BY JEFF FALK
SOUTH LEBANON – With the possible defense of its section championship behind it, the Cedar Crest baseball team has turned its attention to other goals. A shift of focus which begs the question: Does it need to qualify for the playoffs for its season to be a success?
The Falcons will always have their pride.
On a moderate Wednesday evening at Cedar Crest High School, the Falcons officially had their seasonal goals re-arranged for them, by a 6-2 loss to Hempfield. The Black Knights scored three times in their first at-bat and three times in their final at-bat, and in between the Falcons experienced difficulties stringing hits together.
The outcome officially ended Cedar Crest’s reign as Lancaster-Lebanon Section One champions and put a huge crimp in the Falcons’ hopes for a league playoff berth. But at 7-7 overall and 6-7 in the circuit, the Falcons are still very much alive for a District Three Class AAAAAA posteason spot.
Cedar Crest was situated eighth in the latest District Three power rankings, in a AAAAAA bracket which takes ten teams for its tournament.
The result moved front-running Hempfield to 13-2 on the spring and 11-1 in Section One. Back on March 27th in Landisville, the Black Knights had bested the Falcons by a 4-2 score.
“Last year we set the goal of winning the section championship,” said Cedar Crest head coach Josh Brown. “But it seemed once we did, everything fell apart. This team is actually more focused. I’d say we’re playing better baseball, overall. The trouble is Section One is really tough and we dug a hole for ourselves early in the year.
“In order for us to look at the season as a success, we should probably get to districts,” continued Brown. “But there’s other things about the season which have been a success. The trouble at the beginning of the year was errors, but we’ve cleaned that up. But I don’t know if it can be a success if we don’t make districts.”
The Black Knights got to Cedar Crest starter Lance Hains for a trio of runs in the top of the first inning. Nick Fiore and Christian Labarbera collected RBIs for the visitors, while Hempfield plated its middle run courtesy of a double steal.