CAMP HILL – The Warrior Run Major Division All-Star Team has been in this situation before.
East Pennsboro, with a little help from Mother Nature, took a 3-1 victory over Warrior Run in a weather-shortened four-inning game Sunday at Edward R. Norford Memorial Stadium on the opening day of the Little League Baseball Major Division PA State Tournament.
The game was called with East Pennsboro up to bat and leading 5-1 in the fifth, but the game was halted due to lightning and the score reverted back to the fourth inning.
Now Warrior Run will have to come through the elimination bracket once again in order to keep its season alive.
Next up for the Section 3 champs is a game against Harborcreek at 1 p.m. today, weather permitting as more storms are forecasted.
Warrior Run lost early in the District 13 Tournament and came back through the elimination bracket to win, and manager Derrick Zechman hopes his team can do so again.
“We knew we were going to have our hands full. East Pennsboro is a quality team – they’ve been to three state tournaments in the last three years,” said Zechman. “We were prepared, but it’s like we never do anything easy. It seems like we play our best when our backs are against the wall, and sometimes like in districts it was in the loser’s bracket.
“We got to have a short-term memory. We play today and I know they are calling for some more bad weather, but we’ll be ready to go,” added Zechman.
Warrior Run held its own against East Pennsboro through the first three innings, but the Section 4 champs took advantage of some shaky defense to put three runs on the board in the fourth.
East Pennsboro scored an unearned run with help from a couple of errors before RBI singles by Mason Smith and Brody Rafferty resulted in a 3-0 lead off Warrior Run starter Griffin Harrington.
Warrior Run answered in the bottom of the fourth on a fielder’s choice RBI from Brayden Gower to close the deficit to 2, but that would be it.
“We were scrapping with them and we were toe-to-toe with them until the fourth, and we started the inning off with an error, but you can’t give a team four outs because they are going to make you pay,” said Zechman. “Griff gave us a solid effort and he kept them off-balance, but we had too many errors tonight and that’s what ended up being the difference.
“But credit to East Pennsboro - they hit the ball and had some key hits (in the fourth) – but I was proud of our kids,” added Zechman.
Regardless, Warrior Run has at least one more game to play, and it comes against Section 1 champ Harborcreek, which fell to West Point, 9-5.
The scores of the earlier games were Newtown 8, Exeter 7; and Greater Pittston 5, Council Rock Holland 4.
“It’s a must-win game or the season is over. We don’t want the season to end yet, but we got to get the bats going. East Pennsboro’s pitcher (Chase Deibler) was good. He threw hard, he popped the ball and he was the best pitcher we faced all season,” said Zechman.
“We battled there (in the fourth). We answered and put one run up and it was against (Deibler), so we need to be ready to go (today). We got a tough team in Harborcreek and it’s not going to be easy, but none of the games at this level are cupcakes.”
Little League Baseball Major
Division PA State Tournament
At Edward R. Norford Memorial Stadium, Camp Hill
East Pennsboro 3
Warrior Run 1 (4 innings)
E. Pennsboro 000 3 – 3-4-0
Warrior Run 000 1 – 1-3-3
Chase Deibler, Mason Smith (4) and Lucas Martz. Griffin Harrington Gabe Engel.
WP: DeiblerLP: Harrington
East Pennsboro hitters: Brody Rafferty, single, RBI; Logan Collette, double; Deibler, walk; Martz, walk, run scored; Smith, 2-for-2, RBI, run; Ryan Seibert, walk, run.
Warrior Run hitters: Chase Knarr, double, run; Harrington, 2-for-2; Brayden Gower, FC, RBI.