Ephrata won its opening game in the American Legion Region 4 baseball tournament on Friday night, defeating New Oxford 11-2 at War Memorial Field.
In Saturday’s second round, Ephrata will play league rival Campbelltown in a winners bracket semifinal at 7 p.m. Campbelltown defeated Ephrata in the Lebanon-Lancaster League championship game on Monday.
After a tough first inning, Post 429 starter Hunter Johns settled in to get the win. He pitched 4 1/3 innings with six strikeouts and two walks. He allowed the first three New Oxford batters to reach in the first, but then Johns retired the next nine batters he faced.
Meanwhile, the Ephrata hitters gave Johns a lead to work with. Colby Martin was 3 for 5 with a double, triple, two runs scored and two RBIs. Ricky Bromirski went 3 for 3 with a double, two runs scored and an RBI, while Josh Farina drove in three runs.
Martin’s triple scored Spencer in the top of the second to put Ephrata up for good, 2-1.
Post 429 broke the game open with five runs in the top of the fourth.
Spencer scored on a throwing error to start the scoring. Martin singled to right field to plate Aiden Bracken and Dagen Young. Martin scored on Zac McGillan’s sacrifice fly, and Brendan Martin rounded out the rally with a single that scored Justin Byler.
That 7-1 lead was extended to 9-1 in the top of the sixth. A bases-loaded single by Farina scored both Bromirski and McGillan.
Farina added to Ephrata’s lead again in the seventh with a bases-loaded walk, pushing in Bromirski. Brendan Martin scored Post 429’s last run on a wild pitch.
In the first, Colby Martin led off the game with a double, and scored the game’s first run on Bromirski’s double.
Owen Gockley came in to pitch for Johns with one out in the fifth. Johns had thrown 80 pitches, and one more pitch would have rendered him unable to pitch for the rest of the tournament. Now he will be able to return if Ephrata makes it to Tuesday’s championship round.
Gockley was dominant in his relief appearance, striking out seven in 2 2/3 innings with 33 pitches.
Mason Weaver started for New Oxford, which will play Mechanicsburg in an elimination bracket game at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. Weaver pitched four innings with two strikeouts and two walks. Matt Rineman tossed one inning with one walk. A.J. Baadte finished the game for New Oxford with four walks in two innings.