Rivalry Renewed: Pioneers Rout Mounts on Senior Night
These two teams have history. In 2018, the Mountaineers defeated the Pioneers 3 times, including the league championship game. The following season, the Pioneers downed the Mounts twice on their way to both a section and league title. Earlier this season, the Pioneers defeated the Mounts by a score of 4-1 under the lights of War Memorial Stadium. For the Mountaineers, the scenario was simple. A win would grant them a spot in the upcoming league playoffs as the Section 2 runner-up. A loss likely ends their season, barring a loss from Solanco. It was also senior night for the Pioneers, as all 10 seniors were honored before the game.
Giovanni Malatesta in Game vs Ephrata
The Mounts got the party started in the first inning, loading the bases before Pioneer hurler Jack Swarr could even get an out. 4-hole hitter Isaiah Hornberger hit a fly ball to center-field, scoring the runner on 3rd base to give the Mounts a 1-0 lead. However, a heads-up defensive play from Alex Knapp nailed the runner out at third-base, limiting the damage and allowing the Pioneers to escape the inning with minimal bruises.
Jack Swarr Pitches in Game vs Ephrata
The Pioneer bats came alive in the bottom half of the 3rd inning. Andrew Whitehead crushed a Brenden Kapczynski pitch over the left-field fence and onto the JV field, tying the game up at 1. Braedon Karpathios scored on an errant throw following a single by Giovanni Malatesta, while Jake Long was able to cross the plate before Malatesta was tagged for the third out. This gave the Pioneers a 3-1 lead heading into the second half of the game.
Andrew Whitehead Celebrates Home Run in Game vs Ephrata
Tempers flared in the 5th inning over a tag by Karpathios, resulting in multiple stoppages of play and both benches being warned. The game was all L-S from that point on, as the Pioneers scored 8 more unanswered runs to win the game by the mercy rule in the 6th inning. Alex Knapp delivered the final blow, knocking a pitch into the left-center gap to plate Peyton Harsh and Brayden Adams. The final score was Pioneers 11, Mounts 1.
Jake Scranton Celebrates Double in Game vs Ephrata
The Pioneers will enter the postseason on a seven-game win streak. They will host Section 3 runners-up Cocalico on Saturday in the quarterfinals of the L-L League playoffs. The Pioneers still hold the league title, as they defeated Hempfield in the 2019 title game. Barring a miracle, the Mountaineers season is over. To advance to the league playoffs, Solanco would lose to Lebanon on Wednesday evening.
By Logan Moyer, LS News reporter
Photos by Logan Thompson, LS News photographer