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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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