LEWISBURG — Wednesday’s contest between Lewisburg and Selinsgrove was pretty indicative of a matchup featuring the same two teams that appeared in last year’s District 4 Class 4A championship game.
The Green Dragons may have come away with the title a year ago, but this time around the rematch belonged to the Seals.
Selinsgrove took a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning, and it was just enough as the Seals held off Lewisburg for a 3-1 victory in the Heartland Athletic Conference crossover game played at Donald H. Eichhorn Middle School.
The loss drops the defending district champs to 1-4 on the season. It is a position similar to the one Lewisburg was in last year when the Green Dragons started the year 1-3, and then 2-4, before reeling off five wins in their final six games to reach the postseason.
However, it was still another close loss for Lewisburg this season. All four of the Green Dragons’ losses have been by two runs or fewer.
“That’s baseball. (During the postgame talk) I told the guys I’m proud of them. We worked out of jams and (pitcher) Nick Shedleski worked very hard,” said Lewisburg coach Brian Zysset, whose team beat Selinsgrove 5-0 to take the district title a year ago.
“There were some situations where if we could’ve gotten another hit or another run (it would’ve been different). Our defense did its job, so I’m proud of them,” added Zysset. “It was definitely a playoff environment. Selinsgrove came ready to play, but we have to fix the little things. It’s not so much about the matchups and the hitters, it’s about the little things that we need to clean up and we know we need to do it.”
Lewisburg was stymied from the get-go by Selinsgrove and its starting pitcher Logan Hile.
In the first inning Andrew Ramirez hit a leadoff single and proceeded to steal second, but the speedy center fielder was later thrown out at third following a strikeout by Shedleski.
And in the third Ramirez reached base with a two-out single, but Hile got Josh Heath to ground out to first to end the inning.
In between, Selinsgrove (4-0) took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third on a single by Blaise Zeiders as well as an error that occurred on the play that allowed Josh Nylund to score all the way from first base.
The Seals’ lead grew to 3-0 an inning later when Nylund hit a two-run double to plate both Ryan Aument and Ben Heim after the two reached base on a single and a walk, respectively.
The Green Dragons had a perfect opportunity to really cut into the Seals’ lead in the fourth, but the hosts only came away with one run.
With one out, Peter Marrara singled and Jacob Brooks drew a walk before Aaron Strosser stroked an RBI single to right. But that was it after Hile struck out Brett Herman and got Colt Kline to pop up to short.
“Hitting-wise, we didn’t get what we wanted (in the game). We wanted more baserunners and put more pressure on (Hile),” said Zysset. “Hat’s off to (Hile) — he’s a true competitor. He works hard and he’s a tough guy to beat.”
Hile limited Lewisburg to only one more hit the rest of the way in 6 1/3 innings of work before Zeiders came in to shut the door on the Green Dragons. Hile finished with eight strikeouts and only two walks.
Shedleski struck out seven to lead Lewisburg before he was relieved by Kline with one out in the seventh.
“We have (Hile’s) number, and we’re going to see them again sometime. I have a feeling we will,” said Zysset, whose team next travels to play Shikellamy at 4:30 p.m. Friday. “We’re going to come out and practice hard (today) and worry about Friday. We have great kids, they work hard and we’re going to continue to get our work in (today).
“Our spirits are fine, and we don’t have to worry about motivating them. They are going to be hungry to get the next win, and games like these really test your spirit — they try to break you. It’s adversity,” added Zysset. “Are you going to crack or are you going to persist and keep doing the right things that we’ve been doing. We’re going to see if that pays dividends later, not so much now, but we’re going to keep working hard.”
Selinsgrove 3, Lewisburg 1
Selinsgrove 001 200 0 — 3-6-1
Lewisburg 000 100 0 — 1-5-2
Logan Hile, Blaise Zeiders (7) and Wyatt Metzger. Nick Shedleski, Colt Kline (7) and Peter Marrara.
WP: Hile. LP: Shedleski. S: Zeiders.
Selinsgrove hitters: Josh Nylund, 2-for-4, double, 2 RBI, run scored; Zeiders, single, walk; Nate Schon, 2-for-4; Christian Kantz, walk, HBP; Ryan Aument, single, run; Ben Heim, walk, run.
Lewisburg hitters: Andrew Ramirez, 2-for-3; Marrara, single, run scored; Aaron Strosser, 2-for-2, walk, RBI.