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IMG_3387BY JEFF FALK

MANHEIM – It is what it is.

The Raiders are who they are. The Elco baseball team is what its record says it is.

On a crisp Tuesday afternoon at Manheim Central Middle School, Elco scored a 4-1 victory over the hometown Barons that was both selfless and selfish. Not only did the outcome spoil Manheim Central’s bid for a section title, it also solidified the Raiders’ District Three standing and boosted their confidence for the upcoming postseason.

IMG_3392It was also one of the Raiders’ most complete triumphs, in a season that has turned out to be a pretty good one. Elco turned in some steady defense and came up with some timely hitting in support of junior righty Clay Hain, who is emerging as the Raiders’ go-to guy on the mound.

In addition, the win was the Raiders’ first this season over the two teams above them in the Lancaster-Lebanon Section Three standings – the Barons and Garden Spot. Elco, which had dropped a 9-5 decision to Manheim Central back on April 10 in Myerstown, moved to 14-5 on the year and 11-5 in Section Three.

With one regular, non-league game remaining. the Raiders are rated eighth in a District Three Class AAAA field that invites the top ten to its postseason.

The outcome also created a tie atop the Section Three standings between the Barons and Garden Spot and necessitated a playoff between those clubs for the circuit’s title.

IMG_3400“Considering we didn’t achieve one of our goals, which was getting to the league playoffs, this was a good win,” said Elco head coach Chris Weidner. “We watched them (the Barons) celebrate a section title (in a playoff win over the Raiders) last year, and I told them (his players) I didn’t want to see it again. I’m going to say it was a signature win. Up until today, we hadn’t beaten teams ahead of us in the standings. We beat a team that’s going to play for a section title.

“It proves the point I was making,” continued Weidner. “We’ve got to get into districts, and if we can, we’re going to be able to compete. Hopefully this solidified it. It definitely was motivating them (his players). That’s how it played out. That’s why I’m sticking to my statement that it was a signature win and a confidence-building win.”

IMG_3365“This proves we can beat the teams ahead of us,” said Elco catcher Hunter Witters. “It proves we can compete in districts. We’re trying to leave it (the previous 0-3 record against Garden Spot and Manheim Central) in the past. But we wanted to prove ourselves to them (the Barons).”

After Manheim Central had knotted the score at one a half-inning earlier, the Raiders got to work untying it in the top of the fourth.

It all began with a Baron error and a Cole Miller stolen base. Witters put Elco ahead for good with a sharp single that scored Miller.

In the top of the fifth, Elco made it 3-1, after Tyler Price led off with a single and was sacrificed to second by Dylan Martin. Then Hain came through with a two-out, run-scoring single.

“Who’s going to complain about 14 wins at this point of the season?,” said Weidner. “Would I like to be in the league playoffs? Absolutely. It’s been tough. Nothing’s been easy.

IMG_3422“It is a grind,” added Weidner. “It’s what we do. We had to do the little things and get bunts down and hit and run and pull out all the stops. We know we’re not usually an offensive juggernaut.”

“We played well, for the most part,” said Witters. “A couple games we struggled, but now we’re getting in the swing of things. We played a good ball game. That was definitely a team win.”

Hain surrendered Tyler Lutz’s RBI-single in the bottom of the third frame, but it was the only run he yielded. He gave up only one hit the rest of the way,  just four total and benefited from a key 4-6-3 double play turned behind him in the sixth.

Hain went the distance, struck out four and walked three. He now has five wins this spring, to go along with a minuscule ERA.

IMG_3361“He’s been incredibly consistent,” said Weidner of Hain. “Every time he goes out, he gives us a chance to win. He has really dialed up a lot of solid performances in-a-row. He’s had a couple of tough-luck losses, and had performances like today.”

“That was the best he pitched all year,” said Witter of his battery-mate. “His curve ball was on. His fastball hit spots. It was great. Coach (Mike) Simmons calls all the pitches. But if Clay shakes me off, it becomes my job.”

The Raiders tacked on an extra insurance tally in the top of the seventh.

Price and Martin once again pulled off their lead-off single-sacrifice routine. Then after a Kyle Knight single, Hain lofted a sacrifice fly to center field.

“We made a couple of mental errors, but they didn’t come back to cost us,” said Weidner. “We played around them. We played good defense and turned an important double play. Clay pitched his butt off.”

IMG_3374“It’s (the season) going really good,” said Witters. “We’re playing good baseball. We’re playing as good as last year, or better. We were really hoping to compete for that section title. But maybe we can make it to the second round of districts.”

Knight’s two-out single in the third had given the Raiders a 1-0 edge. Dane Miller opened the frame with a single and was sacrificed to second by Price.

“Quite honestly, if we can get in, we can compete with anyone in that bracket,” said Weidner of districts. “I don’t know if we’re going to see anyone better than Manheim Central or Garden Spot.”

 

 

 

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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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2017 Elco Baseball Results

Date Teams Score
3/29
4:15 pm
Wyomissing
at Elco
0
17
3/30
4:15 pm
Elco
at Conrad Weiser
7
1
4/01
12:00 pm
Elco
at Hamburg
4
1
4/03
4:15 pm
Elco
at Cocalico
9
6
4/05
4:15 pm
Elco
at Northern Lebanon
14
5
4/07
4:15 pm
Garden Spot
at Elco
16
1
4/10
4:15 pm
Manheim Central
at Elco
9
5
4/12
4:15 pm
Lebanon
at Elco
4
6
4/13
4:15 pm
Columbia
at Elco
0
10
4/17
4:15 pm
Elco
at Lancaster Catholic
4
8
4/19
4:15 pm
Lebanon Catholic
at Elco
1
21
4/21
4:15 pm
Elco
at Annville-Cleona
1
2
4/24
4:15 pm
Lancaster Mennonite
at Elco
2
12
4/26
4:15 pm
Elco
at Pequea Valley
6
1
4/28
4:15 pm
Cocalico
at Elco
0
4
5/01
4:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Elco
2
12
5/03
4:15 pm
Elco
at Garden Spot
0
1
5/08
4:15 pm
Elco
at Lebanon
7
5
5/09
4:15 pm
Elco
at Manheim Central
 41
5/11
7:00 pm
Elco
at Tulpehocken

 

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PIAA District Three

 Class AAAA Power Rankings 

AAAA School  W  L  T  Rating
1 Berks Catholic 14- 2- 0  0.678337
2 Susquehannock 15- 4- 0  0.667970
3 James Buchanan 14- 4- 0  0.667153
4 Big Spring 12- 4- 0  0.664777
5 Kennard Dale 15- 3- 0  0.658725
6 West Perry 13- 5- 0  0.648205
7 East Pennsboro 10- 4- 0  0.648051
8 Eastern Lebanon County 13- 5- 0  0.627321
9 Bishop McDevitt 9- 6- 0  0.620460
10 West York 10- 9- 0  0.588925
11 Northern Lebanon 9- 10- 0  0.526019
12 Middletown 7- 9- 0  0.509769
13 Bermudian Springs 8- 9- 0  0.505640
14 Shippensburg 5- 10- 0  0.488421
15 Littlestown 7- 9- 0  0.478573
16 Hamburg 7- 13- 0  0.460547
17 Conrad Weiser 5- 14- 0  0.434658
18 Boiling Springs 2- 7- 0  0.432073
19 Wyomissing 6- 11- 0  0.394833
20 Eastern York 4- 14- 0  0.375782
21 Susquehanna Township 2- 15- 0  0.358343
22 York Suburban 1- 13- 0  0.324098

 

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IMG_3434 Lancaster-Lebanon League

 Section Three Standings

 

League Overall
W L PCT W L PCT RS RA
Manheim Central 12 3 80.00 13 3 81.25 123 38
Garden Spot 11 4 73.33 12 6 66.67 138 50
Elco 10 5 66.67 13 5 72.22 140 49
Cocalico 9 7 56.25 12 8 60.00 125 63
Northern Lebanon 6 9 40.00 9 10 47.37 116 130
Lebanon 3 12 20.00 4 13 23.53 77 104

 

 

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