Ephrata advanced into the Region 4 Legion baseball winners’ bracket finals with a 16-3 win over Campbelltown on Saturday night at War Memorial Field. The contest was called after five innings due to the 10-run mercy rule.
Next up for Post 429 is Paxton, a 4-2 winner over Dillsburg, at 7 p.m. Sunday. Ephrata won the Region 4 title last year and is looking for its third regional crown of the decade.
An eight-run first inning took the drama out of Saturday’s contest. The offensive explosion was mostly station- to- station baseball.
Colby Martin singled to open the frame and was safe at second on Justin Byler’s grounder. Ricky Bromirski’s infield single loaded the bases. The next four batters drove runs in to open the scoring: Zac McGillan hit another infield single, Brendan Martin singled to left field, Ben Spencer hit a sacrifice fly and Josh Farina singled to center.
With a 4-0 lead, Ephrata was only half done with its rally. Dagen Young’s ground out scored Brendan Martin, then Farina and Aiden Bracken scored when Colby Martin’s grounder was misplayed. Byler wrapped up the inning with an RBI triple to score Colby Martin.
Ephrata head coach Derek Sipe said that Colby Martin’s speed in getting to second base on the second play of the inning was what opened the floodgates.
“I think the second batter of the game, when their first baseman made a poor decision (was the key),” Sipe said. “Both our teams have good lineups. You give them a free out something big can happen.”
Meanwhile, Byler would go on to hit three consecutive RBI triples. He finished 4 for 4 with three runs scored and five RBIs.
Bracken added a two-run single in the second.
Overall, Ephrata had 11 hits and drew six walks from Campbelltown pitchers.
All of this made life easy for Ephrata’s two pitchers, Dagen Young and Brendan Martin.
Young started, going 3 2/3 innings with one walk and no strikeouts. Though effective with a big lead, Young was removed mid-batter in order to keep him eligible to pitch in Tuesday’s final day of the tournament.
“That’s what you hope for,” Sipe said. “To have those pitchcount decisions because you have a big lead. … Obviously, a 10-run game saves you two innings of pitching.”
Brendan Martin pitched the last 1 1/3 innings. He walked five, including three in a row in the fourth inning. But a ground out kept Campbelltown off the board at that time.
Campbelltown did get on the board with three runs in the top of the fifth, but a runner was thrown out at home to end the game.
Sipe said that McGillian will pitch Sunday against Paxton.
Campbelltown will face Waynesboro at 4 p.m. in an elimination game. Also in the losers’ bracket will be a contest between Mechanicsburg and Dillsburg at 1:30 p.m.