Rain forced Lampeter-Strasburg and Lancaster Catholic to wait an additional two days for their quarterfinal meeting in the Lancaster-Lebanon League baseball playoffs. L-S pitcher Dylan Byler made Catholic wait even longer for its first hit Monday at War Memorial Field, taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning.
“It was in the back of my mind, but I wasn't really worried about it,” said Byler. “I was more worried about not giving up two runs, keeping the lead and getting us on to the next round.”
The righty did just that, pitching six no-hit innings, striking out seven and walking just two to lead Lampeter-Strasburg past defending champion Lancaster Catholic 2-0. With the win, L-S advances to Tuesday's semifinals against Cedar Crest – a 6-2 winner over Cocalico on Saturday.
The semifinals will be played as a double header back at War Memorial Field – weather permitting – with Warwick facing Ephrata at 4 p.m. followed by L-S vs. Cedar Crest at 7 p.m.
“Anytime you win a playoff game, especially with a good team like Catholic, you always have a good feeling,” said L-S coach Keith Martin. “You enjoy it for a little while, but when we get back home, we're going to turn our attention to Cedar Crest.”
L-S (15-5) got to Lancaster Catholic's Dillon Marsh early, putting a runner on in the first, but would plate both of its runs in the second. Hunter Cunningham's walk and Connor Blantz's single set the stage for Joe Meck, who cleared the bases with a two-out single into center.
Marsh would settle in on the mound from there, only allowing one more hit before Nick Breznak took over in the seventh, but Byler just kept rolling.
The junior retired 18 of the 21 batters he faced, including setting down 11 consecutive Crusaders before Catholic's Bryce Behmer broke up the no-hitter with a leadoff single into left field in the seventh.
Catholic (14-5) tried to turn the momentum into a rally, but L-S reliever Josh Howells got a line drive and a pair of grounders to seal the Pioneers' fifth straight win.