SHIPPENSBURG — When it is time for the West Shore Twilight playoffs, it is usually time for the Mechanicsburg pitching staff to set the tone. In Game 1 Tuesday night, Travis Miller threw a no-hitter, and on Wednesday night, Hunter Schryver allowed only three hits and one run in a 4-1 Mechanicsburg victory at Shippensburg Area Senior High School in the second game of the best-of-five series.
Mechanicsburg leads the series 2-0 and can clinch the series in Game 3 at Mechanicsburg tonight.
“We have only given up one run in two games and Hunter pitched a beauty tonight,” said Mechanicsburg manager Bill Rickenbach, who recently won his 2600th game in a long and distinguished career. “We had a couple of key hits and a nice defensive play to end the game but we had a couple of bone-headed plays.”
Nico DeLerme blooped a single behind third base and moved to second on a Matt Osenbach sacrifice bunt, third base on a wild pitch, and scored when Travis Miller grounded a single into the hole at shortstop.
Mechanicsburg added to its lead in the top of the third as Mike Palkovitz was hit by a pitch and scored when DeLerme ripped a double to the fence in right-center field.
Shippensburg halved the two-run lead in the bottom of the third as Zane Bard walked, moved to second on a ground ball by Marshall Witmer and third on a wild pitch. He trotted home as Shippensburg starter Andrew Burke ripped a single to left. After Burke’s single, Schryver retired the next ten batters before Todd Melisauskas ripped a double into the left-field corner. Kevin Scholly walked but Schryver got Kyle Helm to ground into a force play to end the inning.
In the fifth, Mechanicsburg doubled its run total. Brendan Lackey walked and Palkovitz got on base on an infield single. Jake Warner sacrificed both runners up a base and both scored as Sam Crater rolled a 3-0 fastball past first base and into right field.
“We have gotten two well-pitched games from Nick (Umberger) and Burke tonight but we have lost both games because we’ve only scored one run,” Scholly said. “We have to get our bats going. We had a couple of chances but couldn’t get that one hit. The first run started on a bloop single and scored on an infield hit. They got two more runs on a roller past first that looked foul to me. That is baseball. We can’t win if we don’t score runs.”
In the seventh, Shippensburg had two runners on base on a rare Mechanicsburg error and a walk. Bard lofted a fly ball to right that was caught by Miller. He fired a one-hop strike to Crater for the tag and double play on Chris Davis, attempting to move up on the fly ball out.
“Burke always pitches tough against us,” Rickenbach said. “Today we were able to drop a couple in and get a couple of runs. The lefty (Umberger) pitched a good game last night and we were fortunate to get that one run.”
“I felt that I had real good velocity but I struggled to get the ball down late in the game,” said Schryver, who is headed to Villanova University in a couple weeks. “This team plays good defense so you just need to throw to contact. I was able to keep them off balance with the knuckle-curve. It was really moving tonight so it was a good out pitch.”
The five-time defending league champions will try to close out the series today while Shippensburg will attempt to extend the series another day.