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Mounts edge CV for Section Two crown


ImageReid Martin provided the power, Zac Schnader the pitching, and the combination proved potent enough Wednesday to give Ephrata its third L-L League Section Two baseball title in four years.

"This has been our goal, and it's great to achieve it," said Martin, who stroked a single to left field in the bottom of the seventh inning to rally the Mountaineers past Conestoga Valley, 3-2, in the section championship played at Manheim Township.

"We're a clutch team, we've been like that all year," said Schnader, who hurled a five-hitter in his first mound appearance since suffering a severe concussion two weeks ago.

The dramatic victory was the ninth one-run win this season for the Mounts (13-4 in the L-L) and sends them into Saturday's opening round of league playoffs opposite Section Four runner-up Annville-Cleona (11-5).

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The Buckskins (12-5) will face Section Four champ Pequea Valley (12-4). Starting times for Saturday's quarterfinals at Ephrata's War Memorial Field are expected to be announced today.

Ryan Crowther got the Mounts going in the seventh when he was hit by a pitch from Bucks reliever Joe Wengerd with one out.

Steve Tretter followed by driving an 0-1 delivery to right center for a double. Trying to score from first, Crowther was tagged out at home by catcher Greg Dissinger in the second of two outstanding defensive plays by the Bucks.

After slugger Chris Hull was intentionally walked, Martin drove a 1-0 fastball into the high sky in left to score Tretter with the game-winning run.

"It was a fastball up in the zone," Martin said. "I thought it had a good chance (to drop in)."

Mounts coach Adrian Shelley wasn't fazed by the the Bucks' decision to walk Hull to get to Martin.

"He was definitely the right guy at the right time," Shelley said of Martin, who has delivered several key hits this season.

CV coach Eric Frey said the decision to pitch to Reid was based on two factors.

"He seemed to have been struggling at the plate," Frey said of Martin, "and we walked Hull to set up a force at every base."

Schnader drew accolades from both sides for his dramatic return from being struck on the head by a line drive two weeks ago while pitching batting practice for an age 14-15 team he coaches.

He suffered a severe concussion and internal bleeding, and was only given the green light to play Wednesday after undergoing a CAT scan in the morning.

Firing fastballs and curves, the senior right-hander threw 124 pitches en route to striking out seven and walking four. He struggled in the third, when CV scored its only runs on Jon Shenk's fielder's choice RBI and Schnader's wild pitch.

Limited to three walks and two hit batsmen through the first four innings by sophomore lefty Mark Royer, Ephrata didn't get its first hit until Crowther's RBI single in the fifth.

The Mounts tied the game in the sixth on Derrick Shenk's fielder's choice RBI off Wengerd, who relieved Royer after Martin's bad-hop single past third and Dan Hagey's high-chopper over the third base bag.

"We've been like that all year, fall behind and come back," said Schnader, who knows a thing or two about comebacks. "I knew we were going to come back."

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