SWS vs Bears Blue-LNP Midget

SWS Pioneers' Dereck Eckman (11) is tagged out at home by Bears Blue catcher Hunter Murry (5) during fourth inning action of an LNP Tournament Midget first round game at the Clipper Magazine Stadium in Lancaster Tuesday July 31, 2018.

If at first you don’t succeed...

One inning after rolling snake eyes in a bases-loaded, no-out situation, the SWS Pioneers cashed a bases-loaded, one-out shot — barely — on Connor Blantz’s game winning sacrifice fly.

Taso Kovak crossed home plate just before cutoff man Michael Baker’s throw to third beat Aaron Snyder and SWS advanced to the semifinals of the 73rd LNP Midget Tournament with a 4-3, walkoff victory.

Hempfield Black defeated Solanco Grey, 6-4, in the nightcap to complete the field for the semifinals at Clipper Magazine Stadium

With the score tied at 3-3 in the first game, Hunter Cunningham’s sixth-inning double chased Bears starter Nick Kreider.

Baker came on in relief and SWS loaded the bases on Derek Eckman’s bunt single and Braedon Karpathios’ infield hit.

Baker got Nevin Book on strikes, then dashed off the mound to catch Joseph Meck’s popup bunt, doubling Cunningham off third.

“Sometimes the ball goes your way,” SWS coach Scott Eckman mused, “sometimes it doesn’t.”

One inning later, the sacks were juiced once more as Blantz stepped to the plate.

“I told Connor, ‘Just hit the ball hard somewhere.’” Eckman said. “It wasn't real hard, but it got the job done.”

For the first four innings Nick Kreider was getting the job done for the Bears, scattering two hits while protecting a 1-0 lead.

Hunter Murry doubled home Cole Livingston — the first of two doubles for Murry, who was a perfect 4-for-4 — for the Bears run.

SWS touched Kreider for a three-spot in the fifth on RBI doubles from Meck and starting pitcher Dylan Byler and Snyder’s single.

Byler was shaken up on his hit and was replaced by Karpathios in the top of the sixth.

The Bears greeted him with Jake Black’s pinch-hit RBI double and Aidan Masters’ RBI hit, but left two on and stranded Murry at second in the seventh.

“We had great at-bats against some really good pitching,” coach Bill Templin said. “They made one more play than we did.”

Hempfield Black 6,  Solanco Grey 4

In the second game of a quarterfinal doubleheader, Cole Houser doubled in two runs, Justin Lichtenwalner knocked in two with a double and a triple and Hempfield advanced to the LNP Midget semifinals, Tuesday at Clipper Magazine Stadium.

Lichtenwalner pitched the first five innings, allowing four runs — three earned — on five hits and Ty Vaughn tied down the victory with a two-inning, one-hit save.

Black put a crooked number on the board in the first inning as Houser doubled home Nick Fiore and Lichtenwalner doubled home Houser. Alec Santiago added a sacrifice fly, scoring courtesy runner Jayden Ruby.

They continued their assault on Solanco starter Hayden Fox in the second as Lichtenwalner’s triple scored Nick Fiore, who reached on an error.

Solanco broke into the scoring column in the third as Dawson Kreider (3-for-4), singled in Grady Unger.

Vaughn walked leading off the home third, scoring on a two-out error, and Hempfield led 4-1.

Taking advantage of Lichtenwalner’s temporary loss of the strikezone — he would walk two and hit a batter in the inning — Solanco tightened things with a two-run fourth.

Unger singled in a run and Joel McGuire plated the second tally with a sacrifice fly.

But centerfielder Seth Constein saved Lichtenwalner, throwing out courtesy runner Luke Brown at home for a double play, Brown trying to score on Sam Buckwalter’s fly to center.

Defense carried Hempfield all night. In the fifth Luke Fiore chased down John Murray’s RBI double in the rightfield corner, throwing a seed to home.

Houser’s throw back to Vaughn at third caught Murray in no man’s land between the bags and shortstop Christian LaBarbera put the tag on him.

In the top of the seventh, Brandon Husted made a fantastic, lay out, diving  catch of Kreider’s fly to the left field alley for the second out and Santaigo tracked down Murray’s foul out to first for the final out.

Hempfield got an insurance run in the sixth as Houser ripped a clutch, two-out double to the rightfield corner, scoring Husted.