Blue Devils rally for 8-5 win in baseball quarterfinal

GREENCASTLE — It did not look good for Greencastle-Antrim early.

The Blue Devils trailed Lampeter-Strasburg 4-0 after three innings of their District 3 Class 5A baseball quarterfinal at home Monday afternoon and they had managed only one hit off Pioneer starter Peyton Harsh.

Austin Wyand

But Greencastle got the offense going in the fourth inning and put up five runs, and went on to top the Pioneers 8-5.

G-A (16-4), winners of 11 straight, will play a semifinal game Thursday vs. No. 1 seed Lower Dauphin (18-4), at Nye Elementary School in Hummelstown at 4:30 p.m. The Falcons crushed Muhlenberg 10-0 on Monday. All four semifinalists have already qualified for the PIAA Tournament.

“It took us a couple of times through the lineup to get a handle on that kid (Harsh),” Blue Devil centerfielder Austin Wyand said. “But I think it was just a matter of time until our bats came around. I’m so proud of this team.”

Harsh, a left-hander, was in full control through three innings, throwing 29 strikes among his 43 pitches. But Greencastle caught on to him in the fourth, starting with Aidan Grudzinski singling through the shortstop hole and Darren Kline hitting a booming double to center to bring him in.

After Carter McCauley had a fielder’s choice to move Kline up, Ryan Farrow brought him home with a base hit. An error put Jarek Szaflarski on base, then Wyand ripped a double to left-center, bringing in both runners to tie the game.

Wyand stole third base, then strolled home on a single by Briggs Remenick.

“Their pitcher was good,” G-A coach Eric Shaner said. “He threw strikes and his ball was moving. But the guys made some adjustments and got it going.”

Adam Horst

The other side of the winning equation was relief pitcher Adam Horst. Starter Landon Huth did not have his control and walked six of the 12 batters he faced. Horst relieved with two outs in the second and gave up a two-run single to Anthony Turek for a 4-0 L-S lead. But he got the final out of that inning and then finished the game.

Horst (5-1) gave up six hits and one run and struck out two. But most importantly, he did not walk a batter. In fact, of his 69 pitches, 48 were strikes.

“It was fun; I wasn’t even nervous until the last inning,” Horst said. “I knew I had to attack — I had to throw strikes. I had to hold them because I knew we’d get some runs.”

Shaner said, “Landon has done so well for us, but he just didn’t have it. That happens; it just wasn’t his day. But that’s an example of how it takes a whole team to get it done. Adam came in and he was exceptional. He did a great job.”

Lampeter-Strasburg (17-8) scored only once against Horst, getting a single from Logan Leaman, a sacrifice from Cayden See, a double by Justin White (Leaman had to hold to see if a catch was made) and a sacrifice fly by Harsh.

That run tied the game 5-5 in the top of the sixth.

But the Blue Devils took the lead back in a long bottom of the sixth. Wyand got it started with a bouncing hit over the shortstop, which brought in Turek as a reliever. Wyand stole second and Briggs Remenick bunted him to third.

Carter Reid rapped a single to center for the go-ahead run, then was picked off first base for the second out. But Ethan Ford got the offense going again with a lined double to right. Turek walked Grudzinski intentionally, but then lost his control.

Two wild pitches scored courtesy runner Lance Overcash, and another wild pitch enabled Grudzinski to reach home for an 8-5 lead.

L-S put a runner on in the seventh with one out, but Horst got two straight fly balls to end the game.

NOTES: Warwick will play at Mechanicsburg in the other semifinal … The Wildcats beat Shippensburg 10-0 in the quarterfinals … The Blue Devils had 11 hits and 8 of the 9 in the batting order had at least one hit … Kline, Farrow and Wyand each had 2 hits.