The Bears Blue baseball team had a wildly different series of games over a span of six days. Elizabethtown was absolutely demolished in one game but recovered with a clutch victory and their second forfeit win of the summer to boost their record to 6-3.
Bears Blue went to Hempfield on Wednesday, June 13, for the second time this summer after previously defeating the Hempfield Knights on Thursday, May 31, this time taking on Hempfield Black. Things did not go their way this time, however, as the team was shut out 15-0 in a mercy-rule shortened fourinning game. Elizabethtown could get nothing going at the plate, and that’s no exaggeration. Hempfield pitcher Justin Lichtenwalner faced 12 Bears Blue batters and retired them all, earning a perfect game on the mound. He also had 4 strikeouts.
Hempfield was just as effective on offense. Bears Blue pitcher Tyler Souders had his first start of the summer and could only get an out before being replaced by Jake Black. Souders allowed 4 hits, 2 walks and 7 runs, 5 of them earned. Black allowed 3 more runs before finally escaping the inning. In all, Hempfield scored 10 runs in the first on 6 hits.
Black held the opposition in check during the second but faltered in the third. He let up 4 hits, 2 walks and 3 runs without an out, making way for replacement pitcher Zach Malone, who quickly got Bears Blue out of the inning save for an error-induced run. That put the score at 140. Malone got two outs to start the fourth but could not prevent Hempfield from scoring a final run to force the mercy rule.
Cole Houser was a monster for Hempfield, notching a game-high 4 hits, 4 RBIs and 4 runs. Nick Fiore scored 3 more runs for the team as well, while Lichtenwalner and Ty Vaughn both had 2 RBIs; the latter nailed a triple that scored Houser to end the game. All nine starters scored at least one run for Hempfield, while seven (Houser, Lichtenwalner, Vaughn, Nick Fiore, Luke Fiore, Christian Labarbera and Brandon Husted) had RBIs.
Bears Blue returned to Elizabethtown on Thursday, June 14, to host the Penn Manor Comets in an extremely competitive contest. Both teams were quiet on offense during the first two innings before an two-out single from Hunter Murry scored Westin Kolaric to give Bears Blue a 1-0 lead at the end of the third.
Pitcher Nick Kreider retired the first nine Penn Manor batters before finally allowing a hit to Josiah Snyder, who later come home on an RBI single from Brady Hinkle. The Comets loaded the bases shortly after with just one out, but Kreider forced a pop-up to second and struck out the final batter to escape with the game tied at 1-1 all. Kreider had 5 strikeouts and allowed just 3 hits before exiting in favor of Michael Baker at the start of the fifth.
With the score still even in the bottom of the sixth, Murry singled and was replaced by courtesy runner Malone. Kreider also singled, and both runners were able to reach second and third with just one out. Baker then launched a shot to centerfield for a sacrifice fly to plate Malone for a 2-1 lead, then shut down the Comets in the the seventh to give Bears Blue the win. He allowed just one hit in three innings on the mound.
Murry was perfect at the plate, getting 3 of Elizabethtown’s 5 hits. Hinkle was solid at pitcher for Penn Manor, going 5 2/3 innings and allowing 3 walks until being replaced by Jacob Hess for the final out of the sixth. The Comets had just 4 hits on the day.
The team was scheduled to go on the road to face Columbia on Monday, June 18. However, Columbia could not field a full team, so Bears Blue got their second forfeit win of the season. The previous Monday saw Pequea Valley give them a win under similar circumstances. Their schedule next has two home games (Manheim VFW on Wednesday, June 20; Outlaws of Lancaster Catholic on Monday, June 25) and an away matchup (Solanco Grey on Thursday, June 21).