Change is coming for the Elizabethtown Area High School baseball team. After a 10-10 season in which the Bears started 8-2 and finished 2-8 down the stretch, capped by falling out of district playoff contention in their last three games. With a total of eight seniors graduating, they’ll be faced with a roster consisting of seven players with varsity experience and the rest with none.
Luckily for the players moving up from junior varsity, they have the summer to get some reps and take some lumps in the Lancaster County Midget Baseball School League. Elizabethtown’s team, Bears Blue, opened their schedule at home on Wednesday, May 30, against the Lititz Oddfellows of Warwick, getting shut out 7-0.
Elizabethtown struggled at the plate, not getting a hit until a double from Josh Kreider in the fourth inning. Lititz pitcher Dagen Young was outstanding in his time on the mound, going 3 2/3 innings without allowing a hit before bowing out to Colin Brubaker. Young had 2 strikeouts and 3 walks.
Brubaker let up the only two hits from Bears Blue in his time on the mound, consisting of Blake’s double and a single from Cole Livingston, though he also had 2 strikeouts. Evan Rohrbach pitched the final inning, getting a strikeout and walking two batters with no hits.
Larry Locker started on the mound for Bears Blue and had an uneven performance. He allowed three runs in the top of the first, two coming home on an RBI double from Colby Martin, who then scored off a single from Young. Rohrbach came in on an error in the second, followed by a sacrifice fly from Josh Farina that plated Jeffrey Kline.
Locker tightened up afterward, shutting the Oddfellows out in the third, fourth and sixth innings. Brubaker brought home two runs in the fifth on a double, however. Locker finished with 4 strikeouts, allowing 2 walks, 9 hits and 6 runs. Jake Black came in at the start of the seventh, forcing three straight outs.
Martin led the way on offense for Lititz, sharing the lead in RBIs with Brubaker and also scoring 2 runs. He and Rohrbach had a gamehigh 2 hits. Six different players scored runs for the Oddfellows.
Bears Blue went on the road Thursday, May 31, to take onthe Hempfield Knights, coming away with a 6-1 victory in six innings. The final score was unofficially 8-1, but the game was stopped before the bottom of the seventh due to rain.
Elizabethtown struck early, with Zach Malone scoring on a wild pitch and Nick Kreider coming home on an RBI single from Kyle Welch. Despite a few scoring opportunities, the team didn’t find the plate until the fifth when Nick Kreider nailed an RBI single to bring home Anthony Russo.
Things opened up in the sixth for Bears Blue. Welch scampered in on a throwing error, Jace Bock brought home Tyler Souders on a fielder’s choice and Malone got hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to bring in Justin Black. Another fielding error allowed Nick Kreider and Michael Baker to score in the seventh, though those runs ended up not counting due to the weather.
Welch and Nick Kreider led the way for Bears Blue on offense; they both had 3 hits and an RBI. The latter also had 2 runs counting the one in the final inning. Malone and Bock had RBIs as well.
Baker threw a complete game on the mound, allowing 6 hits and striking out 4 batters. The lone run came on an RBI single from Tanner Pobursky, who had 3 hits. Wyatt Hershey scored on the play. He took over at pitcher in the sixth from Andrew Blough, who allowed 7 hits and 4 runs in the first five innings.
Another road game came on Monday, June 4, at Conestoga Valley, who triumphed over Bears Blue 9-4 in six innings. The final inning wasn’t played due to darkness, even though there was a “sun delay” (the position of the sun reduced visibility for the second base umpire) at the start of the sixth.
Conestoga Valley put the pressure on early. To lead off the game, Nolan Rishell singled, stole second, got to third on a fielder’s choice and finally came in on an RBI single from DJ Giles. The Buckskins added another run in the second on a throwing error. Two more runs in the third came from errors as well, with an additional RBI from Jarett Immler on a sacrifice bunt.
Bears Blue finally scored in the fifth, with Nick Kreider singling home Livingston. Conestoga Valley responded with three more runs, first on an RBI single from Eddie Hernandez and then on a 2 RBI double from Ethan Weaver. Elizabethtown did add three runs in the sixth on RBIs from Jake Black, Josh Kreider and Bock, but another error gave the Buckskins an extra run for the final score.
Giles was the high man at the plate for Conestoga Valley, scoring twice in additional to 2 hits and an RBI. Rishell and Alex Umble had 2 runs as well. Weaver led all players with 2 RBIs. Keegan Martin was lights out on the mound, striking out 10 batters in 4 1/3 innings while allowing no runs and 4 hits. Umble pitched the rest of the game, yielding the four Bears Blue runs and getting 3 strikeouts.
Nick Kreider helped carry Elizabethtown’s offense, getting a game-high 3 hits along with an RBI. Jake Black was right behind him with 2 hits and an RBI of his own. Livingston drew 3 of Martin’s 5 walks. Malone got his first action on the mound; he allowed 4 hits and 2 earned runs in four innings. Souders and Baker split the last two frames; the former allowed 3 hits and 3 earned runs, while the latter let up just one hit.
With their record at 1-2 to begin the summer season, Bears Blue was scheduled to host Cocalico and Pequea Valley on Wednesday, June 6, and Monday, June 12, respectively. They also have an away game at Garden Spot on Thursday, June 7.