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Elco baseball, Lebanon baseball 052BY JEFF FALK

LEBANON – Some of it is what was left behind. Some of it is what has always been in place. And some of it is what has yet to come.

But it sure has been a smooth transition for the Elco baseball program.

On a seasonable Wednesday evening at Coleman Memorial Park, the Raiders continued their inspired play under new head coach Roger Hehnley, with a 4-0 whitewashing of Lebanon High. In addition to some timely hitting, Elco got a complete-game, two-hit effort out of freshman righthander Dakota Smith.

Elco, which is competing for the first time in more than 45 springs without the legendary Lyle Krall as part of its coaching staff, improved to 4-2 under Hehnley, 3-1 in Section Three of the Lancaster-Lebanon League. Lebanon, which was coming off its initial win of the campaign a night earlier, slipped to 1-5 overall and 1-3 in the circuit.

The game was completed in a tidy hour and 30 minutes.

Elco baseball, Lebanon baseball 027“It’s exciting. It’s baseball,” said Hehnley. “I’m happy with not losing any more, but that’s up to the team. Our coaches work really hard to do what we have to. Most of them (his players) I know. That makes it easier on the transition phase. I feel comfortable kicking them in the butt one minute or hugging them the next. But the seniors are leading the freshmen.

“The goal’s the section title,” continued Hehnley. “That was instilled when I took over. We’re on the path for it. We’ve got to keep our composure and keep going forward. If they (his players) stay focused, we’re going to be a contender for something.”

Elco baseball, Lebanon baseball 004“We had a lot of momentum coming in,” said Lebanon’s Freddy Gonzalez, himself a rookie head coach. “But our defense let us down. It was a different team from last night.

“We need to come together,” Gonzalez continued. “We’ve got to be hungrier. For whatever reason, it didn’t show up tonight. I want them (his players) to be consistent. I’m expecting more and more out of them. But we’re a work in progress.”

The Raiders got out well, staking Smith to a 1-0 lead in the top of the opening inning.

Jude Anthony scored the run for Elco, on a two-out, infield single by Joey Ginder. At second base via a single and a wild pitch, Anthony rounded third and just kept running, on the ball Ginder hit to deep shortstop.

That would prove to be all that Smith needed. He counted 81 pitches, struck out five, walked two and at one point retired an amazing 20 Cedars in-a-row.

Smith surrendered a first-inning single to Cedar Nathnaiel Portes and a seventh-inning safety to teammate Ziaire Leger – and not much in between.

“From a freshman, you can’t ask any more,” said Hehnley of Smith. “We’ve got a really good pitching staff, and he threw a great game. He’s got to manage his off-speed. He’s got to keep the ball down. He’s well composed for a freshman on the mound.

Elco baseball, Lebanon baseball 050“I’m proud of him,” added Hehnley. “He’s a coachable kid and he’s humble. That’s (81) a great number for seven innings. He’s an advanced freshman. He’s going to be something special. That’s the name of the game, to spot it. And we have great defense on the field.”

“He couldn’t get his change-up over,” said Gonzalez of Smith. “But he got his curveball over when he needed to. He’s definitely going to be a stud, and he had great mound presence. He’s definitely comfortable out there.

“I thought we were out in front of him by just a hair,” Gonzalez added. “We weren’t squaring it up. We were chomping at the bit. We hit some balls hard and they were right at them. But we were under balls. Maybe that was a credit to Dakota.”

The Raiders padded their lead in the top of the third, after Bryce Coletti led off with a single and moved to second on a throwing error.  Anthony was hit by a pitch ahead of Travis Weaver’s RBI-single, then Anthony came around to score on another Lebanon throwing error, to make it 3-0.

Lebanon starter Dawson Blouch also went seven strong innings. He yielded eight hits, struck out five and didn’t issue a free pass.

Elco baseball, Lebanon baseball 043“He threw decent,” said Hehnley of Blouch. “But I knew we’d get to him at some point. The approach we take is pretty good. We’ve just got to stay with it.

“It’s (the approach at the plate) been up and down,” added Hehnley. “The weather is not cooperating. You can’t judge too much. I think our team is going to break out when the weather gets warmer.”

“Dawson did everything he had to to get outs,” said Gonzalez. “He’s a ground ball pitcher. He kept the ball down. His cutter has gotten so much better and he throws a lot of change-ups.

“Both pitchers pitched well enough to win,” Gonzalez added. “But their (the Raiders’) balls dropped.”

Elco provided Smith with even more breathing room in the top of the seventh.

Elco baseball, Lebanon baseball 031With one out, senior Clay Hain singled and reached second on an error. Weaver scored Hain with a two-out, RBI-single.

“It’s a section game,” said Hehnley. “The weather has sort of skunked us. But these kids have put in a lot of hard work.

“We’re extremely young,” Hehnley continued. “We start three freshmen and two sophomores. That’s a great mix. We have the best coaching staff around and we have good kids.”

“We got another complete game out of our starter,” said Gonzalez. “He’s (Blouch) been pitching well. As a sophomore, he’s getting better. I’ve got some young guys in the field, but we can’t give up those unearned runs.”

 

 

 

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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 Elco Baseball Schedule

Date Opponents Results
3/28
4:15 pm
Wyomissing
at Elco
0
3
4/05
4:15 pm
Cocalico
at Elco
3
4
4/06
4:15 pm
Elco
at Garden Spot
6
0
4/07
12:00 pm
Elco
at Hamburg
3
5
4/09
4:15 pm
Elco
at Manheim Central
1
8
4/11
4:15 pm
Elco
at Lebanon
4/12
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Elco
4/13
4:15 pm
Elco
at Columbia
4/16
4:15 pm
Lancaster Catholic
at Elco
4/20
4:15 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Elco
4/23
4:15 pm
Elco
at Lancaster Mennonite
4/25
4:15 pm
Pequea Valley
at Elco
4/26
4:15 pm
Conrad Weiser
at Elco
4/27
4:15 pm
Elco
at Cocalico
4/30
7:00 pm
Elco
at Northern Lebanon
5/02
4:15 pm
Garden Spot
at Elco
5/04
4:15 pm
Manheim Central
at Elco
5/05
7:00 pm
Tulpehocken
Elco
at Earl Wenger Field
5/07
4:15 pm
Lebanon
at Elco
Elco baseball, Lebanon baseball 040
Elco baseball, Lebanon baseball 059
 2018 Lebanon Baseball Schedule
Date Opponents Results
3/27
4:15 pm
Elizabethtown
at Lebanon
12
0
3/29
4:15 pm
Lebanon
Penn Manor
at Millersville University
5
11
4/06
4:15 pm
Manheim Central
at Lebanon
9
1
4/09
4:15 pm
Lebanon
at Northern Lebanon
4
15
4/10
4:15 pm
Lebanon
at Cocalico
8
3
4/11
4:15 pm
Elco
at Lebanon
4/13
4:15 pm
Lebanon
at Lancaster Catholic
4/17
4:15 pm
Lebanon
at Garden Spot
4/18
4:15 pm
Lebanon
at Annville-Cleona
4/20
4:15 pm
Lancaster Mennonite
at Lebanon
4/23
4:15 pm
Lebanon
at Pequea Valley
4/25
4:15 pm
Columbia
at Lebanon
4/27
4:15 pm
Garden Spot
at Lebanon
4/30
4:15 pm
Cocalico
at Lebanon
5/04
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lebanon
5/07
4:15 pm
Lebanon
at Elco
5/09
4:15 pm
Lebanon
at Cedar Crest
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Elco baseball, Lebanon baseball 015Lancaster-Lebanon League

 Section Three Standings

League Overall
  W L PCT W L PCT RS RA
Manheim Central 2 0 100.00 4 0 100.00 27 7
Elco 3 1 66.67 4 2 66.70 21 16
Northern Lebanon 2 1 66.67 2 4 33.33 39 38
Garden Spot 1 2 33.33 2 4 33.33 15 44
Lebanon 1 3 33.33 1 5 20.00 18 54
Cocalico 1 3 25.00 3 3 50.00 39 17

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