Waynesboro pulls away from Greencastle-Antrim 9-2

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Waynesboro starting pitcher Garrett Beaver delivers a pitch in early-inning action Saturday agaInst Greencastle-Antrim at Robinson Field, Waynesboro. LEE GOODWIN/LOCAL.NEWS

WAYNESBORO – It took a month for the Waynesboro Indians and Greencastle-Antrim Blue Devils to get their Mid-Penn Colonial Division game in the books.

After it was completed, the Tribe might have looked back and been grateful that their late-March game against the Blue Devils was scrapped. Waynesboro overcame a 1-0 deficit by scoring seven runs in the home third and then added two runs in the sixth to notch a 9-2 victory Saturday at Robinson Field.

In the meantime, what was to be the teams’ second game between each other came and went, and Waynesboro had to face a nemesis – Andrew Kerns – who three-hit the Tribe on the way to leading G-A to a 4-1 win on Tuesday over Waynesboro.

Kerns got the start on Saturday, and Indians ace Garrett Beaver started opposite Kerns.

The backdrop to the game was almost as intriguing as the matchup itself. Greencastle-Antrim suffered its first league loss on Thursday, which featured a scheduled game plus the completion of a suspended game that was tied 2-2.

The loss was the Blue Devils’ first in the division, while Waynesboro took its second league loss on Tuesday with the loss to G-A. The Tribe’s other division loss came at home against Shippensburg.

Fast forward to the game, and, for all intents and purposes, it came down to the bottom of the third inning.

Freshman Bryan Benedict highlighted a zany third inning during which the Indians sent 11 batters to the plate. Benedict, in his first varsity start (he played third base), led off the inning with a single. He stole second, advanced to third on an error and scored on a passed ball to tie the game.

But the big inning was just getting started. Dylan Morgan, who walked, also stole second and advanced to third on a passed ball. He scored when Dominic Moats reached first on an error with one out. Moats struck out, but the catcher bobbled the ball and failed to throw out Moats as first base. That miscue, plus another third-strike error two batters later, helped keep the inning going and gave Waynesboro the help it needed to keep Kerns from controlling the game.

“When we faced kerns on Tuesday, I had to tip my cap to him,” said Waynesboro coach Travis Hardman. “He showed up against us. He was on and we just didn’t put the bat on the ball. I was preaching to the guys in practice – working on the two-strike approach – just make contact, make the defense beat you.

“I think the key to that whole inning –  it wasn’t always solid – but we put the bat on the ball. We got kind of lucky hitting the ball in spots and had a couple infield hits and an error or two.”

Five of Waynesboro’s first six outs came on strike outs, and it looked like déjà vu as the game headed to the third stanza.

Moats scored on a base hit off the bat of Luke Martin. Maddox Brooks singled. Garrett Blount reached first on a third-strike error, and both scored on an error. Benedict came to the plate for the second time, and he delivered – again. He singled home Martin, and Ethan Earley, who got on base thanks to another G-A error, scored on yet another fielding mistake.

Kerns was replaced by Adam Horst after the third inning. Beaver pitched a complete game. He gave up five hits, including a double by Darren Kline in the sixth inning. Kline went on to score on a Horst single. Beaver struck out eight batters with no walks. He struck out the side in the fifth frame and allowed only one base runner in the first and fourth innings.

With the win, Waynesboro is 9-3 overall, 8-2 in the division. G-A still holds a half-game lead over the Indians, with a 7-2 record. Both teams are 9-3 overall.

There are four other teams that still have a chance to play for the division crown, won last season by Northern York. West Perry is 7-3 in league play. Northern and Shippensburg are both 6-4 in the MPC.

NEXT: Waynesboro at Northern York, Tuesday, May 3, at 4:30 p.m. in Dillsburg.

Waynesboro’s Bryan Benedict scores on a passed ball during the third inning against Greencastle-Antrim. LEE GOODWIN/LOCAL.NEWS