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Lady Raiders Top Milton Hershey, Camp Hill May 22, 2017

The phrase 'too little, too late' could apply to the Middletown softball team's late season surge. The Lady Raiders, with wins over Milton Hershey and Camp Hill, picked up a quarter of their wins over the final six days of the 2017 regular season. That puts Middletown at 8-12 overall and 5-7 in Mid-Penn Capital Division play.

The final victory of 2017 came on May 16th with a 10-6 win over Milton Hershey. Hayli Akakpo-Martin and Riley Elhajj led the way at the plate while Maddie Sweigert limited the Lady Spartans enough to collect the win.

Sweigert covered five of the seven innings and allowed all six of the Lady Spartan runs on six hits and three walks to go along with three strikeouts. Hayley Baxter pitched a scoreless final two innings, allowing just one hit and no walks with one punch-out.

Akakpo-Martin collected two of Middletown's six hits, driving in two runs with two singles. Elhajj had just one single but inflicted just as much damage to finish with two RBI. Hailey Hockenberry and Gabby Krupilis drove in the final two Lady Raider runs with Hockenberry getting the job done with a double while Krupilis picked up a RBI without collecting a single hit.

Middletown's second to last win came on May 12th with a 13-2 victory over Camp Hill. Noelle Zimmerman earned the win after pitching all seven innings. She closed the game with four scoreless innings after allowing first and third inning runs to the Lady Lions. Zimmerman added three walks and three strikeouts to the six hits allowed.

Elhajj and Kayla Warhola provided the pop at the plate, accounting for four of Middletown's 19 hits plus six RBI. They split everything down the middle, each pushing three runs across with matching singles and doubles. Jordyn Dupes rapped out four singles leading to one RBI while Veronica Miller's three singles and Kylee Nester's two base hits gave each player a RBI of their own. Kate Fitzpatrick and Akakpo-Martin also enjoyed three hit days with Fitzpatrick picking up a RBI on two singles and a double.

In between the two victories was a 10-4 loss to Central Dauphin East. Zimmerman took the loss, pitching all six innings. She finished with four strikeouts and two walks to go along with six hits and five earned runs. The Lady Raiders managed nine hits with Nester picking up three of them. Those hits, all singles allowed Nester to score one run and drive in another. Dupes and Krupilis each recorded two singles. Elhajj managed just one single but matched Dupes' RBI total while Akakpo-Martin picked up the final Middletown hit.

The season came to a close on May 17th with a 3-0 loss to Trinity. Zimmerman took another six-inning loss after allowing single runs in the second, fourth and sixth innings. She allowed just four hits to the Lady Shamrocks but those hits, coupled with four walks, resulted in three earned runs and were countered with just two strikeouts. Trinity's Erin Pfeffer picked up the shutout victory, allowing only singles to Akakpo-Martin and Sweigert while striking out 10 and issuing no walks.

BASEBALL

In their final week of the 2017 season, the baseball team dropped games against Central Dauphin East and East Pennsboro to finish 9-11 overall and 6-8 in the Mid-Penn Capital Division.

May 15th saw Middletown drop a 3-0 final to Central Dauphin East. The Panthers used a stellar outing from Hunter Paul to collect the win. Paul issued no walks to go with nine strikeouts and allowed only a second inning double to Richard Castagna to post the shutout victory. Michael Mattes pitched well in the loss with none of the Panther runs falling on the earned side of the ledger. Mattes struck out 11 and walked none while scattering six hits.

The Blue Raiders closed out the season one day later with a 10-0 loss to East Pennsboro. Middletown managed just four hits while absorbing their fifth shutout loss of the season. Blake Jacoby picked up two of those four singles while David Alcock and Jimmy Fitzpatrick split the remaining two base hits.

Noah Zimmerman took the loss after allowing six of the 10 Panther runs over the game's first four innings. Fitzpatrick pitched the final inning and two-thirds, surrendering the final four East Penn runs. Only four of those 10 runs were earned as the Middletown defense committed five errors. Together Zimmerman and Fitzpatrick combined for five strikeouts and three walks.

TRACK

The track and field team also finished their 2017 season last week with a trip to Shippensburg University for the District 3 Championship meet.

Despite an undefeated regular season the boys sent only three individuals and one relay team to Shippensburg. Hunter Landis and Tyrelle Gallatin each qualified for two events with Gallatin also taking part of Middletown's 15th place finish in the 400m relay. Antonio Gamble, Malik Noon and Jose Lopez joined Gallatin in that relay.

Lopez also joined Gallatin in the 100m but the freshman did not advance out of the preliminary round. The same cannot be said for Gallatin who ultimately finished eighth in the event thanks to a 11.27 in the finals. Gallatin worked his way to the championship race with a 11.30 in the prelims and a 11.09 in the semifinals, both earning the junior the final slot in the next round. With all of Gallatin's work in the 100m and 400m relay he bowed out of the 200m competition.

Landis had a mixed weekend, finishing ninth in the 3A shotput and 16th in the discus. Landis entered the shotput competition seeded 15th but bettered that seeded mark of 48' 8" by nearly two feet with his top throw of 50' ", taking ninth in the 16-person field. Things did not go as well in the discus competition with Landis taking 16th place with his best toss of 126' 3" which was almost 20' off his seeded throw.

The Lady Raiders had nine girls qualify in 10 events resulting in five podium finishes. Rowan Sessa and Morgan Noon captured the top finishes with each earning a bronze medal. Noon slipped to third in the 2A discus competition with a top throw of 110' 1" after entering the day seeded second. Lily Fager qualified but did not throw.

Sessa highlighted her busy weekend with a third-place finish in the 300mH, clocking a 48.14. She missed out on the 110mH finals after finishing 11th in the semifinals with a time of 17.52. She earned that semifinal slot with the 10th fastest preliminary time, 17.34.

Sessa's teammate, Jocilyn Koser, was even busier as she took part in three events that required six races. She opened her busy weekend on Friday with runs in the 100m and 200m prelims and semifinals. Koser dropped out of the 100m competition after finishing 14th in the semifinals. She earned that semifinal spot with a 13.33 in the preliminary round. Koser's 26.78 in the 200m prelims was the fifth fastest time while her 27.29 in the semifinals was only the eighth quickest. She posted a 27.48 in Saturday's finals to finish eighth. Koser capped her crazy weekend with a disqualification in the 400m.

Courtney Shaffer was the final Lady Raider to qualify on the track but the senior did not compete in the 800m final.

Ashley Barni picked up a surprise sixth place finish in the javelin with her toss of 103' 5" jumping all the way up from her 12th place seed. Keely Lombardi held up her 11th place seed by finishing 11th with a throw of 90'.

Bianca Jasper managed a seventh-place finish in the high jump despite entering the competition seeded third. Her top jump of 4' 8" was just two inches off the winning height from Delone Catholic's Julianna Malesky.

Jessica Knisely was the final Lady Raider to take part in the district meet, finishing in a tie for 10th in the pole vault. Knisely cleared 7' 6" along with three other athletes.

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Middletown Track Wraps Up Perfect Season May 15, 2017

The boys' track and field team finished up a perfect regular season with a win over Cedar Cliff last Tuesday while the Lady Raiders suffered their sixth loss. Both squads sent their contingent to Chambersburg on Saturday, May 13th for the Mid-Penn Championship meet. The two sides tallied seven top 10 finishes led by Hunter Landis who collected two of them. Landis took fifth in the shotput with a toss of 48' 8.25" and sixth in the discus with a heave of 144' 1". Devin Agramonte added a sixth-place finish in the long jump while Tyrelle Gallatin claimed the final individual medal, picking up the bronze for an 11.17 in the 100m. Middletown also came home with a sixth-place finish in the 400m relay. Lily Fager posted the top finish for the Lady Raiders, taking fifth in the discus with a throw of 99' 10". Bianca Jasper picked up the only other top 10 finish, settling for a four-way tie for 10th in the high jump with a best of 4' 8".

BASEBALL

Despite Mother Nature extending the baseball season by another week, it appears like the Blue Raiders will run out of games in their attempt to qualify for the District 3-4A playoffs. Middletown improved to 9-9 on the season but that is only good enough for 12th in the 4A power rankings, putting the Blue Raiders two spots out of the 10-team field.

Middletown got their worst game out of the way early last week, taking a 4-1 loss when they faced off against Palmyra. Michael Mattes and Jimmy Fitzpatrick spilt the six-inning affair down the middle with each pitcher tossing three. Mattes absorbed the loss, allowing six of the nine Cougar hits and all four of their runs with just one earned run. Fitzpatrick issued four walks to go with the three hits he allowed. He also accounted for one of the four Middletown hits on offense, smacking a double while Blake Jacoby, Noah Zimmerman and John Sanchez-Padilla chipped in with singles. Sanchez-Padilla picked up Middletown's lone RBI with a first inning fielder's choice.

Middletown rebounded nicely with a 15-4, five inning win over Steel-High on Tuesday. Tristan Maxwell covered the first three innings to earn the win while Richard Castagna and Sanchez-Padilla covered the final two innings. Maxwell surrendered two hits and one earned run, adding four strikeouts and three walks to his day. Castagna's time on the hill was short, surviving just two-thirds of an inning after allowing the final three Roller runs. Sanchez-Padilla closed things out, striking out three and walking one in a hitless final inning and a third.

Zimmerman, with three singles, and Matt Schopf, with two base hits, provided the big pop at the plate with each driving in three runs. Castagna and Joe Brady each enjoyed two RBI days despite just two singles between them.

The Blue Raiders closed out the week on Thursday with a 4-3 walk-off win over Trinity. Sanchez-Padilla played the hero with a two-run single in the bottom of the seventh to steal the win from the Shamrocks. Sanchez-Padilla accounted for another Middletown hit with a fourth inning single. Maxwell, Castagna and Fitzpatrick picked up the three remaining hits for the Blue Raiders with Maxwell adding a sac fly in the third.

Zimmerman got the start but ended up with no decision as Mattes earned the win for covering the final inning. Zimmerman scattered four hits over his six innings and allowed all three Trinity runs although just two were earned. He added five strikeouts and four walks while Mattes allowed one hit and had two strikeouts.

SOFTBALL

The softball team appears destined for the same postseason fate as their baseball counterparts, just outside the cutoff. After a 1-1 week, the Lady Raiders are 6-10 and two spots out of the District 3-3A postseason field.

It may have taken nine innings but a win is still a win and the Lady Raiders will gladly take their 8-7 victory over Palmyra. Noelle Zimmerman pitched all nine innings, outdueling Palmyra's Abbey Krahling in the process. Zimmerman allowed nine hits and seven runs but only three were earned as Middletown committed four errors. Zimmerman added four walks and one strikeout to her pitching line.

Veronica Miller managed just one hit, a triple, but still scored three runs to go with one RBI. Hayli Akakpo-Martin, Gabby Krupilis and Jordyn Dupes all posted the same one hit, one RBI day while Kate Fitzpatrick added a two hit, one RBI game.

The week did a complete flip-flop with a 15-0 loss to Kennard-Dale on Wednesday. Krupilis picked up two of Middletown's five hits while Dupes, Fitzpatrick and Riley Elhajj accounted for one hit apiece. Maddie Sweigert took the loss for covering the first four innings and allowing 13 of the 15 Lady Ram runs. Hayley Baxter pitched the final inning, surrendering the final two Kennard-Dale runs on one hit and one walk.

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Middletown Baseball Falls to 7-8 Overall May 8, 2017

The Middletown baseball team struggled through the first week of May, dropping all three games they played last week, falling to 7-8 overall and 4-7 in the Mid-Penn Capital Division. The former dropped Middletown out of the 10 team District 3-4A playoff field while the latter pushed them further from the top of the Capital Division standings.

The Blue Raiders kicked off the week by finishing out their March slate, hosting West Perry in a game that had been scheduled to take place back on March 28th. The Mustangs left with a 3-0 victory. Jimmy Fitzpatrick took the loss, allowing five hits, two runs while striking out two and walking one, during his six innings of work. Johan Sanchez-Padilla covered the final inning, surrendering the final run on one hit and one walk.

Sanchez-Padilla also accounted for two of the four Middletown hits, rapping out two singles. Blake Jacoby and Kyle Truesdale joined the hit club with one single each.

The Blue Raiders closed the week on Thursday with an 8-4 loss to Camp Hill. In between was a May 2nd tilt opposite East Pennsboro. The two sides needed a full nine innings to decide a winner with East Penn coming out on top 8-7.

Middletown sent the game to extras with a crazy bottom of the seventh rally that saw runs scored via a fielder's choice, passed ball and a wild pitch. The game got away from the Blue Raiders in the top of the ninth when the Panthers produced their own three run rally. Jacoby nearly knotted the game a second time in the bottom of the ninth when his contact resulted in a two-run error but this rally fell short. Noah Zimmerman and David Alcock were the only other two Blue Raiders to manage a hit with Zimmerman finishing with two of the team's four base knocks.

Zimmerman took the loss for two innings of relief of starter Michael Mattes. Together the pair combined for 11 strikeouts and four walks to go with eight hits and five earned runs.

SOFTBALL

The softball team also went 0-3 last week with an odd schedule quirk leading to two of those losses coming at the hands of East Pennsboro. The teams squared off on May 2nd in what was supposed to be their second meeting of the season but it ended up being their first.

The result was a 13-1 Lady Panther victory. East Penn used a seven run fourth to push their lead past 10-runs. Middletown countered with a lone run in the top of the fifth but it was not enough to stave off the 10-run rule.

Maddie Sweigert took the loss, surrendering all 13 East Pennsboro runs on 12 hits and two walks to go with two strikeouts in four and one-third innings. Hayley Baxter induced the final two outs in relief of Sweigert. Jordyn Dupes, Gabby Krupilis and Kayla Warhola split the three Lady Raiders hits with Dupes' double being the only extra base hit.

One day later the Lady Panthers traveled to Middletown but the result did not change. East Pennsboro won in five innings, this time 11-0. Noelle Zimmerman pitched all five innings and absorbed the loss. She yielded seven hits and four walks with just one strikeout, leading to eight of the 11 runs being earned. Riley Elhajj accounted for both Middletown hits, a pair of singles.

The Lady Raiders opened the week on Monday with another five-inning loss, this one by a 12-0 final to West Perry. Zimmerman covered three and two thirds innings, allowing all the Lady Mustang runs, with only seven counting as earned. She added two strikeouts and three walks to the 11 hits allowed. Baxter finished the game by recording the final out in the bottom of the fourth. The Lady Raiders managed just three singles on the day, one each by Warhola, Kylee Nester and Hailey Hockenberry.

TRACK

The highlight of the week came on the track where the boy's 90-59 victory over Trinity secured the team's first division crown since 1990. Tyrelle Gallatin and Matt Frehse spearheaded the win with two victories apiece. Gallatin swept the sprints, taking the 100m in 11.0 and the 200m in 23.2. Frehse enjoyed a hurdle sweep, posting a 16.6 to take the 110mH while topping the 300mH field with a 43.8. The Blue Raiders posted a 45.0 to take the 400m relay, their lone relay victory.

Middletown did even better in the field, winning four of the seven events. Hunter Landis led the charge with a heave of 46' 4.5" in the shot put while Chris Plummer locked up the triple jump with a top distance of 38' 2". Devin Agramonte covered 20' 0.5" to win the long jump while Grayson Meyer cleared 10' to take the pole vault.

The Lady Raiders were not as fortunate, falling to Trinity by an 85-65 final, with just six event wins as a team. Morgan Noon picked up two of those wins, taking the shot put with a throw of 30' 2.5" and the discus with a toss of 102'. The other four victories came on the track with just one coming from a relay team. The 400m relay clocked a 54.1 to top the Lady Shamrock squad. Rowan Sessa picked up a win in the 100mH with a 17.5. Courtney Shaffer added a mid-distance win with a 2:38.5 in the 800m while Angela Hernandez claimed the 3200m in 14:21.6.

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Middletown Baseball Blanks Milton Hershey May 1, 2017

The Middletown baseball team found themselves on the opposite end of similar games last week. The Blue Raiders opened the week with a 10-0 win over Milton Hershey on Wednesday but closed with a 10-1 loss to Northern York on Thursday.

Middletown wrapped up their win over the Spartans strong, scoring eight of their 10 runs in the sixth and final inning. One day later the Blue Raiders were unable to get their bats going in the nine-run loss to the Polar Bears.

TENNIS

The final week of April brought a close to the 2017 boys' tennis season at Middletown Area High School. The Blue Raiders wrapped up their regular season with losses to Bishop McDevitt and Susquehanna Township to finish 2-11.

Middletown dropped the McDevitt match by a 5-0 final on the 24th and the Township match by a 3-2 count on the 26th. Both team points against the Indians came in doubles play. Connor Gambini and Blake Gill topped Brian Sayre and Trey Trkula in number one doubles while Steven Mosher and Jacob Idowu took out Anuj Ghimirey and Amory Sestlugres in three sets at number two.

Both duos entered the Mid-Penn Conference tournament seeded in their respective flights, Gambini and Gill earning the second seed in flight one while Mosher and Idowu earned the fourth seed in the flight two draw.

Gambini and Gill used their victory over Sayre and Trkula on Wednesday as a spring board to a quarterfinal win over the pair in the Mid-Penn Conference tournament. The season came to a close with a three-set semifinal loss to Camp Hill's Max Dethloff and Andrew Zully.

Mosher and Idowu also had their season end with a semifinal loss to a Camp Hill pair. The Blue Raider pair fell to the topped seeded Ben Brodie and Tristan Moten in two sets. Mosher and Idowu earned that semifinal showdown by topping Trinity's Kyle Carson and Nikolos Higgins, 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 in the quarterfinals.

Middletown had one other doubles team in Mid-Penn action, Jacob Spear and Tommy Lee in the DQ Doubles bracket. The pair dropped their only match to Bishop McDevitt's Noah Nacionales and Josh Lapitan.

The Blue Raiders were unable to replicate their doubles success in singles action with all three players dropping their opening round match. Spear and Lee both fell to foes from James Buchanan while Jarod Frekot dropped his match with Camp Hill's Tyler Myers. Spear fell to Isaac Shenton at number one singles while Lee dropped his number two match with Micah Wise.

SOFTBALL

Despite the wet weather that has pushed back numerous games this season, the softball team was in action just once last week, falling to Northern York by a 6-2 count on Thursday. The Lady Polar Bears balanced a three run first with another three runs over the fifth and sixth innings. Middletown managed a two-run burst in the top of the third but nothing more.

Noelle Zimmerman pitched all six innings for Middletown, finishing with one strikeout and three walks to go with seven hits and six runs allowed.

Kylee Nester and Kayla Warhola accounted for half of the Lady Raiders four hits with each picking up one RBI for their efforts. Kate Fitzpatrick and Hayli Akakpo-Martin picked up the two remaining hits for Middletown.

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ET Boys' Tracksters Remain Undefeated April 24, 2017

The boys track team remained undefeated on the season with an 85-65 win over East Pennsboro last Tuesday. Matthew Frehse and Tyrelle Gallatin led the way with two wins apiece. Frehse swept the hurdle events, taking the 110mH in 15.7 and the 300mH in 42.9. Gallatin enjoyed a sprint sweep thanks to a 11.2 in the 100m and a 23.1 in the 200m. Jose Lopez-Quinones (400m), Aiden Sessa (800m) and Justin Shaffer (1600m) accounted for the remaining wins on the track. Hunter Landis, Brendan Douglass and Chris Plummer split the three wins in the field. Landis claimed the shot put, Douglass the discus and Plummer the high jump.

The Lady Raiders dropped their head-to-head with East Pennsboro by a 95-55 final. Rowan Sessa picked up the only two wins on the track, posting a 17.2 in the 100mH and a 49.9 in the 300mH. Middletown's four remaining wins all came in the field starting with Morgan Noon's discus victory. Ashley Barni claimed the top spot in the javelin while Bianca Jasper (high jump) and Jessica Knisely (pole vault) collected the final two wins.

TENNIS

The boys' tennis team hit the courts twice last week and dropped both outings. They opened the week with a 4-1 loss to Camp Hill in a make-up from March 16th and 31st. Connor Gambini and Blake Gill accounted for the lone victory, topping Max Dethloff and Andrew Zolly in number one doubles.

The pair were also responsible for earning the 0.5 points in a 4.5-0.5 loss to James Buchanan on April 20th. Gambini and Gill won the opening set against Noah Shank and Oscar Erkes at number one doubles by a 6-2 count but were trailing 4-5 in the second set when the match was called due to an approaching storm.

SOFTBALL

The baseball and softball teams enjoyed 2-1 weeks. The Lady Raiders opened with a 17-5, five inning, win over Susquehanna Township on April 17th. Maddie Sweigert pitched the first three innings to collect the win. She held the Lady Indians hitless, walked two, and struck out one with only one of her three runs allowed falling in the earned category. Hayley Baxter covered the final two innings, allowing the final two Township runs on three hits and one walk to go along with three strikeouts.

Hayli Akakpo-Martin, Kate Fitzpatrick and Gabby Krupilis all drove in three runs on two hits to power the offense. Veronica Miller added another two RBIs on her lone hit of the day.

The Lady Raiders picked up their fifth win of the season one day later with a 4-3 victory over Trinity. Both squads scored three first inning runs to keep the score tied but Middletown was able to plate the game winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Noelle Zimmerman tossed all seven innings to earn the win finishing with five strikeouts and one walk to go along with five hits and three earned runs. Kylee Nester picked up the only RBI for Middletown with a triple. Kate Fitzpatrick tallied the only other extra base hit with a double. Riley Elhajj, Krupilis and Akakpo-Martin all finished with base hits.

The Lady Raiders closed the week with a 16-4 loss to West Perry on Thursday. The Lady Mustangs rapped out 22 hits with Baxter and Krupilis getting hit for 11 apiece. Baxter spread her hits allowed over four and one third innings while Krupilis surrendered her 11 hits in two and two-thirds innings.

Elhajj smacked two triples in her three at-bats, finishing with one RBI and one run scored. Fitzpatrick matched everything but the two triples, settling for one triple instead. Miller and Akakpo-Martin drove in the remaining two runs while Nester, Krupilis and Jordyn Dupes accounted for the remaining three Middletown hits.

BASEBALL

The baseball team followed the same script last week, wins over Susquehanna Township and Trinity followed by a loss to West Perry.

The Blue Raiders opened the week with a 7-5 win over Township on the 17th. Michael Mattes picked up the win for his four innings of work. He counted seven hits and three earned runs with nine strikeouts and just one walk to his day. Blake Jacoby and Jimmy Fitzpatrick covered the final three innings on the mound. Jacoby surrendered two runs on one hit and one walk while Fitzpatrick pitched a perfect seventh to close out the win.

Middletown plated five of their seven runs in the bottom of the third inning with only two hits. The Blue Raiders opened the inning with three straight walks followed by two straight hit batsmen, leading to a 2-1 lead. Tristan Maxwell and Richard Castagna connected on the only two hits to make it 4-1 while a fielder's choice put Middletown up 5-1. David Alcock picked up his only hit of the game with a run producing single in the fifth.

One day later Middletown outlasted Trinity 10-9 for their second win in as many days. Fitzpatrick got the start and the win for four innings of work. Maxwell, Alcock and Noah Zimmerman covered the final three innings. The quartet combined to strike out five, walk two and gave up five earned runs.

Fitzpatrick and Jacoby drove in two runs each with Fitzpatrick smacking a one run single to center in the sixth to go with a run producing walk in the fourth. Jacoby drove in one run with a first inning double and a second run with a fourth inning single.

The Blue Raiders traveled to West Perry on Thursday and returned with an 8-5 loss. Zimmerman took the loss after pitching the first five and one third innings. Jacoby pitched the final two-thirds of an inning, allowing no hits, runs or walks.

Castagna and Joe Brady each finished with two hits and one RBI while Maxwell also drove in one run but did so on just one hit. Castagna picked up a RBI with a sixth inning double while Brady pushed a run across with a first inning single. Maxwell also enjoyed a single on the day but his RBI came from a sixth inning fielder's choice.

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Lady Raiders Top Camp Hill, 8-3 April 17, 2017

Despite the best efforts from Mother Nature, the Middletown softball team has completed roughly one-third of their 2017 slate. The weather did push two games from early April into early May but the Lady Raiders have still played seven of their 20 games, and sit at 3-4 overall.

Middletown earned that third win on April 11th using a five run fifth to overtake Camp Hill on their way to an 8-3 victory. Kayla Worhola carried the big bat for the day, adding a single to her fifth inning blast. Gabby Krupilis, Veronica Miller and Kylee Nester provided back-up with Krupilis matching Warhola's two hits while all three enjoyed a single RBI. Noelle Zimmerman scattered seven hits and allowed three fourth inning runs on her way to the win. She added two strikeouts and two walks.

Middletown's second game last week ended with the Lady Raiders on the wrong end of a 14-2 final. Eastern York used a 10-run second inning to propel them to the five-inning win. Nester took the loss after getting the start. Hayley Baxter tossed the final two and two-thirds innings with the pair combining for four walks and no strikeouts. The pair also provided both Middletown runs courtesy of their matching RBI totals. Miller, Jordyn Dupes and Hayli Akakpo-Martin tallied the three remaining Middletown hits.

BASEBALL

The baseball team was in action three times last week, picking up wins over Bishop McDevitt and Steel-High sandwiched around a loss to Camp Hill. The 2-1 week pushes Middletown to 4-3 overall.

Michael Mattes earned Monday's win over McDevitt by scattering four hits and two runs while picking up two strikeouts and issuing one walk. Jimmy Fitzpatrick secured the win by pitching a scoreless seventh in relief of Mattes.

Aaron McDevitt provided the big hit of the day with a three-run double in the sixth. David Alcock picked up his lone hit of the game to push across the final Middletown run, giving the Blue Raiders a 5-1 cushion. Richard Castagna put Middletown up 1-0 with his first inning single only to see the Crusaders answer by tying the game in the third. McDevitt picked up their second run in the bottom half of the sixth but it did little to dent Middletown's four run lead.

The week ended on Wednesday with a 15-0, four inning, thrashing of Steel-High. Noah Zimmerman allowed just one hit over the four-shutout innings to earn the win. Ten of the 12 Roller outs came via strikeouts with Zimmerman issuing just two walks to counter those 10 strikeouts.

Zimmerman and Blake Jacoby both smacked two-run doubles and Johan Sanchez-Padilla connected on a two-run blast as part of a five run second inning for Middletown. That outburst stretched the Blue Raider lead to 8-0 after two innings. Middletown finished the game with a seven run fourth that was highlighted by a three-run homerun by Matt Schopf.

In between the two wins was a 3-0 loss to Camp Hill on Tuesday. Fitzpatrick took the loss despite pitching a solid game. He scattered six hits and allowed just three runs to go with three strikeouts and one walk. Unfortunately for Fitzpatrick and the rest of the Blue Raiders, Lion hurler, Wyatt Beddow, had better stuff. He struck out 14 and walked just two while allowing two hits on the way to the shutout win. Zimmerman and Joe Brady accounted for those two hits, singles in the third and fifth innings.

TENNIS

The boy's tennis team picked up their second win of the season on April 13th but not before losses to East Pennsboro and Trinity earlier in the week. The Panthers posted a 5-0 win on Monday while Middletown fell to Trinity by a 4-1 final on Wednesday. Steven Mosher and Jacob Idowu earned the lone win against the Shamrocks, topping Kyle Carson and Nikolos Higgins in number two doubles.

The Blue Raiders were able to claim the win over Harrisburg Academy on Thursday thanks to singles sweeps by Jacob Spear, Tommy Lee and Jarod Frekot to go along with doubles wins by Blake Gill and Connor Gambini and the Mosher-Idowu duo.

TRACK

The track and field teams took a trip to Elliottsburg last Tuesday to face off against West Perry. The boys came home with a 90-60 victory while the Lady Raiders fell 77-73.

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Blue Raiders' Baseball Crushes Milton Hershey April 3, 2017

The baseball team experienced mixed results as their 2017 campaign got underway. They took a loss from Hershey to open the season and added a win over Milton Hershey a few days later.

Against the Trojans, Middletown managed just four hits. The biggest was Johan Sanchez-Padilla's two run blast in the fourth that accounted for both of the Blue Raider runs. Blake Jacoby, Noah Zimmerman and Jimmy Fitzpatrick split the remaining three hits.

Fitzpatrick and Zimmerman both spent time on the hill in relief of starter Michael Mattes. They registered one inning each with Fitzpatrick tallying one strikeout and one walk to Zimmerman's two strikeouts and two walks. Zimmerman was also responsible for three of Hershey's six runs. Mattes was on the hook for the remaining three runs, surrendering four hits and one walk to go with seven strikeouts over five innings.

The Blue Raiders evened their record to 1-1 on March 30th with a 15-0 shellacking of Milton Hershey. Zimmerman was the beneficiary of the scoring outburst, picking up five strikeouts on his way to collecting the three-inning victory. Fitzpatrick, Tristan Maxwell and Joe Brady did the bulk of the damage at the plate. Brady and Fitzpatrick connected on two singles each to drive in a pair of runs apiece while Maxwell plated two runs despite a hitless day.

SOFTBALL

The softball team also dropped their season opener to Hershey on the 24th, falling by an 11-6 count. Hayli Akakpo-Martin managed three hits in her four trips to the plate, collecting a single, double and a triple to go with one RBI. Kayla Warhola also enjoyed a multi-hit day, smacking a triple and a single to push one run across. Jordyn Dupes and Kylee Nester each managed just one hit but Nester's double pushed one run across with Dupes accounting for two scores thanks to her single.

TRACK

As season openers go you can't ask for much better than the boys' track team's 82-68 victory over Bishop McDevitt on March 28th. Justin Shaffer led the way, taking part in four different wins while Matt Frehse and Hunter Landis added two wins each. Shaffer posted three of his four wins in solo events, taking the 800m (2:16), 1600m (5:02.7) and the 3200m (11:21.6). He also played a part in the 3200m relay team's winning time of 9:14.1 with Daniel Brenner, Cameron Parkhill and Aiden Sessa accounting for the other three legs. Frehse did his work in the hurdle events, taking the 110 highs in 16.2 and the 300's in 43.2. Landis earned his two individual wins with throws of 44' 1" in the shot put and 140' 1" in the discus while Malik Noon claimed his lone victory in the triple jump. Middletown's final victory came in the 1600m relay where Tre Leach, Grayson Meyer, Jose Lopez-Quinones and Donovan Brady combined to post a time of 3:49.9.

The Lady Raiders were not as fortunate in their battle with McDevitt, falling 111-39. Rowan Sessa accounted for two of Middletown's three wins, taking the 100 hurdles in 17.6 and the 300's in 51.2. The Lady Raiders remaining win came in the field with Ashley Barni tossing the javelin 100' 2".

TENNIS

The tennis team has managed to avoid the rainy weather that has troubled a lot of other sports, playing three of their scheduled four matches. Unfortunately, the results have been less than desirable with the Blue Raiders dropping all three. Middletown kicked off the season on March 21st with a 5-0 loss to East Pennsboro. A 3-2 loss to Trinity followed two days later with a 4-1 defeat to James Buchanan completing the three-match stretch.

All of Middletown's wins came in doubles action with Connor Gambini and Blake Gill picking up the lone win against the Rockets. Gill was also part of one of the victories against Trinity, teaming with Steven Mosher to take out Kenneth Kannampully and Michael Brown in number one doubles. Jacob Idowu and Aaron Fischer teamed up to post the second victory topping Kyle Carson and Nikolas Higgins in number two doubles.

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Raiders Reach State Quarterfinals March 20, 2017

For the Middletown boys' basketball team the saying 'all good things must end' played out over 32 minutes in Altoona last Saturday. The Blue Raiders, making their deepest run into the PIAA playoffs since the 1980's, bowed out of this year's PIAA-4A championship battle with a 77-66 loss to Quaker Valley.

The 4A quarterfinal tilt went sideways for Middletown early in the second when foul trouble sent junior Ryan Hughes to the bench.

"I believe Ryan picking up that third foul really hurt us," said head coach Chris Sattele. "My philosophy coaching wise is when you get three you are done for the half so we couldn't put him back in."

Up until that point the Blue Raiders were matching the Quakers blow for blow. After, the District 7 runner-up was able to close out the half on a 16-8 run and enter the break with a 10-point, 37-27, cushion. Quaker Valley's Coletrane Washington sparked that rally, scoring the first five points sandwiched around a Tre Leach free throw. From there Washington's teammates took over to finish off the run. Leach picked up three more of his 17 points over the course of the run, helping to counter the Quaker push. A Luke Mrakovich jumper was the only other Middletown points during the spurt.

The third quarter started well for Middletown with Michael Mattes (five points) and Hughes draining free throws that trimmed the deficit down to six points. The Quakers scored 13 of the next 15 points to push their lead to 17 with 2:31 remaining in the frame. Fortunately, the Blue Raiders were able to close out the quarter on a 6-0 run to keep the Quakers within striking distance at 50-39.

Striking distance would be as close as Middletown would get despite 16 fourth quarter points from Hughes, pushing him to a game high 24. Quaker Valley managed to maintain their cushion thanks to Danny Conlan, who scored 12 of his team high 20 in the frame, including an eight of 10 showing at the line.

The three remaining Quaker starters also scored in double figures with Ricky Guss collecting 13 points while both Amis Luptak and Wolfie Moser chipped in 12 points.

"Credit to Quaker Valley, they did a tremendous job, they were great," said Sattele. "They're just a special group, they have five very, very good players."

The remaining two Middletown starters, Mrakovich and Chris Plummer, combined for 16 points with Plummer taking credit for nine and Mrakovich five. David Alcock and Tyreer Mills split the remaining four Blue Raider points down the middle.

Middletown earned that quarterfinal date courtesy of a 59-53 victory over Greater Johnstown Area two days prior. The Blue Raiders overcame a sluggish start that saw them down five midway through the opening frame to take a 16-12 lead into the second quarter. Hughes netted five of his team high 19 during the 12-3 run that flipped the game as well as assisting on Plummer's bucket that kicked off the spurt. A Mills three pointer and a Mattes putback accounted for the remaining five points of the run.

Hughes, despite many missed opportunities, picked up another seven points in what proved to be the decisive second quarter. Middletown's only other points in the frame came from a Plummer three pointer just before the buzzer and two Kyle Truesdale free throws a few minutes prior.

Even with Middletown only scoring 12 points in the frame they were able to turn their four-point cushion into a cozier 12-point advantage at the midway point of the game thanks to a dominating defensive effort.

"It was great that we held them to four points in the second quarter. That was huge," said Sattele. "That really put the clamps on them."

A 9-2 run on the other side of the break pushed the Blue Raider lead to an eye popping 19 points with just over 12 minutes of game time remaining. The Trojans began their slow climb back from that hole on the back of Tavis Price. The senior guard scored six straight to kick off a 13-5 Johnstown run and added a three ball on the back end to account for eight of the 13 points. Mrakovich scored four of Middletown's five points in that run while Leach accounted for the remaining point via a free throw with 1:32 remaining in the frame.

Johnstown continued their push as the fourth quarter progressed thanks largely to the work of Price and Jemel Gause. The pair of seniors combined to score 13 of the Trojans 22 fourth-quarter points, shrinking the Blue Raider cushion to a measly six points. Excellent free throw shooting by Middletown kept Johnstown at bay just enough for the Blue Raiders to slip out of Chambersburg with the 59-53 victory. Mrakovich was key to that free throw shooting, draining all six of his attempts in the frame to finish with 12 points in the game. Truesdale was perfect on his two attempts to finish with four points while Leach and Mills added a combined three makes on five attempts. That gave Mills four points and Leach five for the game.

Plummer joined Hughes and Mrakovich in double figures with 11 points while Mattes tallied the four remaining Middletown points. Johnstown's Price led all scorers with 20 points while Gause tacked on 14 in the loss.

The win over Johnstown coupled with the loss to Quaker Valley leaves the Blue Raiders with a stellar 22-6 record for their magical 2016-2017 season.

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Raiders Reach State Quarterfinals March 20, 2017

For the Middletown boys' basketball team the saying 'all good things must end' played out over 32 minutes in Altoona last Saturday. The Blue Raiders, making their deepest run into the PIAA playoffs since the 1980's, bowed out of this year's PIAA-4A championship battle with a 77-66 loss to Quaker Valley.

The 4A quarterfinal tilt went sideways for Middletown early in the second when foul trouble sent junior Ryan Hughes to the bench.

"I believe Ryan picking up that third foul really hurt us," said head coach Chris Sattele. "My philosophy coaching wise is when you get three you are done for the half so we couldn't put him back in."

Up until that point the Blue Raiders were matching the Quakers blow for blow. After, the District 7 runner-up was able to close out the half on a 16-8 run and enter the break with a 10-point, 37-27, cushion. Quaker Valley's Coletrane Washington sparked that rally, scoring the first five points sandwiched around a Tre Leach free throw. From there Washington's teammates took over to finish off the run. Leach picked up three more of his 17 points over the course of the run, helping to counter the Quaker push. A Luke Mrakovich jumper was the only other Middletown points during the spurt.

The third quarter started well for Middletown with Michael Mattes (five points) and Hughes draining free throws that trimmed the deficit down to six points. The Quakers scored 13 of the next 15 points to push their lead to 17 with 2:31 remaining in the frame. Fortunately, the Blue Raiders were able to close out the quarter on a 6-0 run to keep the Quakers within striking distance at 50-39.

Striking distance would be as close as Middletown would get despite 16 fourth quarter points from Hughes, pushing him to a game high 24. Quaker Valley managed to maintain their cushion thanks to Danny Conlan, who scored 12 of his team high 20 in the frame, including an eight of 10 showing at the line.

The three remaining Quaker starters also scored in double figures with Ricky Guss collecting 13 points while both Amis Luptak and Wolfie Moser chipped in 12 points.

"Credit to Quaker Valley, they did a tremendous job, they were great," said Sattele. "They're just a special group, they have five very, very good players."

The remaining two Middletown starters, Mrakovich and Chris Plummer, combined for 16 points with Plummer taking credit for nine and Mrakovich five. David Alcock and Tyreer Mills split the remaining four Blue Raider points down the middle.

Middletown earned that quarterfinal date courtesy of a 59-53 victory over Greater Johnstown Area two days prior. The Blue Raiders overcame a sluggish start that saw them down five midway through the opening frame to take a 16-12 lead into the second quarter. Hughes netted five of his team high 19 during the 12-3 run that flipped the game as well as assisting on Plummer's bucket that kicked off the spurt. A Mills three pointer and a Mattes putback accounted for the remaining five points of the run.

Hughes, despite many missed opportunities, picked up another seven points in what proved to be the decisive second quarter. Middletown's only other points in the frame came from a Plummer three pointer just before the buzzer and two Kyle Truesdale free throws a few minutes prior.

Even with Middletown only scoring 12 points in the frame they were able to turn their four-point cushion into a cozier 12-point advantage at the midway point of the game thanks to a dominating defensive effort.

"It was great that we held them to four points in the second quarter. That was huge," said Sattele. "That really put the clamps on them."

A 9-2 run on the other side of the break pushed the Blue Raider lead to an eye popping 19 points with just over 12 minutes of game time remaining. The Trojans began their slow climb back from that hole on the back of Tavis Price. The senior guard scored six straight to kick off a 13-5 Johnstown run and added a three ball on the back end to account for eight of the 13 points. Mrakovich scored four of Middletown's five points in that run while Leach accounted for the remaining point via a free throw with 1:32 remaining in the frame.

Johnstown continued their push as the fourth quarter progressed thanks largely to the work of Price and Jemel Gause. The pair of seniors combined to score 13 of the Trojans 22 fourth-quarter points, shrinking the Blue Raider cushion to a measly six points. Excellent free throw shooting by Middletown kept Johnstown at bay just enough for the Blue Raiders to slip out of Chambersburg with the 59-53 victory. Mrakovich was key to that free throw shooting, draining all six of his attempts in the frame to finish with 12 points in the game. Truesdale was perfect on his two attempts to finish with four points while Leach and Mills added a combined three makes on five attempts. That gave Mills four points and Leach five for the game.

Plummer joined Hughes and Mrakovich in double figures with 11 points while Mattes tallied the four remaining Middletown points. Johnstown's Price led all scorers with 20 points while Gause tacked on 14 in the loss.

The win over Johnstown coupled with the loss to Quaker Valley leaves the Blue Raiders with a stellar 22-6 record for their magical 2016-2017 season.

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Raiders Reach State Quarterfinals March 20, 2017

For the Middletown boys' basketball team the saying 'all good things must end' played out over 32 minutes in Altoona last Saturday. The Blue Raiders, making their deepest run into the PIAA playoffs since the 1980's, bowed out of this year's PIAA-4A championship battle with a 77-66 loss to Quaker Valley.

The 4A quarterfinal tilt went sideways for Middletown early in the second when foul trouble sent junior Ryan Hughes to the bench.

"I believe Ryan picking up that third foul really hurt us," said head coach Chris Sattele. "My philosophy coaching wise is when you get three you are done for the half so we couldn't put him back in."

Up until that point the Blue Raiders were matching the Quakers blow for blow. After, the District 7 runner-up was able to close out the half on a 16-8 run and enter the break with a 10-point, 37-27, cushion. Quaker Valley's Coletrane Washington sparked that rally, scoring the first five points sandwiched around a Tre Leach free throw. From there Washington's teammates took over to finish off the run. Leach picked up three more of his 17 points over the course of the run, helping to counter the Quaker push. A Luke Mrakovich jumper was the only other Middletown points during the spurt.

The third quarter started well for Middletown with Michael Mattes (five points) and Hughes draining free throws that trimmed the deficit down to six points. The Quakers scored 13 of the next 15 points to push their lead to 17 with 2:31 remaining in the frame. Fortunately, the Blue Raiders were able to close out the quarter on a 6-0 run to keep the Quakers within striking distance at 50-39.

Striking distance would be as close as Middletown would get despite 16 fourth quarter points from Hughes, pushing him to a game high 24. Quaker Valley managed to maintain their cushion thanks to Danny Conlan, who scored 12 of his team high 20 in the frame, including an eight of 10 showing at the line.

The three remaining Quaker starters also scored in double figures with Ricky Guss collecting 13 points while both Amis Luptak and Wolfie Moser chipped in 12 points.

"Credit to Quaker Valley, they did a tremendous job, they were great," said Sattele. "They're just a special group, they have five very, very good players."

The remaining two Middletown starters, Mrakovich and Chris Plummer, combined for 16 points with Plummer taking credit for nine and Mrakovich five. David Alcock and Tyreer Mills split the remaining four Blue Raider points down the middle.

Middletown earned that quarterfinal date courtesy of a 59-53 victory over Greater Johnstown Area two days prior. The Blue Raiders overcame a sluggish start that saw them down five midway through the opening frame to take a 16-12 lead into the second quarter. Hughes netted five of his team high 19 during the 12-3 run that flipped the game as well as assisting on Plummer's bucket that kicked off the spurt. A Mills three pointer and a Mattes putback accounted for the remaining five points of the run.

Hughes, despite many missed opportunities, picked up another seven points in what proved to be the decisive second quarter. Middletown's only other points in the frame came from a Plummer three pointer just before the buzzer and two Kyle Truesdale free throws a few minutes prior.

Even with Middletown only scoring 12 points in the frame they were able to turn their four-point cushion into a cozier 12-point advantage at the midway point of the game thanks to a dominating defensive effort.

"It was great that we held them to four points in the second quarter. That was huge," said Sattele. "That really put the clamps on them."

A 9-2 run on the other side of the break pushed the Blue Raider lead to an eye popping 19 points with just over 12 minutes of game time remaining. The Trojans began their slow climb back from that hole on the back of Tavis Price. The senior guard scored six straight to kick off a 13-5 Johnstown run and added a three ball on the back end to account for eight of the 13 points. Mrakovich scored four of Middletown's five points in that run while Leach accounted for the remaining point via a free throw with 1:32 remaining in the frame.

Johnstown continued their push as the fourth quarter progressed thanks largely to the work of Price and Jemel Gause. The pair of seniors combined to score 13 of the Trojans 22 fourth-quarter points, shrinking the Blue Raider cushion to a measly six points. Excellent free throw shooting by Middletown kept Johnstown at bay just enough for the Blue Raiders to slip out of Chambersburg with the 59-53 victory. Mrakovich was key to that free throw shooting, draining all six of his attempts in the frame to finish with 12 points in the game. Truesdale was perfect on his two attempts to finish with four points while Leach and Mills added a combined three makes on five attempts. That gave Mills four points and Leach five for the game.

Plummer joined Hughes and Mrakovich in double figures with 11 points while Mattes tallied the four remaining Middletown points. Johnstown's Price led all scorers with 20 points while Gause tacked on 14 in the loss.

The win over Johnstown coupled with the loss to Quaker Valley leaves the Blue Raiders with a stellar 22-6 record for their magical 2016-2017 season.

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Blue Raiders Compete in State Hoop Playoffs March 13, 2017

An argument can be made that a loss is just a loss but when that loss comes in gut wrenching fashion it can have an adverse effect on a high school basketball team. So, the Blue Raiders took the court on March 11th for their PIAA-4A opening round affair looking to shake off their, led for 30+ minutes but lost in overtime, district championship heartbreaker to Lancaster Catholic. That loss gave Middletown the two-seed out of District 3 and gave the Blue Raiders a favorable opening round location. Middletown's first state action in 25 years took place at nearby Central Dauphin East High School, allowing the predominantly Blue Raider crowd to enjoy a 71-56 victory over Danville Area.

"We're excited. Obviously, it's the first time that Middletown has played in a state playoff game since '92 so to grab a win against a really good, really talented Danville team out of District 4, we are excited," said head coach Chris Sattele. "Our student body, our community has come together like no other. It's a great time to be a Blue Raider."

Despite the convincing final margin, the game opened with Middletown out of sorts which led to a six-point hole just minutes into the contest.

"They made a couple shots and our guys were still kind of in that moment of this is the state playoffs, looking around at a packed gym, but they gained their composure and were good to go."

Good to go indeed. From the time the Ironmen took the second of their two six-point, first quarter leads until the final whistle, Middletown posted a +21-scoring edge. That included a Ryan Hughes' fueled 9-1 run that flipped the game. That run covered the final 2:21 of the first and turned a six-point deficit into a two-point lead. Hughes scored seven of his 10 first quarter points during the decisive run.

As the second quarter got underway, the Blue Raiders went about extending that two-point lead into something a bit more comfortable. That started to happen with a Luke Mrakovich jumper in the lane that came with 5:27 left in the half. A Michael Mattes put back 30-seconds later pushed the lead to seven at 21-14, providing some comfort. The real cushion came when Chris Plummer drilled back-to-back three pointers to push the lead to 11 with just over three minutes remaining in the half.

Tre Leach was the next Blue Raider to step up. He scored seven straight points, thwarting a run by the Ironmen that had trimmed the cushion down to just six points with 2:07 left in the frame. The final five of Leach's points put Middletown's lead back at a more comfortable 11 points with 72 seconds before intermission. A few Danville free throws coupled with a Mrakovich three at the buzzer gave Middletown a 37-26 advantage at halftime.

As you could expect, the Ironmen came out of the break looking to get back in the game. They did just that with a quick 5-0 run that made it 37-31 with over six minutes remaining in the third. Hughes stepped up again, leading Middletown on a 7-0 run to end the Danville push. The junior guard kick started the Blue Raider counter with a single free throw that made it 38-31. A few seconds later he hit Mattes on an inbounds for 40-31 lead before dishing to Mrakovich on the break for a 42-31 game. A couple of missed Ironmen free throws setup a Hughes jumper to cap the 7-0 run. Leach tacked on his only points of the third on a steal and layup that put the lead at 15 for the first time. The teams traded buckets over the final three minutes leading to a 50-38 contest with just eight minutes remaining.

Danville made another run as the fourth quarter got underway, trimming the Middletown cushion down to single digits just over a minute into the final stanza. Middletown responded with a team wide 10-0 run that pushed the lead to 19-points and ended any thoughts of an Ironmen comeback. Mattes got things rolling with a put back that pushed the lead back to double digits before Hughes and Plummer drilled three-pointers on opposite sides of missed Danville free throws. Middletown capped the run with a pretty fast break that saw Leach hit Plummer who hit Mrakovich for an easy layup and a 62-43 lead.

Danville posted another quick 5-0 spurt to shrink the lead back to 14 but Leach picked up a bucket on a goaltending call that effectively ended the Ironmen's chances with 2:45 remaining in the game. Middletown finished out the game at the line, making seven of 11, to seal the win.

"Every team is good at this level. Anytime you talk about making the state playoffs, you know there is a possibility they could get a couple runs in there," said Sattele of Danville's runs. "We just wanted to make sure we kept our composure. We did what we had to do."

Doing what they had to do resulted in the 15-point victory and a second-round match-up with Johnston Area on March 15th. It also allowed Hughes to finish with a game high 20 points while Mrakovich and Leach tallied 14 apiece. Plummer finished with 11 and Mattes 10 to give the Blue Raiders a quartet of double digit scorers. Kyle Truesdale accounted for the final two points with a first quarter bucket.

The boy's team was not the only Blue Raider squad that enjoyed a foray into state playoff action. The Lady Raiders made their first PIAA appearance since 1998. Unfortunately, that appearance resulted in a first round match-up with the top ranked 3A team in the state, Neumann-Goretti. The result was a 77-50 defeat that ended the Lady Raiders season.

A slow start doomed Middletown from the get-go with the Lady Saints opening a 12-point, 19-7, lead after the first quarter.

"I think playing a state playoff game against the number one team in the state in 3A, we definitely came out with some pregame jitters," commented head coach Ron Stetler. "We didn't shoot well in the first quarter but kind of hung in there."

The Lady Raiders rebounded in the second quarter, matching Neumann-Goretti point for point, leading to a 33-21 game at the break. The Lady Saints stretched their lead to 18 after three with a 25-16 fourth quarter putting the final margin at 27-points.

"In the second half, we kept battling. Our kids never gave up but I think their experience, their athletic ability, height and strength, just took over and they pulled away," offered Stetler.

Bianca Jasper capped her Middletown career with a game high 28 points, topping Neumann-Goretti's Manika Glenn with 26 points. Katie Fitzpatrick picked up 12 as the only other Lady Raider in double figures. Caroline Gill (four points), Makaila Nester (two points), Jaelynn Keller (two points), Nakia Scott (one point) and Morgan Noon (one point) finished up the Middletown scoring.

"A 12-14 record doesn't reflect how good a year we had with only 10 players, including six freshmen, with the teams we played," said Stetler. The teams he is referring to have a combined 10 district playoff berths, two district championships and seven state playoff berths between them.

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Middletown Falls in District 3-4A Final in OT March 6, 2017

High school basketball games are 32-minutes long and no credit is given for leading at any point other than when the final whistle sounds. For the Middletown boys' basketball team that means their valiant effort against Lancaster Catholic in the District 3-4A championship game will go down as just that, a valiant effort.

Despite leading for the first 30:33 of the game, the Blue Raiders ultimately fell in overtime 86-78. The come-from-behind victory gives the Crusaders their third District 3 title and forces Middletown to settle for second. Even with a heartbreaking end to an otherwise great game head coach Chris Sattele remained upbeat. "I'm so proud of our kids, so proud of our community. The support was unbelievable it was great, fantastic," shared Sattele.

Sattele has plenty of reasons to be proud of his squad. The Blue Raiders were making their first appearance in a District 3 title game since their 1993 loss to Kennard-Dale with a predominately junior laden squad that led for roughly 95% of regulation. Meanwhile, Lancaster Catholic carried eight seniors on their roster, including all five of their starters and were making their third appearance in the title game since 2010.

Despite the difference in experience, the Blue Raiders won the opening tip and jumped out to an early lead on a Tre Leach jumper just 20-seconds into the contest. Middletown maintained their two or three bucket lead throughout the opening half, answering every Crusader spurt with a counter that resulted in a 21-17 lead at the break.

Both sides heated up after the break, scoring more points in the third quarter than in the first half combined. Middletown was able to maintain control of the contest despite the increased pace and in fact stretched their lead to eight points, 29-21, with just under six-minutes remaining in the frame. Catholic responded by posting a 16-11 edge over the rest of the third to cut the cushion down to three points, 40-37, heading into the final quarter.

The Blue Raiders reestablished their grip on the lead as the fourth got under way, using a 13-9 stretch to push their lead back to seven points, 53-46, with 5:35 left in the game. Catholic responded by slowly chipping away at that seven-point difference and at first Middletown was able to push back. For every Crusader burst that trimmed the lead down to two or three points, the Blue Raiders would answer with a Leach floater or a Chris Plummer one and one. Ultimately the Crusader push was too much. Lancaster Catholic finally took the lead, 61-60, with 1:27 left in regulation only to see Middletown regain enough footing to force overtime.

In overtime Lancaster Catholic's Sean Landis took over, scoring 13 of his game high 26 to propel his Crusaders to the 86-78 victory.

"They really, really played well," said Sattele. "Coach Klazas had them prepared. Their kids did a tremendous job, they never hung their heads so credit to Lancaster Catholic. They were fantastic."

Landis had back-up in the form of a 24-point game from Jon Ware while Luke Mrakovich collected 22 points to lead Middletown. Leach finished his stellar game with 20-points while both Ryan Hughes and Plummer tallied 17. Kyle Truesdale tacked on the final two Middletown points.

Middletown earned that title game appearance a few days earlier with a wild 44-43, win at the buzzer over top seeded Berks Catholic. Hughes, who finished with a game high 16 points hit a fade away jumper as the horn sounded to give the Blue Raiders a crazy one point win. Leach and Mrakovich helped the cause with eight points apiece while Plummer and Tyreer Mills added six points each.

GIRLS' BASKETBALL

While the boys' team locked up a PIAA berth with their February 23rd quarterfinal win over Eastern York, the Lady Raiders had to wait a few days before knowing their state playoff fate. With only three teams advancing out of the District 3-3A bracket the Lady Raiders missed on their first chance to qualify for states, dropping their semifinal tilt with Delone Catholic on the 24th. That sent Middletown to Cumberland Valley High School to face Pequea Valley in a win or go home scenario.

The Lady Raiders were up to the job, posting a 63-33 win to lock up the third and final PIAA berth. Bianca Jasper spearheaded the win, nearly outscoring the Lady Braves on her own with her 27-point effort. Katie Fitzpatrick added 19 points while Makaila Nester made it three double digit scorers with 13-points. Morgan Noon (four points), Jaelynn Keller (three points) and Caroline Gill (two points) accounted for the remaining Middletown points.

WRESTLING

The 2016-2017 wrestling season officially came to a close last weekend. Neither Middletown wrestler participating in the PIAA SE Regional Championship at Wilson High School on March 2nd, 3rd and 4th fared well enough to move on to the PIAA Tournament.

Devin Martin went 1-2 in the 138-pound bracket to bring his season to a close while Ryan Berstler went 0-2 at 113 to end his season. Martin managed to post a 13-6 win over Faith Christian's Max Shultz in their consolation bout but losses to eventual medal winners, Mario Gordon of Notre Dame Green Pond in the first round and to Saucon Valley's Angelo Mahaffey in the consolation bracket ended his season.

Berstler opened his SE Regional time with a loss to the eventual bronze medalist, Richie Markulies of Notre Dame Green Pond. That led to a bye in the first round of the consolation bracket and a second-round match-up with Newport's Dorian Gonzalez. The Newport freshman pinned Berstler at the 4:53 mark, ending the Blue Raiders' season.

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Middletown Hoop Teams Compete in Districts February 27, 2017

"We Remember," is all the shirt needed to say but it had the other important details there too. The date, February 16, 2016, the final score, 45-44 and the opponent, Eastern York...it was a reminder that the Middletown boys' basketball team suffered a season ending loss one year ago, in the opening round of the district playoffs.

"It is important that our kids understand that we were miserable. We were devastated last year," said head coach Chris Sattele. "That is all we talked all spring, all summer, all fall. We were one possession away from going on to the next round."

All that talking fueled the Blue Raiders' 18-4 run through the regular season that earned Middletown the four seed in the 4A bracket of the revamped District 3 playoff format. And as fate would have it, sitting on the opposite side of Middletown's quarterfinal draw was the same Golden Knights that ended the 2015-2016 season.

The 2017 quarterfinal game took place in Middletown's sparkling new gym with the Blue Raiders giving the home fans the ending they didn't get last year in Wrightsville, a not as a close as it seems 73-63 win. A 10-point final margin is none too shabby but the Blue Raiders entered the fourth quarter sporting a 20-point cushion thanks to their work in the second and third quarters. It was there where Middletown held Eastern York to a combined 16 points, turning a one point game into a 20-point affair.

"If we can get two single digit quarters, we feel pretty comfortable that we can get a win and tonight that proved to be true," said Sattele of those back-to-back eight point defensive efforts. While the Blue Raiders were clicking on defense their offense was doing the same. Ryan Hughes scored 15 of his game high 21 and Luke Mrakovich netted eight of his 18 to help Middletown post a 35-16 edge over the middle two frames. That surge accounted for the majority of the Blue Raiders' 20-point cushion.

The final winning margin ended up at 10 points due to a three-point barrage from Eastern York's Evan Springer and Trevor Seitz. The pair combined to hit five of their eight treys' in the fourth which pushed Eastern through a 33-23 run over the final eight minutes. Springer accounted for three of those five on his way to 14 points while Seitz's two triples put him at 14 points as well. Middletown's Chris Plummer countered by drilling two of his four three-pointers in the fourth to help him finish with 14 points.

Tyreer Mills tallied 11 points to give the Blue Raiders four players in double figures. Michael Mattes (four points), Tre Leach (three points) and Kyle Truesdale (two points) accounted for the remaining Middletown points. Stephan Wisler fueled Eastern's first quarter charge, scoring eight of his 12 in the frame, helping the Golden Knights to keep things close.

GIRLS' BASKETBALL

The boy's team isn't the only Middletown hoops squad that is postseason dancing. The Lady Raiders are playing as well after earning the three seed in the 3A bracket of the District 3 playoffs. That allowed Middletown to host their quarterfinal game against Tulpehocken on February 21st.

Bianca Jasper and Katie Fitzpatrick combined for 39 of Middletown's 48 points in the 48-30 victory over the Lady Trojans. Middletown controlled throughout, posting a two-point edge in the first quarter and a six-point edge in the second quarter. It was the third fame where the Lady Raiders did their damage. Fitzpatrick picked up 10 of her 19 to propel Middletown on a 19-3 run that turned an eight-point game into a 24-point cakewalk.

The Lady Raiders backed off in the final quarter, allowing Tulpehocken a 13-7 advantage for an 18-point final margin. Jasper picked up the final five of her game high 20 in the fourth with Jaelynn Keller picking up the remaining two points on her only score of the game. Makaila Nester (five points) and Jocilyn Koser (two-points) completed the Middletown offense.

The quarterfinal victory put Middletown opposite Delone Catholic in a #2 versus #3 semifinal showdown. The showdown ended up lasting just one quarter as Middletown fell to the Squirettes by a 66-41 final.

The Lady Raiders used a strong first quarter from Jasper to hang with Delone through eight minutes. The senior guard scored seven of her team high 18 in the frame, helping Middletown to 16 points. The Squirettes matched that total in both the first and second quarters but Middletown dropped off to only seven second quarter points. That turned a tie game into a 32-23 Delone Catholic lead at intermission.

Then Delone ripped off a 24-5 run in the third that put the game away. Middletown posted a 13-10 edge in the fourth that trimmed the final margin to 25-points. Brandi Zumbrum led all scorers with 31 points while teammate Maddie Clabaugh matched Jasper's 18. Koser (eight points), Nester (seven points), Fitzpatrick (five points) and Keller (three points) rounded out the Middletown scoring.

WRESTLING

Middletown's six district wrestlers made the trip to Hershey on February 24th and 25th for the 2A championships. Two of those six did well enough at the Giant Center to extend their season to this weekend's PIAA 2A Southeast Regional.

Devin Martin fell just short of district gold, ending up with silver, after a 3-1 loss to Northern Lebanon's Zach Kelly in the 138-pound championship match. That was Martin's only loss with wins over Aaron Shriner (Fairfield), Trevor Gimbor (Brandywine) and Gus LaTorre (Camp Hill) setting up the championship bout with Kelly.

Ryan Berstler will join Martin at Wilson High School thanks to his fifth-place finish at 113. Berstler opened by pinning Brandywine's Zane Deeter but saw his title hopes end in the quarterfinals with a 17-7 loss to eventual gold medalist, Chase Shields of Bishop McDevitt. The sophomore kicked off his work in the consolation bracket with a 9-2 win over James Buchanan's Derek Pine and followed with a 6-0 win over Brandon Breidegan of Northern Lebanon. That set up a consolation semifinal match up with Newport's Dorian Gonzalez. Berstler fell to the eventual bronze medalist by 2-1 count before rebounding with a 2-0 win over Anthony Gust of Wyomissing to earn fifth place.

The four remaining Blue Raider wresters were unable to produce a win in their eight combined attempts but all eight losses were to eventual medal winners. Luke Fegley dropped his 106-pound matches to Newport's Devan Blose (second place) and Blake Showers of Biglerville (eighth place). Nathan Brady's losses at 126 were to Jordan Frey of Newport (sixth place) and Jethro Solomon of Schuylkill Valley (fifth place). Jacob Spear fell to the eventual fourth place finisher, Michael Capozzoli of Newport and the eventual sixth place finisher, Lucas Gladfelter of Bermudian Springs in his two 145-pound matches. Tariq Potter saw his season end with losses to Braden Kessler of Hamburg (fourth place) and Tanner Harkins of Kennard-Dale (seventh place).

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Potter Earns District 3-2A Gold February 20, 2017

Middletown's 'Road to Hershey' started with a detour to Harrisburg for the District 3-2A Sectional round at Central Dauphin East High School. Twelve Blue Raiders made the trip to kick off the postseason, six will continue this weekend in Hershey for the District 3-2A Championships.

Of the six Blue Raiders advancing, only one will do so as a sectional champ. Tariq Potter's 3-0 march through the 285-pound bracket earned the junior a gold medal. Potter's parade included wins over Damon James of Boiling Springs, Jacob Hank of Lancaster Catholic and Northern Lebanon's Kyle Sonnen.

The Blue Raiders had twice as many silver medalists, starting with Ryan Berstler at 113. An opening round bye left Berstler just one win from the championship bout. He took advantage with a 6-0 decision over Northern Lebanon's Brandon Breidegan in the semifinals. Susquehanna Township's Tyger Evans proved to be too much in the championship match, leaving Berstler to settle for silver.

Devin Martin was Middletown's second silver medalist of the day, picking up his hardware at 138. Martin's run to the finals included wins over Lancaster Catholic's Alex Joseph and Boiling Springs' Jack Caulston. Northern Lebanon's Zach Kelly got the better of Martin in the finals, sending the junior home with the silver.

Two of Middletown's three bronze medalists posted the same 2-1 mark as Martin but semifinal losses removed the chance at gold, leaving bronze as the best possible finish. After a quarterfinal bye, Nathan Brady's first action on the mat was a 3-1 loss to Annville-Cleona's Hayden Funck in the semifinals. He followed with wins over Lancaster Catholic's Carlos Nazario and Northern Lebanon's Chase Bressler to seal his top three finish.

Both of Joseph Spear's victories came over Northern Lebanon's Ethan Walmer, the first in the championship quarterfinals and the second in the consolation finals. In between Spear lost to eventual champion, Cameron Palmer of Boiling Springs and enjoyed a bye in the consolation semifinals which set up the second victory over Walmer.

Luke Fegley picked up the final bronze medal and the ticket to Hershey that comes with the top three finish. Fegley opened his 106-pound quest with a pinfall win over Lancaster Catholic's Sam Lobeck in the quarterfinals. A semifinal loss to eventual champion, Kyler Anspach of Northern Lebanon, put Fegley in the consolation bracket. Back-to-back wins over Annville-Cleona's Matt Inman and Boiling Springs Mason Herrera earned Fegley the bronze medal.

Four other Blue Raiders fell just short of a top three finish needed to keep their season alive. All four lost in the consolation finals to finish fourth on the day and just outside the money. Abel Botterbusch was the first of three Blue Raiders to go 1-2 on their way to a fourth-place finish. Both of Botterbusch's losses were to Columbia's Marcus Falcon. The first, in the 152-pound championship quarterfinals, ended his title hopes while the second, in the consolation finals, ended his season. The victory came in the consolation semifinals over Boiling Springs' Kaiden Karper.

Quincy Reinnagel's fourth place finish came at 182 and followed the same pattern as Botterbusch. Two losses to the same wrestler wrapped around one victory. Reinnagel's losses were to Boiling Springs Colby Tennyson while his win came over Annville-Cleona's Sam Mintz.

Ethan Miller broke the pattern at 195 but he still went 1-2 and finished fourth. Miller opened with a pinfall win over Susquehanna Township's Kenneth Norfleet but fell from the championship bracket with a semifinal loss to Austin Taylor of Boiling Springs. A consolation semifinal bye setup a rematch with Township's Norfleet which went to the Indian junior, leaving Miller to settle for fourth.

Wyatt Smith was the final Blue Raider to capture a fourth-place finish in the sectional round. Smith opened with an impressive pinfall win over Annville-Cleona's Caleb Turner but saw his title hopes dashed by the eventual gold medal winner, Luis Negreiros of Northern Lebanon, in the semifinals. Another impressive pinfall win in the consolation semifinal, this one over Columbia's Mena Metias, put Smith in the consolation finals opposite Boiling Springs's Nick Kostyak. The Bubbler posted a 9-3 win over Smith to earn the 160-pound bronze and leave Smith with a fourth-place finish.

Middletown's final two wrestlers, Marcus Williams and Mason Stoltzfus, both finished 0-2 on the day with losses to the third and fourth place finishers in their respective weight classes. Williams fell to Susquehanna Township's Tarajae Thomas and Annville-Cleona's Brayden Turner in the 170-pound bracket while Mason Stoltzfus also fell to an Indian and a Dutchman, only in the 132-pound bracket. Stoltzfus dropped his quarterfinal bout with Township's Farhan Musrial and his consolation semifinal match with A-C's Zach Renninger.

The Blue Raiders enjoyed one final tune-up before their Sectional round action, a dual match tournament at Twin Valley High School. Wins over Octorara and Twin Valley countered a loss to Donegal.

Against the Indians of Donegal, Middletown won half of the 14 matches but two of those seven wins were standard issue decisions to just one for Donegal leading to a 39-34 loss. Add in the missing two team points from Logan Stoltzfus' major decision win over Davon Brantley at 120 and you have the five-point team deficit. Fegley and Smith accounted for the two decisions with Fegley topping Jesse Thomas at 106 while Smith topped Ian Rineer at 160. Martin enjoyed an easy forfeit win at 138 while Berstler (113), Brady (126) and Spear (145) all posted pinfall wins.

Against Octorara the Blue Raiders posted just six wins but all six produced bonus points which propelled Middletown to a 34-31 victory. Logan Stoltzfus at 120 and Mason Stoltzfus at 132 picked up easy six point forfeits while Fegley at 106, Martin at 138 and Miller at 195 earned six points on the mat with pinfall wins. Brady earned Middletown's only non-six-point win, topping Dylan Garver by an 18-6 final for a major decision at 126.

In Middletown's head to head with host Twin Valley the Blue Raiders finished knotted 31-31 when the wrestling was complete. Middletown earned the decisive point based on criteria D, numbers of wins which favored the Blue Raiders seven to six. Fegley earned the first of those six wins, pinning Tony Madonna at 106. After a Twin Valley win at 113 Middletown ripped off five straight victories starting with Logan Stoltzfus at 120. Brady followed with a tech fall win at 126 while Mason Stoltzfus posted an 11-3 major decision win over Jack Hickman at 132. Martin and Finn Finsley racked up a combined 31 points in their 138-pound tilt that Martin won 18-13. Spear closed out the dominating stretch with a 14-3 win over Joe Boeckel at 145.

Botterbusch needed just 25 seconds to earn Middletown's final victory, a pinfall at 160 that proved to be the decisive win despite the Raiders winning the final four weight classes.

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Middletown Hoop Teams Win Season Finales February 13, 2017

The final week of the high school hoops season was both short and kind to the Middletown squads. Both the boys and the girl's teams scored decisive victories over Boiling Springs to cap their respective regular seasons.

The Lady Raiders used a 59-30 victory over the Lady Bubblers to finish out the regular season on a four-game winning streak. That run pushed Middletown to 10-12 overall and 5-7 in the Mid-Penn Capital Division. It also secured the Lady Raiders a three seed in the upcoming District 3-3A tournament. Middletown's championship quest will begin February 21st when Tulpehocken comes to town for a quarterfinal tilt.

Middletown used a dominate first half to run away from Boiling Springs. Katie Fitzpatrick, Jocilyn Koser and Bianca Jasper combined to account for all of Middletown's points in a 17-8 opening frame. Fitzpatrick's hot hand continued in the second quarter where she netted 10 of her game high 21 to help Middletown post a 16-0 edge, leading to a 33-8 half time cushion.

The Lady Raiders continued their surge in the third behind Makaila Nester. She drilled three from long range to account for half of Middletown's 18 points in the quarter. The 18-13 third quarter advantage pushed the lead to 30 points heading into the final frame.

With the outcome in hand Middletown eased off in the fourth leading to a 9-8 Boiling Spring edge and a 29-point final margin. Jasper followed her five-point opening quarter spurt with a two point per quarter output, leading to an 11-point game. Koser matched Fitzpatrick's six-point opening quarter but managed only another two the rest of the way, finishing with eight for the game.

BOYS' BASKETBALL

"They are 2-19 when we played them, and Pat Dieter has been coaching there for a really long time," said head coach Chris Sattele, "so it's hard to play a game like that because you don't want to embarrass anyone."

The first quarter was a 24-6 run that sent the Blue Raiders on their way to a 59-43 victory. Middletown tacked on another nine points to their cushion through the second quarter before backing off in the second half.

The second half relaxing resulted in a 29-18 Boiling Springs edge that reduced the final margin to 16 points. Chris Plummer scored 13 of his game high 17 in the opening half while Ryan Hughes collected six of his 10 points during the first 16 minutes.

The victory puts Middletown at 18-4 overall, good enough for a four seed in the District 3-4A tournament. That means the Blue Raiders will earn a quarterfinal rematch with an Eastern York squad that ended Middletown's 2015-2016 season.

"Eastern York, obviously, it's a huge rematch for us," commented Sattele. "Last year we lost 45-44 and it's something we have talked about since it happened. Every time we worked out this summer, every time we played a game, every time we were in summer league, we talked about what we needed to do to get past that because it was such a tough loss."

The rematch goes down February 23rd in Middletown.

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Three Games in Four Days For Middletown February 6, 2017

Oh, what a week for the Middletown boys' basketball team. Not only was it three games in four days busy, it was crazy important in terms of division hierarchy. The reason being that two of those three games were against the teams Middletown was battling at the top of the Mid-Penn Capital Division, Trinity and Milton Hershey.

Even worse for the Blue Raiders, those two high intensity games fell on back-to-back nights. "Trinity and Milton Hershey, having to play those two back-to-back was tough," said head coach Chris Sattele.

The second half of the back-to-back was a 90-68 nightmare of a loss to Milton Hershey.

"We played well for the first half and then in the second half kind of just lost our legs," said Sattel. "I think that is a combination of having a tough game the night before and having a big letdown. So, it actually worked to Milton Hershey's benefit to get that day after we played Trinity."

Sattele's assessment is backed up by the results, Middletown led 21-19 after the opening frame and trailed by just five points, 43-38, at intermission. From there the Spartans pulled away, tacking five points on to their cushion through the third quarter with another 12 coming in the fourth.

Chris Sampson led that Milton Hershey push with a game high 27 points. Middletown countered with five players in double figures. That single bucket not scored by those in the double-digit club was from Michael Mattes in the third quarter. Luke Mrakovich collected a team high 16 points while both Chris Plummer and Tre Leach finished with 14 points. Ryan Hughes added 12 points and Tyreer Mills hit for 10.

Middletown hosted the Shamrocks on January 31st and the result was the Blue Raiders first loss in their new gymnasium, 55-50.

"A five-point game against Trinity on Tuesday night. Really we had our chances and some opportunities to win but the ball didn't bounce our way," said Sattele.

The Blue Raiders posted decent advantages in the second and fourth quarters, outscoring Trinity by 13. That was not enough to overcome the Shamrocks 18-point edge in the first and fourth quarters.

Hughes went bonkers, scoring 16 of his team's 20 fourth quarter points on his way to a game high 33 points. Plummer was the only other Blue Raider in double figures, finishing with 10 on the button. Leach (three points), Mills (two points) and Kyle Truesdale (two points) accounted for the rest of the offense.

Middletown was able to stop the slide at two games with a 66-46 win over West Perry on Friday. The Blue Raiders came out sluggish leading to a 19-13 deficit after one quarter and a 26-21 hole at the break.

The second half was a different story with Plummer dropping in 20 of his game high 24 to help Middletown pull away. The Blue Raiders did their heavy lifting in the third quarter where Plummer's 12 points fueled a 27-10 run that flipped a five-point deficit into a 12-point lead. An 18-10 run through the fourth pushed the final margin to 20 points.

"Obviously getting back on track with West Perry was great. We were down at halftime and our kids really responded well," said Sattele, "After you lose two games in a row it really can test your mettle. They came out in the second half and really responded and we were able to pull away and beat them by 20."

Hughes was the only other Blue Raider to hit double digits, finishing with 16 points. Mrakovich chipped in with nine points.

With one final game remaining to their 2016-2017 regular season, the Blue Raiders sport a 17-4 overall record and a 9-3 mark in the Capital Division.

GIRLS' BASKETBALL

The Lady Raiders saw the same three games in four days stretch staring at them as the week began. When it was finished, Middletown was 3-0 thanks to a nine-point win over Trinity, a four-point victory over Milton Hershey and a three-point come from behind thriller against West Perry.

"I was hoping it would go that way," said head coach Ron Stetler. "I felt like we could beat all three teams, seeing that we lost to all three the first time. But situations in all three games that first time around led me to feel good about playing them the second time."

The Lady Raiders kicked off the week on Tuesday with a 65-56 win over Trinity. Bianca Jasper drilled three from long range and shot a fantastic 15 of 16 from the line on her way to a game high 32 points. Eighteen points from Kate Fitzpatrick, eight from Makaila Nester, six from Jocilyn Koser and one point from Morgan Noon allowed Middletown to control three of the four quarters on their way to the nine-point victory.

The Lady Raiders were back at it one night later, taking on Milton Hershey. Once again Middletown controlled three of the four quarters to collect a 50-46 win. Fitzpatrick enjoyed another 18-point effort, this time taking team high honors. Game high honors went to Milton Hershey's Atiya McDonald who finished with 28 points. Nester added 16 points, Jasper nine, Koser four and Jaelynn Keller three to finish up the Lady Raider offense.

Middletown closed out the week on Friday with a narrow 36-33 win over West Perry. The Lady Mustangs dictated the pace through three quarters, taking a seven-point, 25-18, lead into the final eight minutes of action. They were able to post an 18-8 spurt in the fourth to send West Perry home with loss. Jasper paced the offense with 19 points. Fitzpatrick (seven points), Koser (five points), Nester (three points) and Keller (two points) cleaned up the remaining offensive production while Gracie Stauffer netted 14 to lead West Perry in the loss.

"Our girls really played hard. They worked real hard defensively," said Stetler of his squad's 3-0 week. "I think that was the difference this week compared to the first time we played the teams. Our defense was much more effective."

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Jasper Nets 17 Points in Loss to Middletown January 29, 2017

Three up, three down is not a phrase typically heard on the hardwood but it would be an adept phrase for how the past week went down for the Middletown girls' basketball team. The Lady Raiders had three games on the docket and dropped all three, putting them at 6-12 overall and 2-7 in Mid-Penn Capital Division play.

"I thought we could get, if not one, possibly two," said head coach Rob Stetler. "We beat East Pennsboro before. I thought we could beat them again, unfortunately the ball didn't go down in the fourth quarter."

The fourth quarter he referenced was a 21-6 run by East Pennsboro that flipped a six point Middletown lead into a nine point, 50-41, Lady Panther victory on Monday. Five Lady Raiders accounted for all of Middletown's points, led by Bianca Jasper's 17. Makaila Nester added 11 points while Jocilyn Koser (eight points), Katie Fitzpatrick (four points) and Jaelynn Keller (one point) finished things off.

January 25th had the Lady Raiders making what was originally scheduled to be a January 10th trip to West Perry.

"That trip to West Perry is always a tough one," stated Stetler of the roadie that resulted in a 48-38 loss. The 10-point loss can be traced directly to another troubled fourth quarter. This one resulted in a one point Middletown lead turning into that 10-point loss.

Jasper paced the offense with a 16-point effort. Only five other Lady Raiders cracked the score book, led by Koser's seven points and Nester's six points. Fitzpatrick added four points, Morgan Noon three points and Keller the final two points.

A different type of trouble got to Middletown in Friday's 56-49 loss to Camp Hill.

"A slow start," said Stetler. "We played really good in the second half but we just couldn't get back. That was hard to overcome. I think we got to within four with three minutes to go and then things didn't go the right way for us. The kids played hard though, they always do. Just sometimes you get yourself in a hole and it's tough."

The hole Stetler mention was a 32-17 deficit at the break. Middletown dominated the third quarter, reducing that 15-point halftime deficit to just four points heading into the final stanza. From there Camp Hill's Diamond Bragg ended any thoughts of a Middletown comeback by scoring 13 of the team's 16 fourth quarter points on the way to a game high 24. Fitzpatrick led Middletown with 18 points while Jasper added 14 points. Nester just missed the double-digit club with nine points. Keller's four points combined with two points apiece from Koser and Noon completed the scoring for the Lady Raiders.

WRESTLING

The Middletown wrestling team finished their regular season last Thursday with a 33-29 loss to Milton Hershey. The loss was all the more agonizing because the Blue Raiders opened by winning six of the first seven weight classes, only to drop the final seven and the match.

The match opened at 285 which was the only Spartan win over the first seven weight classes. Luke Fegley picked up the first of the six straight wins by pinning Kevin Minners at the 1:07 mark of their 106-pound match. Ryan Berstler followed with a pinfall win of his own but he needed 2:43 to take care of Joshua Minners. Chris Joseph missed out on making it three straight pins but his 20-5 tech fall victory still provided valuable bonus points. Logan Stoltzfus earned the third and final pinfall victory, ending his 126-pound match with Tim Burge at the 1:16 mark. Nathan Brady and Devin Martin capped the Blue Raider run with standard victories. Brady scored an 8-2 count over Brian Cover and Martin a 12-5 final over Adrian Rosario, putting the team score at 29-3 in favor of Middletown.

Milton Hershey closed out the match with four straight decisions followed by three straight pinfalls, the final one giving the win to the Spartans.

BOYS' BASKETBALL

The good times continue for the boys' basketball team with the winning streak extended to 10 games thanks to wins over East Pennsboro, ELCO, Camp Hill and Tulpehocken last week.

"Our 10th win in a row, it's a big one for us but really, we are looking at each game individually as sort of a playoff game," said head coach Chris Sattele of keeping his team focused. "We're taking it one game at a time and not worrying about the past."

Whatever the method, the results speak for themselves...that 10-game winning streak coupled with the six-game run to open the season has the Blue Raiders at 16-2 overall and 8-1 in the Mid-Penn Capital Division.

Middletown used a dominant first quarter to seize control against the Trojans. The resulting 32-7 lead rendered the rest of the game just a formality in the 81-50 victory. After playing even over the middle two quarters the Blue Raiders created the final six points of separation during the fourth quarter. Fourteen of Middletown's 15 players scored, led by Luke Mrakovich and his game high 20 points. Braedon Thomas and Kobe Sprecher helped the cause with 11 points each.

The week might have ended with the winning streak at 10 games but it could not have gotten to that point without the three wins earlier in the week. Monday's 74-60 win over East Pennsboro served as the Blue Raiders closest contest of the week. The game swung during the second quarter where Ryan Hughes scored 15 of his team high 19 points turning a one point Panther lead into an 11 point Middletown edge at intermission. The Blue Raiders salted the game away with an eight-point edge in the third quarter, leaving enough room to absorb East Penn's fourth quarter advantage. Chris Plummer (18 points) and Tyreer Mills (12 points) joined Hughes in double digits.

Win number eight came on Wednesday, an 81-61 shellacking of ELCO. Middletown appeared to have control of the game after a 21-13 run through the opening frame but the Raiders from Myerstown responded with a big run of their own. ELCO controlled the second quarter to the tune of 26-18, sending the teams into the break knotted at 39-39. Mrakovich led the second half charge, scoring 14 of his team high 20 points to help Middletown pull away. Hughes added 18 in the win while Tre Leach (16 points) and Plummer (13 points) gave Middletown four double digit scorers.

Friday, January 27th sent the Blue Raiders to Camp Hill where they posted another 20-point shellacking. This time Middletown took control early and did not let up until the outcome was decided. The Blue Raiders opened a seven-point margin after the opening frame, stretched it to 15 points at halftime and to 25 points heading into the final quarter. Camp Hill managed a slim five-point edge in the fourth to trim the final margin down to 20 points.

Plummer gave the Blue Raiders their third different high scorer of the week, dropping 22 points thanks in large part to his four '3-balls'. Hughes picked up six points from the charity stripe on his way to a 20-point effort. Leach chipped in 18 points and Mrakovich 11 points give Middletown another quarter of double digit scorers.

First place in the Capital Division will be sorted out by week's end as the three teams that sport one loss play each other. Middletown's 10 game streak will be tested as Sattele pointed out,

"This week is a big week," Sattele pointed out. "The Trinity game (on Tuesday) is what our kids have been focusing on, that was our last loss back on January 6th so they are really fired up to have an opportunity to beat these kids."

The Blue Raiders travel to Milton Hershey one night later while the Shamrocks and Spartans tangle on Friday the 3rd.

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Blue Raiders Post Three Win Week, Now 12-2 January 23, 2017

"Unbelievable week of basketball for our kids," said Middletown boys' basketball head coach Chris Sattele of his squad's 3-0 week. Those three wins have the 12-2 Blue Raiders sitting second in the most recent District 3-4A rankings, behind only Lancaster Catholic. Second place in the Mid-Penn Capital Division also belongs to the Blue Raiders courtesy of wins over Milton Hershey and Steel-High.

Middletown kicked off the three-game week with a 74-60 win over Milton Hershey on Tuesday that put the Blue Raiders into second place tie with the Spartans in the Capital Division. Luke Mrakovich connected on six 'three' balls on his way to a game high 22 points. Ryan Hughes scored seven of his 17 points during the second quarter to help turn a three-point deficit into an eight-point lead. Chris Plummer, 12 points, and Tre Leach, 11 points, rounded out Middletown's double digit scorers.

The Blue Raiders ventured out of the Mid-Penn for the week's second contest, a 71-54 victory over Northern Lebanon. Hughes scored 10 of his game high 19 in the opening half, helping Middletown take a nine-point lead into the break. Thanks to five third quarter points from Hughes and Mrakovich, combined with four from Chris Plummer, the Blue Raiders were able to increase their lead to 19 points heading into the final frame. Middletown eased up in the fourth with Plummer finishing with 17 points and Mrakovich 15 points.

Middletown closed out the week on Friday with a boys-girls double header at Steel-High. The Blue Raiders used strong second and third quarters to post their first victory over the Rollers in Steelton since 1969. Hughes used a team high 24 points to push his career total over the 1,000-point plateau in the win. Tyreer Mills added 17 points while Leach netted 11 points to complete the trio of double digit scorers. Mrakovich chipped in five points while Plummer and Michael Mattes helped out with two points apiece.

The girls side of that double header also went to Middletown with the Lady Raiders posting a 66-56 victory. After taking control in the opening frame with a 14-11 advantage, the Lady Raiders entered intermission trailing by one thanks to a 19-15 Lady Roller run through the second quarter.

The break allowed Middletown to settle down in the second half leading to an 11-point edge and the 10-point win. Bianca Jasper tied Steel-High's Xaria Isom for game high honors with 24 points. Makaila Nester cracked the 20-point barrier, finishing with 21 points while Katie Fitzpatrick chipped in with 18 points. Jaelynn Keller (two points) and Morgan Noon (one point) finished out the scoring for Middletown.

The week was not all great for the Lady Raiders however as a 41-25 loss to Milton Hershey on January 17th puts Middletown's overall record at 6-9, and their Capital Division mark at 2-4. The Lady Spartans used a 10-2 run through the second quarter to open a 10-point lead at halftime.

Middletown started what they hoped would be a second half comeback with a four-point edge in the third only to see Milton Hershey squash those hopes. The Lady Spartans posted a 14-4 edge in the final frame to finish off the 16-point victory. Fitzpatrick was the lone Lady Raider in double figures, netting 10 points. Jasper added seven points while Nester, Keller, Nakia Scott and Caroline Gill all finished with two points.

WRESTLING

The Blue Raider wrestling team kept a firm grasp on second place in the Mid-Penn Capital with a 42-31 win over Camp Hill last Wednesday. The teams traded forfeits with each side picking up two, Nate Taylor (195) and Brandon Tomeo (285) for Camp Hill and Luke Fegley (106) and Mason Stoltzfus (120) for Middletown. Of the remaining 10 matches the Blue Raiders claimed six of them starting with three straight to open the match.

Logan Stoltzfus posted a 10-1 major decision over Parker Rice at 132 to kick things off. Nathan Brady followed with a 6-4 win over Gus Latorre at 138 while Devin Martin pinned Brody Bezanilla at 145 to give Middletown a 13-0 lead.

The Lions ripped off wins in six of the next seven matches, including both Middletown forfeits, to enjoy a 31-19 lead with four weight classes remaining. Abel Botterbusch picked up the lone Blue Raider win in that stretch, pinning Jonathon Shuster at the 3:08 mark of their 160-pound match.

Fegley's forfeit win at 106 was the first of four straight bonus point wins that allowed Middletown to flip that 31-19 deficit into the 42-31 victory. Ryan Berstler followed Fegley's easy win with a 22-7 tech fall thumping of Peter Eshelman at 113. Stoltzfus' forfeit win at 120 made way for Chris Joseph and his match ending pin of Ryan Foerster at 126.

The Blue Raiders spent Friday, January 20th and Saturday, January 21st in New Oxford participating in the New Oxford Invitational. Middletown enjoyed six medal winning performances, led by Logan Stoltzfus and his silver medal efforts at 126. Stoltzfus' only loss came in the championship bout, a 7-2 defeat to Marple Newtown's Zakaria Elfernano. He earned that title shot with wins over Troy's Bailey Cohick, Washington's Laken Bozer and Southern Columbia's Jake Renn.

Joseph brought home the team's lone fifth place finish, starting his weekend with wins over AJ Knoboch (Delone Catholic) and Brandywine's Klint Harpel. A loss to eventual 120-pound champion, Zurich Storm of New Oxford, bounced Joseph from the championship bracket. It also rattled Joseph leading to a second straight loss and a trip the 5th/6th place match opposite Line Mountain's Cole Hauck. Hauck ended up forfeiting that match, giving Joseph the easy 5th place medal.

Brady picked up the first of back-to-back 7th place medals for Middletown, taking home the honor in the 132-pound bracket. Brady's title hopes ended with a quarterfinal loss to Susquehannock's Colby Romjue but wins in two of his final three matches secured seventh place. Those wins were over Central Dauphin East's Devin Vadja and Gettysburg's Garrett Young.

Martin took the same win-loss-win-loss-win road to a seventh-place finish in the 138-pound bracket. Martin followed a win over Juniata's Tyler Feltman with a loss to Northern York's Paul Feite, ending his title hopes. Wins over Southern Columbia's Shane Miller and Greencastle-Antrim's Thomas Richmond in the consolation bracket secured Martin's 7th place finish.

Middletown paired the two 7th place medals with two 8th place medals with Fegley taking home the first at 106. Fegley stumbled out of the gate, dropping his round of 16 match with Scranton's Mark Leggin to quickly end his title shot. Back-to-back wins over Waynesboro's Donavan Warren and Susquehanna Township's Kody Evans had Fegley feeling good but a loss to New Oxford's Timothy Uhler put Fegley in the 7th/8th place match. Fegley dropped his third bout of the weekend to leave New Oxford with an 8th place finish.

Berstler picked up the final 8th place finish by going 2-3 in the 113 bracket. An opening win over Scranton's Bobby Zelinski was canceled out by a quarterfinal loss to Susquehanna Township's Tyger Evans. Berstler started his consolation bracket work with a win over Northern York's Pierce Feite but back-to-back losses to Biglerville's Josh Tuckey and Harry S Truman's Ernie Registre forced Berstler to settle for eighth place.

Botterbusch (152), Joseph Spear (145), Quincy Reinnagel (195), Wyatt Smith (160) and Zach Souders (170) all participated in the New Oxford Invitational but fell short of the medal stand.

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Blue Raider Matmen Dominate Cougars January 16, 2017

Despite nearly a month remaining in the 2016-2017 season, the Middletown wrestling team hosted their final dual match of the season on January 11th. The 57-12 victory featured 11 Blue Raider wins, including eight straight to open the match.

"I think knowing it was senior night and a conference meet, that the guys wanted to get a quick jump on our opponent," said head coach Dan Riggs. "We expect every one of our guys that steps on the mat that they will give us their best effort for the entire 6 minutes, and they came through."

Nate Brady (132), Devin Martin (138) and Joseph Spear (145) opened the win over the Cougars with back-to-back-to-back pinfalls wins, giving Middletown an 18-0 lead. Zach Dailey's 8-6-win over Frank Errichetti at 152 was the lone victory during the eight match stretch that did not provide bonus points for Middletown. Abel Botterbusch and Wyatt Smith followed Dailey's decision with two more pinfalls while Zach Souders earned an easy forfeit at 182 for a 39-0 Blue Raider lead. Quincy Reinnagel closed out the opening run by posting a major decision win over Sean Cleveland at 195.

Palmyra claimed the next two weight classes, breaking up the Middletown shutout bid but their momentum was short lived as the Blue Raiders claimed three of the final four bouts. Luke Fegley started the run with a tech fall win over Grant Whitney at 106. Ryan Berstler followed with a pinfall win at 113 while Mason Stoltzfus posted a 4-1 win over Nick Carroll to close it out. Palmyra's victory at 126 set the final at 57-12.

Middletown kept their season going on the 14th with a trip to Annville to take part in the Dutchman Duals. The Blue Raiders went 3-2 on the day.

"AC Duals is always a good team tournament to see other tough teams from the district both AAA and AA," said Riggs.

Perfect 5-0 days from Martin and Brady helped the Blue Raiders earn wins over Greencastle-Antrim, Columbia and the host Dutchman but were not enough to survive Central Dauphin East and Penn Manor. Botterbusch, Fegley, Berstler and Logan Stoltzfus all suffered just one loss on the day but Fegley, Stoltzfus and Berstler managed four wins to Botterbusch's three. Mason Stoltzfus, Reinnagel and Spear all match the team's 3-2 mark.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

A quick bout of winter weather left the Lady Raider basketball team with just one game last week but what a game it was. Middletown claimed a 49-47 victory thanks to a Makaila Nester's buzzer beater. "That was amazing, how it all worked out in the end," said head coach Ron Stetler. "You hope you get a play like that, for that all to develop and turn out for us it was great. It was back-and-forth, I wasn't sure how we'd play with missing Bianca, but our girls hung in there and pulled it out in the end."

Nester and Kate Fitzpatrick each registered a game high 17 points in the win while Jaelynn Keller (seven points), Jocilyn Koser (six points) and Camryn Russ (two points) rounded out the offensive production for the Lady Raiders.

BOYS BASKETBALL

The weather had no such effects on the boys' team with the Blue Raiders picking up wins in all three of their games last week. The first was a 61-35 shellacking of West Perry on Tuesday. Chris Plummer led a quartet of players in double figures with 14 points. Ryan Hughes checked in right behind with 13 points while Tyreer Mills and Luke Mrakovich added 10 points apiece.

Middletown followed with another lopsided win on Thursday, topping Annville-Cleona by a 61-36 final. The Blue Raiders did the bulk of the damage in the opening half where they outscored the Dutchman 34-13 to account for 21 of the 25-point final margin.

"One of our game goals is to hold teams to two single digit quarters. We tell our guys if we can get those, we can be in any game," stated head coach Chris Sattele. "The last couple of games we have really buckled down and taken away the other team's best players. We have to continue to limit team's best players so that we can find ways to win."

Ryan Hughes led eight Middletown scorers with a game high 19 points while Plummer and Mrakovich added nine points each.

The Blue Raiders closed out their week on Saturday with a game against Mifflin County. The two teams were to meet in Lower Dauphin's tip-off tournament but Middletown's deep run into the football playoffs forced their withdrawal from the Falcons tip-off event.

It was worth the wait for Middletown as they rolled to a 77-45 victory over the Huskies. Hughes topped all scorers with 18 points despite sitting out the fourth quarter. Mrakovich and Plummer joined Hughes on the bench in the fourth but both managed to reach double figures. Mrakovich finished with 14 points and Plummer 11 points to back up Hughes.

"Most of the time if you have 2 guys that can score double digits, you can compete. Recently, we have had 4 or 5 guys able to get in double digits," said Sattele. "If guys can continue to get to the free throw line and make some jumpers, we can continue to grab some wins."

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Lady Raiders Knock Off Donegal, 60-55 January 9, 2017

A season after finishing just one spot outside the District Three playoff field, the Middletown girls' basketball team finds themselves in rebuilding mode.

"I'm not sure I knew what to expect because we only have 10 players, varsity/JV combined so we don't have a JV team," said head coach Ron Stetler. "And out of the 10 players six are freshman, with one senior, two juniors, and one sophomore. So, realistically we have seven players without varsity experience."

The result is a 4-8 overall mark with their 1-3 record in the Mid-Penn Capital Division leaving them at the bottom of the division standings. While the season as a whole is not going as planned, the Lady Raiders did manage one victory last week, knocking off a Donegal squad that came into the January 4th affair riding a five-game winning streak.

"We played well against Donegal, they are a good team," said Stetler of the 60-55 win.

Bianca Jasper, the lone senior on the squad and newly minted member of the 1000-point club, dropped a game high 24 to propel the Lady Raiders to the five-point win. Kate Fitzpatrick also hit the 20-point mark, finishing with 20 points on the nose. Makaila Nester (nine points), Jocilyn Koser (five points) and Jordyn Dupes (two points) finished out the scoring in the three-game slide snapping victory.

Wednesday's win over Donegal might have been the highlight of the week but Middletown kicked things off on Tuesday with a 64-53 loss to Camp Hill. Jasper, Fitzpatrick and Nester all posted double figure point totals but it was not enough to counter the 24 points, 14 rebounds, six assists and two steals from Camp Hill's Diamond Bragg.

"We played well Tuesday night against Camp Hill but I thought they shot really well," said Stetler of the loss.

Jasper finished with a team high 18 points with Fitzpatrick adding 15 points and Nester 10 points.

The Lady Raiders closed out their week on Friday with a 40-36 loss to Trinity. Jasper, after leaving the game in the second quarter with an injury, finished with only four points. That left Fitzpatrick and her 15 points to lead the team. Only three other players cracked the scoring column with Nester and Koser picking up six points apiece. Jaelynn Keller accounted for the final five Middletown points.

BOYS BASKETBALL

It may be a rebuilding season for the Lady Raider hoopsters but not for the boys' squad. Middletown opened the season with six straight victories after a delayed start thanks to the football team's run to the state title game. The sixth and final game in that opening stretch came on January 3rd when the Raiders topped Camp Hill 83-67.

"That was a great win against a very talented Camp Hill team to start the weak," said head coach Chris Sattele. "The kids were prepared and rose to that challenge."

Luke Mrakovich collected a game high 23 points while Ryan Hughes checked in just two points off that pace. Tre Leach scored nine of his 15 points in the third quarter which helped Middletown outscore the Lions 27-16, turning an eight-point game into a 19-point blowout.

The Blue Raiders were on the road one night later, traveling to Spring Grove, and suffering a 79-77 loss. "Being on the road at Spring Grove was tough," said Sattele. "It's a long bus trip, and they have a great individual player in Eli Brooks, and the poor York Adams officiating got us," he added of the two-point loss. The Michigan bound Brooks was the star of the show, tallying a career high 39 points and 20 rebounds. Middletown countered with 27 points from Chris Plummer, 19 points from Mrakovich and 17 points from Hughes but it was not enough to avoid the season's first loss. Leach also managed a double-digit point total, finishing with 10 while Kyle Truesdale and Michael Mattes rounded out the scoring with two points each.

Middletown found themselves on the wrong end of a second straight game with a 66-47 loss to Trinity on Friday. "Trinity is the best team we have played. They do all the little things right, so they don't have to be fancy," offered Sattele. "The guys know their roles, play hard, and are used to winning. It was a good measuring stick to see that we good, but have room for improvement."

The Shamrocks used strong games from Austin Gilbertson and Tim Edwards to take control early and never looked back. The pair combined to score 16 of Trinity's 21 first quarter points which gave the 'Rocks an 11-point cushion after the opening frame. Gilbertson finished with a game high 23 points while Edwards nearly matched him, tallying 19 points. Plummer (13 points) and Hughes (12 points) claimed top honors for Middletown in the loss.

Despite the back-to-back losses, the Blue Raiders are still 6-2 overall, good enough for a spot near the top of the District 3-4A rankings while their 3-1 mark in the Mid-Penn Capital Division has them looking up at only undefeated Trinity and Milton Hershey.

"I knew coming in we could compete with anyone," said Sattele of the fast start. "Thus far, we have. We have some very good non-league games coming up with Lancaster-Lebanon teams (Annville Cleona, Elco, and Northern Lebanon). We need to take care of ourselves, continue with conditioning, and learn to win on the road."

WRESTLING

Success can also be found on the wrestling mat as the Blue Raiders hold a 3-2 overall record and a 3-1 mark in the Mid-Penn Capital Division. "We were returning several starters from last year and brought up a good group of freshman, so I knew we had the potential to be better this year and could compete with each team we would face," said head coach Dan Riggs. "Our team thought we could have performed a little better in a few of our matches, but the 3-2 record makes the team want to work harder and brings a positive and competitive attitude into our wrestling room."

The hard work and positive attitude led to a split of Middletown's two matches last week. The Blue Raiders opened with a 35-25 loss to Lower Dauphin on January 4th during which Middletown dug out from a 24-6 hole to take a 25-24 lead only to drop the final two bouts and the match.

Abel Botterbusch got things headed in the right direction with a pinfall at 160, giving Middletown a 6-0 lead. But the Falcons ripped off six straight wins to take control of the match. Ryan Berstler kicked off the comeback bid with a 10-2 major decision over Sean Donnelly at 113 which led to a 19 second pinfall win by Mason Stoltzfus at 120. Back-to-back decisions at 126 and 132 by Logan Stoltzfus and Nathan Brady inched Middletown to within two team points at 24-22 with only three weight classes remaining. Devin Martin put the Blue Raiders back on top with a third straight decision but the joy was short-lived as LD claimed the final two matches to collect the 35-25 win.

Middletown was back on the mat one night later, hosting Trinity. The end result was a 63-15 victory that was fueled by seven forfeits and three pins for the host Blue Raiders.

"We felt we were in it against LD and had a chance to win, so it stung a little after the defeat," said Riggs. "The win against Trinity put us back into the win column, and getting a win is always good after a tough loss."

Botterbusch and Zach Souders kicked off the match with two of those forfeit wins while Wyatt Smith added a pinfall at 182 for a quick 18-0 lead. Trinity claimed the next three matches, tallying all of their team points thanks to pinfalls at 195 and 220 coupled with a decision at 285. The match quickly moved towards a finish thanks to four straight Shamrock forfeits. That flipped a tight 18-15 contest into a 42-15 Blue Raider cushion. Luke Fegley (106), Berstler (113), Mason Stoltzfus (120) and Logan Stoltzfus (126) were the beneficiaries of those forfeits while Brady tacked on the lone Middletown win via decision for a 45-15 lead. Martin picked up the last of the forfeit wins at 138 while Joe Spear and Zach Dailey closed out the match with the final two pinfall victories.

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