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Annville-Cleona baseball 053BY JEFF FALK

ANNVILLE – Everybody loves pleasant surprises.

But here’s the thing with them – you really want to make the most of them, because you know they’re not going to last forever.

On a warm Friday evening at Annville-Cleona High School, the Little Dutchmen baseball team’s hot start to a cold spring came to a screeching halt, in the form of a 5-3 Lancaster-Lebanon Section Three-Four crossover setback to Garden Spot. After spotting ‘The Spot’ an early four-run advantage, Annville-Cleona battled back, but couldn’t make up the difference.

Annville-Cleona baseball 052It was the Little Dutchmen’s first loss of the season under Mike Miller, a veteran A-C coach who’s in his first year at the helm of the baseball program. Annville-Cleona now sports an overall mark of 5-1 and an L-L Section Four record of 4-1.

With the victory, Garden Spot improved to 3-5 on the spring and 2-3 in Section Three of the L-L.

“We didn’t give up, which is the trademark of this team,” said Miller. “We made it a close one. Each game we’re at is the most important game of the year. We don’t look ahead, and we don’t look back.

“I don’t think the kids give up,” continued Miller. “We don’t have one superstar. But we don’t give in. We’re gritty. Quitting isn’t in their nature. They want to win.”

Annville-Cleona baseball 020Trailing 5-1, the Little Dutchmen mounted a one-out rally in the bottom of the sixth.

It was touched off by a walk to Trevon Elliott and a single by Connor Willams, and fueled by Cameron Zirpola’s two-run single that made it 5-3. But ultimately it was extenguished by Spartan reliever Ben Spencer, via two ground-outs.

“I thought we played well,” said Miller. “He (Garden Spot starter Aiden Bracken) pitched well. He pitched a good game. We were hitting the ball, but right at people. They (the Spartans) made the plays.

“We’ve got to play better first-inning baseball,” Miller continued. “When you fall behind, it changes things. We can’t play the small ball we’re used to playing.”

Facing a 4-0 hole, Annville-Cleona got on the board in the bottom of the fourth. Three-hole hitter Adam Long opened the frame with a triple, and an out later was plated by Ben Miller’s safety.

“Actually, I thought we did alright with our approach at the plate,” said Miller. “At the beginning, we were a little nervous. We were swinging at pitches early in the count. We have a lot of kids who don’t have a lot of varsity experience. Even some of the seniors, it’s new to them. We lost a ton of starters.

“He (Bracken) is gritty,” added Miller. “He pitched a hundred pitches on Monday, and he pitched a hundred pitches on Friday. He located the ball very well.”

Garden Spot set the tone for the entire contest by scoring three times in the top of the first inning. The Spartans reached Annville-Cleona starter Andrew Long for three hits in the frame, including Spencer’s two-run double and Justin Petersheim’s run-scoring single.

Before giving way to Tyler Long in the top of the seventh, Andrew Long struck out six and walked one. He retired Garden Spot in order in the second, fourth and sixth innings.

Annville-Cleona baseball 016“I thought he pitched well,” said Miller of his starter. “He’s another tenth-grader. He’s still learning. But he pitched well enough to win.

“He throws hard,” Miller added. “He’s going to get stronger. I thought he did a nice job.”

The Spartans padded their cushion to 4-0, on Spencer’s third RBI of the contest, in the top of the third inning.

Garden Spot made it 5-1 in the fifth, thanks to a Justin Petersheim sacrifice fly.

“They’ve seen a lot of me,” said Miller of his past experiences with his current players. “With our expectations, we didn’t try to put numbers on anything. We’re going to come out and play as hard as we can, then made adjustments and see what happens. Good things happen when you play as hard as you can.

“It’s just one game at a time,” concluded Miller. “We can’t look ahead. Our focus now is on Northern Lebanon. We’re going to throw strikes. We’re going to play the best defense we can. If you do the little things, the wins and losses will take care of themselves.”

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To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com, or to view more go to https://lebanonsportsbuzz.com/photo-gallery/.





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2018 Annville-Cleona Baseball Schedule

Date Opponents Results
4:15 pm
Lancaster Catholic
at Annville-Cleona
7:00 pm
at Lancaster Mennonite
4:15 pm
at Columbia
4:15 pm
Pequea Valley
at Annville-Cleona
4:15 pm
Lancaster County Christian
at Annville-Cleona
4:15 pm
Garden Spot
at Annville-Cleona
4:15 pm
at Northern Lebanon
4:15 pm
at Annville-Cleona
4:15 pm
at Elco
12:00 pm
at Annville-Cleona
4:15 pm
Manheim Central
at Annville-Cleona
4:15 pm
at Cocalico
4:15 pm
at Pequea Valley
4:15 pm
at Lancaster Catholic
4:15 pm
Lancaster Mennonite
at Annville-Cleona
4:15 pm
at Annville-Cleona
3:00 pm
Pine Grove
at Annville-Cleona
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  Annville-Cleona baseball 068Lancaster-Lebanon League

 Section Four Standings

League Overall
Annville-Cleona 4 0 100.00 5 0 100.00 37 13
Lancaster Catholic 4 1 80.00 4 1 80.00 37 1
Lancaster Mennonite 2 2 50.00 3 2 60.00 30 12
Pequea Valley 1 3 25.00 1 5 16.67 16 26
Columbia 0 4 0.00 0 5 0.00 5 58


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