Groshong's gem snaps losing streak for L-S baseball team

Under the lights, everything changes.

With the indisputable staff ace, Garrett Groshong, on the hill and students filling the bleachers and grass, the excitement was palpable as the game began.

Groshong retired the side in the first … and the second … and the third … and the fourth, allowing just one baserunner in each inning.

All the while, though, the offense struggled. In the first inning, Kris Pirozzi and Connor Brown reached second and third, but the third through fifth hitters went down in order with no runs coming home.

"I tried to stay calm," says Groshong in regards to the lack of run support. "I pitch better when I'm happy."
Garrett Groshong helped himself by starting a rally at the
plate in the fifth inning; meanwhile, he threw seven innings
while striking out four, walking one, and allowing five hits
to just one run

Groshong credited third baseman Colin Eckman for helping him stay loose during the game, something the team as a whole did with constant bantering from the dugout and the diamond.

The offense finally awoke in the fifth inning when Groshong himself reached on an error, advanced to third after an errant throw on a bunt single by Andrew Hay, and scored when Manheim Township's shortstop committed his second error of the inning. Hay scored thereafter when Connor Brown perfectly executed a safety squeeze up the first base line. All this happened with no outs, so there was still an opportunity to blow the game open, but Brown was picked off at first, and then Luke Weigel and Eckman, the three and four hitters who combined to go 0-6 on the game with three strikeouts, each grounded out to end the inning with a 2-0 lead.

That was all Groshong needed.

After a clean sixth inning, he allowed a double in the seventh that was followed by a dribbling single through the middle to score a run and put the tying run on first base. One pitch into the subsequent at bat, Groshong snapped a pickoff throw to first to catch Township's pinch runner leaning. He then attacked the batter and worked a flyout to left field to end the game with a 2-1 advantage.

Groshong's dominance on the hill made the game fun to be a part of for teammates.

"It takes a little bit of the pressure off," says outfielder Andrew Hay, who recorded three putouts in left field. "When you have a pitcher who's that on, it puts the defense at ease."

Andrew Hay enjoyed being a part of such a dominating
performance from the staff ace, Garrett Groshong
With the win, the team advances to 6-9 on the season (4-7 in section play), having snapped a four-game losing streak that was part of a stretch during which the team had lost seven of eight. Shank thinks and hopes they have turned a corner.

"We only have five games left and they're all section games," says Bear Shank. "We're taking it one game at a time, but if we win out, we'll be in a good place for districts."

Moving forward, the Pioneers will need to find a way to score runs, but for tonight, they're happy with the win and look forward to Friday's benefit night against Garden Spot (silent auction to benefit A Week Away starts at 4 PM with the varsity game starting at 7), when they hope to build some momentum.

Shank seems unconcerned.

"We're having fun. We're making plays. We finally broke the losing streak. We're feeling good."

View a full photo gallery via Google Photos
Related: Baseball team to raise money for A Week Away

--Benjamin Pontz, Editor-In-Chief; Photos by Lauren Mast, Director of Sports Photography

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