It's the first step on the way to Williamsport, the ultimate goal of every child that plays Little League baseball. To get to the Little League World Series, you have to start with getting through your own District.
Octorara got off on the right foot in its quest for a District 23 title, taking a 7-4 victory over Penn Manor. Nick Murtaugh and Domenick Lubrano led the way offensively, with each player going 3-for-4 with a double on the night. Doug Lapp was 2-for-4 with a RBI, and Cole Burkhart, Doug Fisher and Rhett Kroninger had base hits as Octorara pounded out 11 hits in the game.
David Comstock got the start on the mound, and didn't allow a hit until the fourth inning. Comstock whiffed six Penn Manor hitters in picking up the win.
Up next was Garden Spot. Octorara jumped out to the lead with three runs in the second. Jonathan Bollenbach led off with an infield single, and Brian Olson followed by dropping down a beautiful bunt down the third base line. A sac bunt and a couple errors later, and Octorara was up 3-0. But Garden Spot put up six in the top of the third, and added another pair in the fifth to come away with an 8-3 win.
Lubrano doubled on the night, and Andrew Hill and Lapp also connected for singles.
The story of the following game was Comstock. The lefty hurler threw six shutout innings for the 11-0 win over Manheim Central, and allowed just one hit in the game, a single in the third. Comstock needed just 90 pitches to earn the win, striking out nine hitters in the process.
Octorara lit up Manheim pitching for 16 hits, led by Murtaugh (3-for-4, 3 runs), Lubrano (3-for-4, 2 runs), Burkhart (3-for-4, 2 runs). Lapp had just one hit, but it was a bases loaded triple to knock in three runs. Hill was 2-for-3, and knocked in a pair of runs. Hits came from every spot in the order, as Olson, Bollenbach, Comstock and Scott Foreman added base hits.
The road came to end this past Saturday with a heartbreaking 2-1 loss to Solanco.
Down 1-0, Octorara tied it with a run in the fourth. After Olson was plunked with a pitch with one out, he moved over to second on a passed ball. Bollenbach then ripped a single to right to bring Olson home.
Meanwhile, after allowing an unearned run in the first, Octorara starter Hill settled in, retiring 15 of the next 19 hitters he faced before the bottom half of the sixth.
Solanco's lead off hitter in the sixth reached on a single, but Octorara appeared to have him picked off straying to far from first. The umpire didn't see it that way, however, saying the runner got back in safely under the tag, and moved up on a passed ball on the next pitch. Solanco made it first and third with an error, and then Octorara intentionally walked the bases jammed. Solanco won it on a single to right from the next hitter.
Hill allowed just one earned run in the game, limiting Solanco to just five hits in six innings. He struck out three, and walked just one besides the intentional free pass in the sixth.