JERSEY SHORE - Any way you look at it, the second meeting of the season between Montoursville and Jersey Shore will go down as one of the longest contests ever played between the two schools.
The game originally started on May 4, and after one-plus inning of baseball, the game was suspended due to unplayable conditions with the teams deadlocked at 1-all.
Twelve days later, after battling through another session with Mother Nature that saw the resumption of the game delayed by almost an hour, the Bulldogs did all of the scoring over the final six innings as they defeated Montoursville 5-1 to sweep the season series with the Warriors.
"All we wanted to do in this game was control what we could control," Shore head coach Matt O'Brien said. "We can't control the weather, and we can't control their lineup changes. At the end of the day, it was just about us getting better. I thought we hit the ball hard today. We also ran the bases well today and our defense has been getting better and better as the season went on."
Shore took the lead for keeps with a single run in the third inning on three straight singles by Zach Miller, Christian Rishel and Galen Greider followed by a sacrifice fly to right by Ryan Huling.
The Bulldogs added a third run in the fifth inning when Rishel, who finished with three hits and a RBI, tripled to left-center and scored on Greider's sacrifice fly.
Holding the 3-1 lead, the Shoremen closed out the scoring in the sixth inning when Kaiden Brungard reached on a Warrior error and scored on a RBI single to left by Ryan Koch. Koch scored the fifth and final Shore tally one out later on Rishel's run-scoring single to center.
If there was one negative for Shore, it was leaving 11 runners on base over the six innings.
"The win was nice, but we also have a number of things to work on," O'Brien said. "We had good scoring chances in the first four innings, but we left a lot of guys on. Against good teams, you can't do that and expect to win. If you let them hang around, they can come back and bite you, and fortunately for us today, that didn't happen."
While the Bulldogs needed the win for possible seeding position in the District IV Class AAA tournament, Warrior head coach Travis Wurster used the resumption of the game as preparation for the Pap Giles tournament this weekend in addition to getting his team ready for the District IV Class AA playoffs.
"We got to see another good pitcher (Notevarp) and that was nice," Wurster said. "It was a good chance to see good pitches from an opponent as opposed to seeing live pitches from me or from a teammate. We have to step it defensively, but we knew that coming in. Sitting around for two hours or whatever it was, and then having to play a game that didn't really mean a whole lot to us, was tough to do. We were kind of laid back and we certainly didn't have the intensity we had all season. It was just tough to get it going."
For Shore, Tellef Notevarp was a big part of the story as the senior right-hander, who was also the starting pitcher in the original attempt at playing the game, finished his complete-game effort to pick up the win.
For his seven innings of work, Notevarp only allowed the Warriors five hits and the one run, striking out six while walking three.
"He has been great for us all year," said O'Brien about Notevarp. "He kept them off-balance and when he is on, he can throw all three of his pitches for strikes and command the strike zone. He did a great job of throwing strikes and keep their hitters off-balance."
In addition to seeing a good pitcher in Notevarp, Wurster was also anxious to see several of his pitchers get back in the groove as they prepare for the stretch run.
"We got Andrew Null back in and he struggled his last time out," Wurster said. "He (Null) threw a lot of balls, but today, he did a nice job against their 2-3-4 hitters. Alex Rothrock came out and he is one of the guys we go to as a closer or setup man at the end of the game and Jacob Jones really hasn't thrown all season for us and he is a guy who we are probably going to use Saturday. I think the big thing is that we were able to get our pitchers some confidence."
The Bulldogs will play their season finale today when they face the Shikellamy Braves.
"It looks like we are going to have a 10- or 12-day layoff after Shikellamy, but again, we can't control that," O'Brien said. "Take our record out of it, we are peaking at the right time. We are putting good at-bats together and we are scoring a lot of runs. I am extremely happy with and proud of the guys for all of their hard work they have put in during the year and they are starting to reach their goals."
Heartland Conference Baseball
Jersey Shore 5, Montoursville 1
MTV 100 000 0 - 1 5 4
JS 101 012 X - 5 10 0
MTV: Christian Clark, Andrew Null (2), Alec Rothrock (3), Jacob Jones (5) and Null, Dalton Young (2). JS: Tellef Notevarp and Ryan Koch. WP: Notevarp. LP: Rothrock. 2B: Clark (M), Young (M), Colton Potter (JS). 3B: Christian Rishel (JS). SF: Ryan Huling (JS), Galen Greider (JS).