By KYLE MORGAN
The Elizabethtown Advocate
The Elizabethtown Area High School baseball team had to wait a few days before officially starting the 2019 season, as its scheduled game at Cedar Cliff on Friday, March 22, was postponed to Tuesday, May 7, due to poor field conditions caused by inclement weather. Once the Bears actually got on the diamond, they made it count.
The first game of the year came at Reading on Tuesday, March 26. Elizabethtown had lost to the Red Knights 5-2 last season, with all of the opposition’s runs coming in the final two innings. The Bears made sure not to let them back into it this time around, coming out of the gates hot and doing enough down the stretch to win 9-3.
Elizabethtown began by loading the bases on a walk from senior Hunter Murry, a bunt from senior Cole Livingston and a base hit from senior Nick Kreider. With one out, senior Kyle Welch nailed an RBI single to plate Livingston and sophomore courtesy-runner Westin Kolaric. Sophomore Jake Black hit a sacrifice fly to bring in Kreider, while Welch scored on a subsequent fielding error to give the Bears a 4-0 after the top of the first.
To its credit, Reading responded quickly by plating junior Nomar Torres off a sacrifice fly from fellow junior Likeiry Taveras. But the Red Knights weren’t able to do much damage after that, thanks to some great pitching from Kreider, who struck out the last batter in the first and got three more Ks in the second inning as well.
The Bears pulled off some trickery in the top of the third to get another run. After a Kreider walk and a single from senior Cole Patrick, sophomore courtesy-runner Jace Bock stole third, then was able to score on a double steal combination with Patrick. Torres got his second run of the day in the bottom of the inning after advancing to third on a couple of fielding errors, later coming home on a sacrifice grounder from Taveras.
With two outs in the bottom of the fifth, Elizabethtown loaded the bases again thanks to a Welch walk, a Black infield single and senior Michael Baker getting hit by a pitch. Junior Matthew Ramsey came up big by beating out a throw to first on a grounder to score Welch. Senior Luke Adams followed that up with an RBI single of his own to bring in Black and put the Bears up 7-2.
Elizabethtown added to its lead in the top of the sixth with two more runs. Livingston singled and Kreider got on with a fielding error. Black then doubled to the left field fence to bring home Livingston and Bock.
Meanwhile, Kreider continued to stay electric on the mound, allowing no hits in the fourth and fifth. However, he did startthe bottom of the sixth by walking two Reading batters; he exited after striking out the next Red Knight, finishing with 9 strikeouts, 4 walks and just 3 hits allowed in 5? innings of work. Baker came on in relief, and while he did allow Tavares to score off an RBI single from senior Joelvis Pena, he did strike out 3 of the 7 batters he faced the rest of the way.
Black led the way with 3 RBIs for Elizabethtown, with Welch getting 2 and Ramsey and Adams getting one each. Bock scored a game-high 3 runs as a courtesy-runner for Kreider, who shared the lead in hits (2) with Black, Adams and Livingston. Welch and Livingston both scored two times. Bock and Kolaric each finished with 3 steals.
Senior Dominic Yeager pitched the first four innings for Reading, allowing 5 hits, 4 walks and 5 runs. Senior Emmanuel Uribe allowed 4 runs in the fifth and sixth, along with 6 hits and 2 walks. Junior Brandon Boutte closed out the seventh for the Red Knights, only giving up one hit.
The Bears were scheduled for their first home game of the year against Solanco on Wednesday, March 27. They’ll then stay at home on Friday, March 29, vs. Warwick and Monday, April 1, against Lampeter-Strasburg.