Mountville Angels head coach Tyler Bair has a name for his winning formula.
“Smash and dash.”
His Angels executed it to perfection Thursday night at Kunkle Field, stealing six bases and slugging two homers in an 8-3 win over Lititz VFW.
The win sends the Angels to Monday’s Junior-Midget final, while Lititz must battle Manheim VFW in an elimination game Friday.
“We’ve been blessed with a great group,” Bair said. “We play small ball when we need to, and then we bring the sicks when we need to as well.”
The speed came first for Mountville, which swiped three bags in the bottom of the first inning to jump out to a quick 2-0 lead. Logan Harelson drove in Pete Fiore with a single and later scored on a balk.
The running game disrupted the rhythm of Lititz starter Josh Zimmerman and the rest of VFW’s defensive unit, and Mountville cashed in with power in the next frame.
With runners on first and second, Fiore clubbed a long, three-run home run to left field that gave Mountville all the space it needed.
Despite coming into the game with just three innings under his belt all year due to injury, Noah Costa did the rest.
Costa didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning, surrendering only four singles in total on his way to a complete game. He allowed two earned runs while striking out three, and dealing with a messy night from his defense, which committed four errors.
Mountville again played longball to extend its lead in the fourth inning, when No. 9 hitter Caden Woods slugged a two-run bomb.
After the Angels went up 8-0 in the bottom of the fifth on a fielder’s choice, Lititz finally got on the board to spoil Costa’s bid for a shutout.
Chase Martin drove in a run with a single and Cody Lutz scored on a fielder’s choice to bring the deficit to 8-2. Ryan Kurtz scored on an error in the seventh, but Mountville slammed the door shut before the Angels felt any pressure.
Thanks, of course, to the cushion built by the Angels’ “smash and dash” mantra.
“Smart baserunning when we need it,” Bair said. “Aggressive baserunning when we need it. And the sticks as well, you can’t overlook that.”