NEW CUMBERLAND — Mechanicsburg won the West Shore Twilight League championship for the first time in three years on Tuesday. The Cardinals beat New Cumberland 3-1 at Memorial Park to win the championship by a 4-1 score in the best of seven series.
Mechanicsburg dethroned two-time champion New Cumberland after rallying to defeat Hagerstown 3-2 after dropping the first two games.
“This team has been a team all season — we talked a bit when we were down 0-2 and just talked about needing to play our game and do what we are capable of doing and let the chips fall,” captain Teed Wertz said. “We also had “Pops” [manager Bill Rickenbach who wasn’t available due to medical reasons] and we wanted to give him a chance to get back out here.”
Mechanicsburg, which received some gutsy pitching form their young staff in the series, scored twice in the opening inning to support Luke Wagner, ace of the state champion Red Land Patriots. He shut down New Cumberland twice with two runners in scoring position. He completed 5.2 innings, walking five and allowing one run. Hayden Fry of Cumberland Valley came in to close out the win, also shutting down New Cumberland with two runners in scoring position in the seventh.
“It was a tough one tonight, they are a good team and you have to make good pitches,” Wagner said. “When we fell behind 0-2, we knew we just needed to come out and play. We played good defense and got key hits. Blasick and Mayer just came up with huge hits, but we did that throughout both series’.”
Josh Herring singled to left and Nathen Blasick roped a long triple to the right field fence. Jon Mayer singled to left to plate Blasick.
Mechanicsburg extended their lead in the third as Blasick walked against Tiger starter Steven McKee. Mayer ripped a ball to the fence in left field, some 450 feet from home, for a triple and a run batted in.
“I had talked about playing in Mechanicsburg if Dillsburg ever folded and the opportunity came up this year,” Mayer said. “This is just a championship team and everybody did their job. When you go down the line up, Herring set the table, Hannon came up with hits, Ryan Wentzel was such a great positive influence as a catcher, Charlie White had a big hit on Saturday and our pitchers Hayden Fry, Luke, Charlie and Zane Grimes on Monday night. Just a solid team performance.”
Wagner pitched himself into trouble in the third as he walked Tyler Orris. Brayden Lackey singled to left and Miles Campbell was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Will Enrico drove in a run with a fly ball and Jordan Lawson walked to load the bases again. Kyle Otstot ripped a ball back through the middle that Wagner fielded, threw home and catcher Ryan Wentzel threw to first for the double play.
Mechanicsburg wasted a chance with two runners on with one out. A ground ball was thrown home to cut down a runner and a grounder to short ended the inning.
“It was one of those things in baseball. We didn’t come up with that key hit when we needed it,” New Cumberland manager Ryan Stephenson said. “We will be back next year.”