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 Cedar Crest baseball, Palmyra baseball 040BY JEFF FALK

PALMYRA – Has the Cedar Crest baseball team turned it around? Are the Falcons back to playing ‘Falcon Baseball? Hold on for a second, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.

But if yesterday’s performance is any indication, Crest is pointed in the right direction.

On a cold Saturday afternoon at Palmyra High School, the Falcons took another step in their rebuilding process by dismissing a good Palmyra club 13-2, in a non-league contest shortened to five innings by the ten-run rule. Although it played sound, fundamental baseball throughout, the game was close, before Cedar Crest exploded for nine runs in the top of the fifth inning.

The result came less than 24 hours after the Falcons had dropped a 9-3 decision to Hempfield, but it pushed their overall mark to 3-1. Cedar Crest, which has gone a combined 13-29 over the last two seasons, is attempting to emerge from the shadows of the least successful period in program history.

Cedar Crest baseball, Palmyra baseball 051Conversely, the setback was the Cougars’ first of the spring and left them 4-1 on the year.

“Last season was a building season,” said Cedar Crest head coach Josh Brown. “It taught the kids not to get down on themselves. We battled. But that was last year. This is this year. We’re turning it around. But on the same token, it’s baseball.

“I feel like we’re where we should be, but we have a lot to work on,” continued Brown. “We’re not where we want to be. Today was a really good sign. We stayed positive and consistent. It’s early in the season, but we’re squaring the ball up.”

“I don’t think we threw the ball very well,” said Palmyra head coach Neil Weber. “Three games in-a-row caught up with us a little bit. We got behind early and couldn’t catch up.

“For us, every game is important,” added Weber. “Because of the weather, we’ve been waiting quite a while to play. I tip my hat to Cedar Crest. They played well, and I don’t think we played well.”

Cedar Crest baseball, Palmyra baseball 034The outcome was very much in doubt when the Falcons came to bat in the top of the fifth inning. Cedar Crest sent 14 hungry hitters to the dish and plated nine runs on four hits, five walks and a Cougar error.

At one point in the rally, nine straight Cedar Crest batters reached base. Nate Cavic and Logn Horn each stroked two-run safeties during the frame, while Kyle Poorman, Nate Trovinger, Joseph Carpenter, Jonathan LaBarbera and Luke Hains all contributed RBIs to the Falcon cause.

“Today went outstanding,” said Brown. “I told the guys to forget about yesterday and move on. ‘Let’s stick to our consistency, like how it’s been.’

“We came back in the fifth, when the situational hitting was available and we opened it up,” Brown continued. “We took advantage of it and we made good hard contact.”

“We were in it,” said Weber. “But that real big inning put a damper on our energy. The damage was done, and we ran out of outs.

“Crest is solid,” Weber added. “Two through five or six (in the batting order) are as good as any team in the area. They have some college-bound kids who are big and strong. And they were mentally in the game.”

Already up two runs, Cedar Crest pushed its advantage to 4-1 in the top of the fourth. Trovinger walked and advanced on a wild pitch, before Carpenter followed with an RBI-single.

But Palmyra pulled to within 4-2 of the lead in the home half of the fourth, when it touched Falcon starter Braiden Hitchings for a one-out run. Back-to-back doubles from Jacob Roe and Jake Wagner turned the trick for Palmyra.

Hitchings got the pitching victory by finishing what he started, on 79 total pitches. He scattered four hits, struck out one and walked two.

“He’s a sophomore and he did a fantastic job on the mound,” said Brown of Hitchings. “It was his first varsity appearance ever. But he stayed focused and threw strikes. He didn’t get too nervous. He did a great job.

Cedar Crest baseball, Palmyra baseball 015“The key for him is locating his fastball and getting ahead in the count,” added Brown. “And then being able to locate his curveball and change-up.”

“He did a good job,” said Weber of Hitchings. “He got some runs early and he used them to his advantage. He got ahead in the count, and their defense played well behind him.

“I thought we had some decent at-bats,” continued Weber. “We came into this game with some wins under our belt. But we weren’t in an aggressive mode. We were in a damage-control mode. He threw well and they kept us off the bases. I didn’t think it was our day.”

Hains’ two-out single in the top of the third inning made it 3-0 Cedar Crest. Hains’ hit scored LaBarbera, who had doubled.

The Cougars got that run back in the bottom of the third, thanks to Brian Coburn’s run-producing grounder.

“That was one of the most important things about today, coming back to the way we played,” said Brown. “We had a lot of good, positive things happen today.

Cedar Crest baseball, Palmyra baseball 070“One of the things we talked about was that we booted the ball around yesterday,” added Brown. “But we had to focus on today. We had to stay positive. Ninety-five percent of baseball is mental and the other five percent is physical. That’s one of the things we’re trying to emphasize. We’re getting there.”

“I told the boys, ‘Let’s talk this week up pretty good,’” said Weber. “We left it 4-1 and we played some pretty good teams. We came in with a lot of momentum.

“We’ve been pitching really, really well,” Weber added. “This was the first time we were behind.”

Cedar Crest baseball, Palmyra baseball 010Cedar Crest jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Poorman stroked a one-out single, Trovinger was hit by a pitch and Carpenter singled, before Cavic and Hains came through with RBIs.

“They’ve been playing some good baseball lately,” said Brown of the Cougars. “They beat some good teams. There’s a possibility that we didn’t see some of their best pitchers. They’re a good ball club. They’ve got some good hitters.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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 Cedar Crest Baseball Schedule

Date Teams Score
3/27
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Cedar Crest
2
16
4/05
4:15 pm
Warwick
at Cedar Crest
3
4
4/06
4:15 pm
Hempfield
at Cedar Crest
9
3
4/07
3:00 pm
Cedar Crest
at Palmyra
4/09
4:15 pm
Penn Manor
at Cedar Crest
4/10
4:15 pm
Cedar Crest
at McCaskey
4/11
4:15 pm
Cedar Crest
at Manheim Township
4/13
4:15 pm
Cedar Crest
at Conestoga Valley
4/16
4:15 pm
Donegal
at Cedar Crest
4/18
7:00 pm
Cedar Crest
at Lampeter-Strasburg
4/20
4:15 pm
Solanco
at Cedar Crest
4/23
7:00 pm
Cedar Crest
at Ephrata
4/25
4:15 pm
Elizabethtown
at Cedar Crest
4/27
4:15 pm
Cedar Crest
at Warwick
4/30
4:15 pm
McCaskey
at Cedar Crest
5/02
4:15 pm
Cedar Crest
at Hempfield
5/03
4:15 pm
Cedar Crest
at Penn Manor
5/07
4:15 pm
Manheim Township
at Cedar Crest
5/08
4:00 pm
Cedar Crest
at Fleetwood
5/09
4:15 pm
Lebanon
at Cedar Crest
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 2018 Palmyra Baseball Schedule
DATE OPPONENT TIME OUTCOMES
03/23
Big Spring
4:15 PM
03/24
@Northern Lebanon
12:00 PM
03/27 *
@Hershey
4:15 PM W 11-0
03/28 *
@Bishop McDevitt
4:15 PM W 7-2
04/03 *
Susquehanna Twp.
4:15 PM
04/05 *
Lower Dauphin
4:15 PM  W 3-1
DATE OPPONENT TIME LOCATION
04/07
Cedar Crest
3 PM Palmyra High School
04/10 *
@Mechanicsburg
4:15 PM Mechanicsburg High School
04/12 *
@CD East
4:15 PM CD East High School
04/17 *
Harrisburg
4:15 PM Palmyra High School
04/19 *
Hershey
4:15 PM Palmyra High School
04/21
Muhlenberg
12:00 PM Palmyra High School
04/24 *
Bishop McDevitt
4:15 PM Palmyra High School
04/26 *
@Susquehanna Twp.
4:15 PM Susquehanna Twp. High School
05/01 *
Lower Dauphin
4:00 PM Palmyra High School
05/03 *
Mechanicsburg
4:15 PM Palmyra High School
05/07
@Middletown
4:15 PM Middletown High School
05/08 *
CD East
4:15 PM Palmyra High School
05/09
@Northern Lebanon
4:15 PM Northern Lebanon High School
05/10 *
@Harrisburg
4:15 PM Harrisburg High School
05/12
Shippensburg
12:00 PM Palmyra High School
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