Baseball squad takes home Tri-Valley League Title
NEWPORT – Tuning up for Monday’s start to the District III tournament, Upper Dauphin started its run in the postseason 1-0 with a Tri-Valley League title under their belt.
With the help of pitcher Aaron Cleveland, the Trojans defeated Juniata 3-0 at Newport May 17 to win their fifth title in eight years, regaining the crown they last won in 2014.
Usually, the Tri-Valley League tournament uses a four-team bracket, but with Western Division champions Juniata starting their playoff run in District 6 on May 19, league officials eliminated the semifinal games with wildcards Millersburg and Newport and went right to the championship game.
The two teams met eight days prior, engaging in a 2-1 14-inning classic won by Juniata. On this day, Upper Dauphin would not be denied.
The game came down to another pitcher’s duel, this time between UDA’s Aaron Cleveland and Juniata’s Chance Swartz. Between the two, they struck out a combined 19 — 10 for Swartz, nine for Cleveland — batters.
While Cleveland scatted Juniata’s two hits like bookends in the first and seventh innings, Swartz held Upper Dauphin hitless until the fifth inning when the team used three singles to load the bases and Connor Deitrick brought two runs home with a two-out single.
The Trojans padded their lead in the sixth with a single by Jarod Bingaman with pinch runner Carson Barge later scoring on an error.
The win improved Upper Dauphin to 17-2 and have earned the third seed in the District III Class AA tournament.
With a 10-team field, Upper Dauphin will be in action in the quarterfinals on Thursday, May 26 against sixth-seeded Annville-Cleona at Elizabethville, The start time has not yet been determined.
Halifax and Millersburg are both headed into the District III Class A playoff field and on the path for a quarterfinal matchup since the Wildcats were seeded fourth while the Indians are the fifth seed. The game was scheduled for May 23, but was rained out, so the two sides were scheduled to meet May 24 at Veterans Memorial Park, Halifax.
The Indians-Wildcats victor will meet top-seeded Lancaster County Christian, a 7-4 winner over High Point Baptist on May 23.
Only the District III Class A Champion will qualify for the PIAA State Playoffs while the two finalists in Class AA will make the field.
The area’s only other baseball qualifier is Tri-Valley, currently the number two seed in a three-team field in District XI Class A with top-seeded Marian Catholic and Shenandoah Valley. District officials set the playoff game between Tri-Valley and Shenandoah Valley at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 25 with the winner of that game meeting Marian at a site and time to be determined.