Monday’s opening game of the LNP Tournament’s Junior-Midget bracket was a well-played, tightly contested affair between the Mountville Angels and the Manheim Township Streaks.
The Angels grabbed the lead just once in the contest — and it was when it mattered the most.
Rallying in the bottom of the sixth inning, Mountville went on to beat the Streaks 4-3 at Mount Joy’s Kunkle Field.
Manheim Township got on the board in the top of the first inning, jumping out to a 3-0 edge thanks to a two-out, bases-clearing error by the Angels.
The Angels picked up a run of their own in the home half of the first, but the offense went silent until the bottom of the fourth inning, when Brody Gebhard made it aboard and scored on a Cam Hulock hit.
Meanhwile, Mountville’s pitching did its part to hold the Streaks’ offense in check after the first inning, yielding just two hits in the first six innings. Liam Ahern started the game and went 3 2/3 innings, recording one strikeout and not allowing any walks. He was tagged for three unearned runs.
Gebhard came on relief of Ahern and threw 2 1/3 innings, walking only one and striking out three.
Still trailing 3-2, Jeremiah Curtiss jump-started the bottom of the sixth inning for the Angels with a single into the left-field corner. Township was unable to field it cleanly and Curtiss advanced to second.
Ahern moved the runner to third with a sacrifice bunt. Hulock lined out sharply to short, bringing Mountville’s leadoff hitter, Drew Walker, to the plate.
Walker was drilled by a pitch, and took first base, then stole second, putting the winning run in scoring position with two outs.
Ty George, the Angels short-stop, then connected for a single to drive in Curtiss and Walker.
But the Streaks refused to go out quietly. Their leadoff man, center fielder Owen Smith, singled before eventually working his way to third on a dropped third strike.
That brought Township’s Zach Landis to the plate, and he crushed a fly ball to right field.
Curtiss made the catch, but Smith broke for home. Curtiss fired a dart home to catcher Josh Toole, however, and he was able to make the tag for a successful double play to secure the win for Mountville.
The loss sent Manheim Township into the elimination bracket. The Streaks will play Hempfield in Tuesday night’s 5:30 opening game back at Kunkle.
Playing with their backs against the wall is something that they have become accustomed to.
“We’ve been in this spot all season,” Streaks coach John Sofillas said. “We were down 1-0 to get here and won both elimination games to get here. We are capable of turning it around.”
Mountville will play Manheim VFW in Tuesday night's second game, slated to begin 20 minutes after the conclusion of the opener.
“I’m hoping we see some more offense over the next few nights,” Angels coach Chris Ahern said.