the fastball and get the breaking ball over," Blue Streaks boss Bill Sassaman said. "(Weidman) is the kind of guy you can probably catch without a catcher's mitt. He doesn't throw hard but he has great location."

And he's helped put the Comets in a great locale as well - tied for first atop the section. After losing its first three games, Penn Manor (2-0 L-L, 2-3 overall) has won two straight.

Comets coach Jim Zander said Weidman's preseason struggle to locate his breaking ball coincided with the entire team's struggle to execute.

"We're not asking kids to make great plays," Zander said. "Just make plays."

The Comets made plenty of plays Wednesday. Penn Manor produced 12 hits and plated at least one run in every inning but the fifth.

Showing balance up and down its lineup, the Comets got two hits apiece from Weidman and Joe Witmer, who bat seventh and sixth, respectively, and the same from table-setters Brandon Stone and Austin Richwine, and from cleanup hitter Brandon Bowers.

Penn Manor's run production was aided by Township's defense, which committed three errors and failed to reach several drives that appeared catchable.

"Defensively, we've been horrendous," Sassaman said. "Both of our pitchers (starter Chris Martin and reliever Brian Summersgill) deserved this game to be 3-0."

After opening with back-to-back wins, last year's Class AAAA state semifinalists have dropped four straight.

"I've been doing this for a long time and there aren't many seasons I don't have the answers," said Sassaman, the dean of Section One coaches with 20 springs as head man under his belt.

"This year, I don't have the answers."

Certainly, Township (0-2, 2-4) had no answers for Weidman. Facing just 25 batters, four over the minimum, he threw first-pitch strikes 16 times. Of his 73 pitches, 51 found the strike zone.

He owned a one-hitter through four innings. By that time, Weidman was working with a comfortable cushion, Penn Manor having pushed across five runs courtesy of RBIs from Cody Simet, Will Welsh, Witmer and Weidman.

"We're more focused," Weidman said of an offense that has scored a combined 15 runs in its last two outings.

Weidman made his good fortune on the field stand up, due in part to his recent practice of visualization off the field.

"When he was struggling with his breaking ball," Zander said, "we talked about visualization, visualizing the ball going over the plate."

"I've been able to clear my mind," Weidman said. "Not let the surroundings affect the way I pitch."

While Weidman and the Comets seemed to have ironed out the rifts in their team fabric - a good test comes this afternoon when they host co-leader Hempfield - Township is in search of wins and solutions.

A strange situation for a coach and a program that has enjoyed 15 straight winning seasons.

"I don't have the answers," Sassaman repeated.

But the veteran skipper knows one thing.

"This game," he said, "can humble you."

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