MIDDLETOWN, Pa. - The Penn State Harrisburg men's baseball team had something to prove in their second effort against York College this season. In the first contest between the two teams less than two weeks ago, the Lions suffered their worst loss of the year. Harrisburg refused to accept anything but a quality performance in the exciting rematch Wednesday.
Harrisburg started off strong behind the pitching effort of junior starter Clint Hicks (State College Pa, / State College). Hicks was cruising early sitting down York in order in the first inning. He kept pace in the second and third allowing no runs and just two hits. This helped to build up the Blue and White's confidence offensively as they took advantage of a two Spartan first base mistakes to go up 1-0. John Cataldo (Pine Grove, Pa. / Pine Grove) went all the way from first on a missed catch that allowed him two extra bases that finished with a successful slide at the plate.
The Lions had a chance to extend their lead in the fifth inning when Cataldo started things off by taking one for the team, Cody Henry (Halifax, Pa. / Halifax) singled to put two men on with no outs. Unfortunately, they were not able to advance any runners further and remained up just 1-0 going into the sixth inning.
After a brilliant pitching effort from Hicks, Harrisburg found themselves just two outs from a big win over the visiting Spartans. York then singled and used a hit by pitch to get men on first and second. A misjudged fly ball to right field could have cost the Lions, but a quick recovery allowed Harrisburg to catch the Spartan runner trying to get back to third base after deciding home was out of reach.
With two outs, Tom Chaney (Lancaster, Pa. / Lampeter-Strasburg) came into the game with all the pressure on. Everyone thought the game was over after a well-placed pitch even had the York batter heading to the bench, but the umpire kept the game alive by calling it a ball and loading the count.
On the next pitch, Harrisburg had a ground out to the short stop but a misplaced throw gave the Lions their second error of the day at the worst possible time allowing York to tie things up. A single directly after gave them the lead for the first time all afternoon.
Harrisburg was unable to make the comeback in the bottom of the ninth and suffered another agonizing defeat at the hands of a CAC opponent. The Lions will have to find the strength to stay positive and work together if they want to salvage their playoff hopes which are fast approaching.
The Lions will host Frostburg State on Saturday, Apr. 5, in what feels like a must win double header.