DENVER — Greencastle-Antrim grabbed a 6-0 lead with a huge top of the second inning, but the Blue Devils couldn’t generate any more offense and Cocalico took advantage.
The Eagles cut it to a 6-3 deficit, then scored six runs of their own in the fourth inning and took a 9-6 victory in a first-round game of the District 3 Class 5A baseball playoffs Monday afternoon.
G-A finished the season with a 13-8 record.
Ace pitcher Logan Layton started for Greencastle and looked strong — Blue Devil coach Eric Shaner said, “His stuff was electric early.”
But as the game wore on, a hole developed on the mound where Layton’s foot landed and it became an issue. After walking only 19 batters all year, Layton walked seven and hit two batters Monday in just three-plus innings.
Shaner said, “Logan was really good early when he could plant his foot. But as the game went on, a big hole formed, and his stride kept hitting that hole, and it threw him off mechanically.”
During the Eagles’ six-run fourth inning, Shaner said he noticed Layton’s knee buckle several times and once he lost his balance.
“It became a safety issue,” Shaner said. “And the umpires seemed to agree. But they (Cocalico) didn’t have any clay to fill in the hole with, just dust. And that wouldn’t have done anything. It didn’t affect Carter (Reid, who relieved Layton) or their pitchers, because they aren’t nearly as tall as Logan and their feet weren’t hitting that hole.”
Cocalico (14-3-1), the No. 3 seed, advances to play the winner of Lampeter-Strasburg vs. Spring Grove. The Eagles got one run back in the second inning and two more in the third before their big explosion in the fourth. Reid held them scoreless over the last two-plus innings.
The Blue Devils had their own big inning in the top of the second. Layton smoked a two-run triple, Aidan Grudzinski belted a run-scoring double, Brady Diller and Austin Wyand each singled in a run — Wyand with an infield hit — and Caiden Smith brought in a run with a sacrifice fly.
Shaner said, “Bottom line is they got down 6-0 and they didn’t quit, so give them credit. We had that one big inning, but in all the other innings we couldn’t get a runner to third base.”