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A very good Annville-Cleona pitching staff has gotten a little deeper. 

IMG_2896BY JEFF FALK

ANNVILLE – It took a pitching performance from a 10th-grader named ‘Sonny’ to exorcise some demons and extricate a monkey. But perhaps the most important aspect of it was that the Annville-Cleona baseball team stayed red-hot, at the most opportune time of the season.

On a threatening Monday afternoon, sophomore right-hander Sal ‘Sonny’ Biondollo pitched the Little Dutchmen to their most significant victory to date, a 2-1 triumph over Lancaster Catholic. Before giving way to closer Brandon Urich in the seventh, Biondollo protected the early two-run lead he was entrusted with by pitching ahead in the count.

The result was Annville-Cleona’s sixth straight win and represented a two-game swing in the Lancaster-Lebanon Section Four standings. Instead of the defending champion and front-running Crusaders inching closer to another section crown, the outcome kept the Little Dutchmen very much alive for the circuit’s title.

IMG_2936Annville-Cleona, which has all but sewn up league and district playoff spots, improved to 11-3 on the year and 9-3 in the section. Lancaster Catholic stands at 11-4 on the season and 10-2 in the circuit.

Back on April 5th in Lancaster, the Crusaders handed the Little Dutchmen a 12-2 whipping.

“Anything’s possible,” said Annville-Cleona head coach Scott Shyda. “If it turns out we don’t win the section, we will very much look forward to making the playoffs. We still have some work to do. It’s quality because it’s Lancaster Catholic and (left-handed starting pitcher Dylan) Marsh. It doesn’t get any better than that in (Sections) Three or Four. If we win the section, that’s icing on the cake. Our focus is on the playoffs.

“This was important to us,” continued Shyda. “This is the sixth straight game we’ve played Lancaster Catholic and they’ve thrown Marsh. He won five straight games against us. Down the stretch, that’s how it’s going to be. You’re going to have to win against tough teams. When we get the pitching we got, we can stay in the game and anything can happen.

“It was important because Lancaster Catholic is a little higher ranked in our section,” said Biondollo. “It’s nice to be able to compete with them and pull out a win. They’re just tough competition.

IMG_2925“I know Marsh is one of their better hitters,” Biondollo added. “But I’m not too familiar with the rest of their lineup. I just went at each batter as they came. I tried to hit spots and let the defense do its job.”

The only time Lancaster Catholic was able to bunch hits against Biondollo was the top of the third, when it scored its only run. Actually, Biondollo did a masterful job of damage control in the frame, yielding just Bryce Beamer’s sacrifice fly, after the Crusaders had loaded the bases with nobody out.

Biondollo worked around lead-off walks in both the the fourth and fifth frames, and benefited from Annville-Cleona’s error-free defense and a couple of unassisted double plays turned behind him. After he took over in the seventh, Uhrich allowed the first two Lancaster Catholic batters to reach, before retiring the next three to end the game.

The contest concluded with the potential tying run at third base.

“Control-wise, I would’ve liked to see him be a little better,” said Shyda of Biondollo. “But a sophomore being put in that situation against Lancaster Catholic, I was very proud of him. That’s the kind of outing you need against Lancaster Catholic. He gave us a chance to win.

“We knew this was going to be a challenge,” added Shyda. “He knew it was going to be a challenge, and there was no hesitation.”

“I pitched really well,” said Biondollo. “I got them (the Crusaders) to hit into a lot of ground outs. I was working the outside corner, which proved to be effective. It was a pretty solid performance by the whole team.

“I’m there to pump the team up,” continued Biondollo. “Just help the team get some put-outs. I want to help bring the team together defensively.”

IMG_2907Biondollo got the win by striking out four and walking four. Biondollo allowed no hits after the third, and just three total.

He has now yielded only four hits all spring. After firing a no-hitter and a perfect game for the Little Dutchmen JVs, Biondollo spun a 12-0, one-hit shutout of Lebanon on April 19.

“I just want to hit the spots, and I try not to let the other team rattle me,” said Biondollo. “I want to let the other batters put the ball in play, because my defense is reliable.”

“The thing that stands out to me – and the thing I’m most proud of – is we’re doing this in the hardest part of our schedule,” said Shyda. “They’ve (his players) really stepped up and pulled things together.

“The pitching has been there all year,” Shyda added. “The defense has really come around. And we’ve started to hit. We’re hitting better. We’re putting the ball in play, not striking out as much. Just our approach at the plate is better. I think they’ve bought in and they’ve seen it work.”

Annville-Cleona tallied the only two runs it would need in the bottom of the first inning.

Eli Setlock got it started with a single, and was sacrificed to second by Cameron Hoch. Three-hole hitter Mitch Long reached base after his third strike was dropped, then Darien Peris singled.

IMG_2863Ben Miller scored Setlock with an RBI-grounder, and when the Crusaders threw an attempted relay away, it allowed M. Long to score.

“Then our pitcher is pitching with a lead,” said Shyda. “That was the first time we played with a lead against them. Just from a confidence standpoint, getting those two runs early was good for us.

“I think it’s a confidence thing,” added Shyda. “You know you’re going to have a low-scoring game with them. They have good pitching and a lot of good athletes. They’re just tough. Any time you play them, if you want to have a chance, you’ve got to play your best.”

 

 

 

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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 Annville-Cleona Baseball Results

DATE OPPONENT TIME OUTCOMES
03/24
@Lancaster County Christian
4:15 PM W 7-1
03/29
@Pine Grove
4:15 PM W 6-0
03/31
@Halifax
4:15 PM
04/03 *
@Pequea Valley
4:15 PM L 7-8
04/05 *
@Lancaster Catholic
4:15 PM L 2-12
04/10 *
@Columbia
4:15 PM W 7-0
04/11 *
Lancaster Mennonite
4:15 PM W 7-2
04/12 *
Lebanon Catholic
4:15 PM W 12-0
04/13 *
@Garden Spot
4:15 PM L 1-11
04/17 *
Northern Lebanon
4:15 PM W 9-4
04/19 *
@Lebanon
4:15 PM W 12-0
04/21 *
Elco
4:15 PM W 2-1
04/27 *
Pequea Valley
4:15 PM W 4-1
04/28 *
@Manheim Central
4:15 PM W 4-2
DATE OPPONENT TIME LOCATION
05/01 *
Lancaster Catholic
4:15 PM Annville-Cleona High School
05/02 *
Cocalico
4:15 PM Annville-Cleona High School
05/03 *
@Lancaster Mennonite
4:15 PM Lancaster Mennonite High School
05/05 *
Columbia
4:15 PM Annville-Cleona High School
05/08 *
@Lebanon Catholic
4:15 PM Lebanon Catholic School
05/09
Tulpehocken
7:00 PM Annville-Cleona High School

 

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 PIAA District Three

 Class AAA Power Rankings

 

AAA School  W  L  T  Rating
1 Oley Valley 12- 2- 0  0.708211
2 Lancaster Catholic 11- 3- 0  0.659298
3 Susquenita 11- 3- 0  0.640142
4 Annville Cleona 10- 3- 0  0.622523
5 Brandywine Heights 6- 4- 0  0.508000
6 Trinity 4- 5- 0  0.503548
7 Lancaster Mennonite 7- 8- 0  0.490486
8 Delone Catholic 6- 6- 0  0.479176
9 Upper Dauphin 8- 5- 0  0.473838
10 Biglerville 5- 7- 0  0.446722
11 Pequea Valley 5- 10- 0  0.423017
12 Schuylkill Valley 4- 11- 0  0.385140
13 Hanover 3- 11- 0  0.322017
14 Tulpehocken 1- 12- 0  0.288632

 

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 IMG_2905Lancaster-Lebanon League

 Section Four Standings

League Overall
  W L PCT W L PCT RS RA
Lancaster Catholic 10 2 83.33 11 4 73.33 112 29
Annville-Cleona 9 3 75.00 11 3 78.57 82 42
Lancaster Mennonite 5 7 41.67 7 8 46.67 86 72
Pequea Valley 4 8 33.33 5 10 33.33 82 80
Columbia 1 11 8.33 2 14 12.50 40 155
Lebanon Catholic 0 10 0.00 0 12 0.00 9 186

 

 

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