5 Mid-Penn baseball sleepers who could make a playoff run
We’re getting closer and closer to the playoffs with the District 3 power deadline set for May 20. Thus, division titles are not the only prize to be won in the weeks to come.
Every year some teams emerge in the playoffs which might surprise some and make for a deep run. PennLive examines some of these potential “sleeper” teams that are outside of our Fab 5 ranking who seem willing to do more than just reach the district tournament.
Teams are included with the current record, classification and power rating out of the total qualifiers in the District 3 field through April 29. Discover the 5 teams below.
Current PR: 4/6
Buzz: Keep in mind that two of the Shamrocks’ four losses this season came by narrow margins against East Pennsboro (2-0) and Boiling Springs (8-6). These two programs are currently 1-2 in order of D3 4A. Perennial baseball powers Oley Valley and Brandywine Heights are also in this class, so Trinity’s slate won’t be easy. However, Chris Cap’s side already have a few big wins on the resume, and despite a recent setback to rival Camp Hill, the pieces are in place for some playoff success. Everyone now knows SS Maika Niu. He’s the offensive lightning rod that hits north of 0.500 with 12 extra hits and 15 knockouts. More power comes from Payton Warner (.421) JT Cap (.325) and Josh McCombs (.375). If the Rocks get more production than staff ace Ethan Pfeffer (5-0), there’s no reason Trinity can’t wrestle.
Current PR: 8/10
Buzz: To be fair, rating the Crusaders at this point in the season seems impossible. From his scorching 4-0 start to two straight losses to Hershey and Palmyra recently by a combined 21-6, how do you rate the leaders in the Keystone Division who are 8-4 and not exactly a shoe for to qualify for districts? OK, now for the good stuff. While East Pennsboro, who beat McD’s 11-5 on April 17, is the 4A favorite, the road behind the Panthers is wide open. It’s the kind of road where a team that has a few living weapons like McD does in Hudson Morris (3-1, 2.84 ERA), Zachary Radzik (3-1, 3.57) and James Anderson (1 -0, 3.77), can do damage. We already know that hitters Chris Rosa (.533, 21 RBI), Marcus Mancini (.387) and Radzik (.325) can lead McD on the offensive end.
Current PR: 12/16
Buzz: This is an important stretch for skipper Eric Shaner and the Blue Devils. While not in immediate danger of missing the playoffs, the Blue Devils have lost two games in a row and their opponents’ weighted winning percentage has lagged a bit behind their closest pursuers for the past four. places in the D3 5A peloton. Clearly, Logan Layton has been a huge asset on both sides of the dish, reaching a team record of 0.425 with 16 RBIs while sitting 3-0 with a 2.55 ERA and the 64 best strikeouts. in 33 rounds. However, GA has a ton of high energy guys, a roster who can go through tough innings and find ways to win. Second-year pitchers Adam Horst and Andrew Kerns were also strong, while wide receiver Carter Reid, utility Austin Wyand and senior Caiden Smith provided plenty of offense.
Current PR: 10/16
Buzz: When you factor in the current Manheim Central No.1 (12-0), Red Land No.2 (9-2) and North No.3 (13-2), 5A support could become the most difficult. of District 3. So how is Palmyra a potential threat? Glad you asked. The Cougars quietly went about their business after a 0-2 start – lost to Mechanicsburg and McD by 3 points combined – and won 8 of 9. There are a lot of winnable games in the home stretch and this season finale. against. Cedar Cliff could really catapult the Cougars to neighborhoods on a high note. While Nick LaFoe has been Palmyra’s most consistent pitcher, Gage Miller (.538, 15 RBIs) is making headlines with a very strong offense that can score in clusters. Jacob Deimling (0.357) and Mason Kepler (0.485) are just two other free traders who have helped turn the ship around. They’re a team that hit .338 and posted nearly 9 runs per game.
Current PR: 8/12
Buzz: Make no mistake, there are some very talented teams from several District 3 leagues running the show right now, including Manheim Township, one of the last unbeaten in all classifications. Still, the Eagles can compete in a win-win duster, especially if ace Brady Grimes continues to deal. He picked up another win on Tuesday against a strong program from Cedar Cliff and has just lowered his ERA to less than 1.00. Accompanied by second baseman Joshua Minnich (0.464), shortstop Jerry Crispino (0.390) and backstop Logan Sauve (0.486), the Eagles reach 0.311 as a club and have some impressive wins. CV will have the chance to avenge his opening series loss to Commonwealth rival Red Land next week. A win over the Patriots could really set these guys off.
MORE BASEBALL HS
• Mid-Penn Conference Statistics Leaders through April 25
• Mid-Penn Midseason All-Star Team
• Mid-Penn Breakout 9 players midway through the regular season
Follow Eric Epler on Twitter – @threejacker