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Mares Advance to District Semifinals May 25, 2018

Solanco's softball team had plenty of time to prepare for the District Three 5A tournament which got underway last Wednesday afternoon with a home game against Northern York. Their last game, a 5-2 L-L League semifinal win over Warwick, took place May 14. It took the Mares a little bit of time to settle in but once they did they made short work of the visitors, blanking them 10-0 in five innings.

"With the time off, we needed to figure what level of intensity we needed to be at," said head coach Brett Miller.

Northern threatened right from the get go. They opened with a base hit, moved the runner with a sac bunt and then stole third. Freshman catcher Jade Eshleman was heads up on a wild pitch that quickly bounced off the backstop and back toward the plate. She collected the ball and put the tag on the runner stealing home for the second out of the inning. After a second walk by Hanna Phillips, Skyla Townsley snagged a pop out to get out of the inning unscathed.

Solanco went in front for good in the second inning, scoring five runs with two outs. Phillips started the rally with a one out double. Alyssa Henretty worked a two out walk and Phillips scored on Ally McDowell's liner to left. Kara McClune followed with a two RBI blooper to center and Skyla Townsley's grounder to short was misplayed. Liz Mower and Jade Eshleman followed with back-to-back run scoring base hits that pushed the lead to 5-0.

They tacked on three more runs in the third inning on four hits, including McClune's triple, and capped the scoring with a two-run fourth.

"After we scored those five runs we came back and retired them in order, with Hanna getting two strikeouts," recalled Miller. "Then we scored three more runs.

"I thought we responded well for being off for so long and for rearranging the lineup," he added.

The rearranging including Skyla Townsley leaving the outfield and stepping into the shortstop slot.

"She's played short before," noted Miller.

"Our hitting was the big key," he added. "We finished with 11 hits and a couple key hits came with two outs. We've been pretty good with that all year. Hanna has been hitting well and I believe Ally McDowell has a hit in every playoff game."

Phillips finished with five strikeouts against four walks and gave up just three hits.

One night later, in the quarterfinals at Millersville University, the Mares faced the team that handed them their only loss of the season, Garden Spot.

After suffering a 16-7 loss to the Spartans on May 1, the Mares were looking for revenge but they couldn't get the bats going. Instead of a slugfest (Garden Spot pounded out 14 hits in their earlier meeting with Solanco), this one turned into a pitcher's duel. Phillips and Garden Spot's Elizabeth King kept the bats quiet for the most part. Solanco managed just two hits through eight innings, singles by McClune and Sierra Dean, while the No. 9 Spartans collected four, two of them in the first inning.

It wasn't until the bottom of the ninth inning that Solanco finally broke through. Dean collected a one out single and Phillips followed with a base hit to right field. Both moved up on a passed ball. With two outs, Henretty, out of the No. 8 slot, smacked a grounder down the third base line. The ball spun off Emma Stoltzfus' glove, pinch runner Noelle Schneider raced home with the game-winning run and Solanco punched its ticket to the PIAA tournament.

"We hit a lot of fly balls," said Miller. "We needed to put the ball on the ground and make them make plays. I think we only hit two ground balls in the first six innings."

Garden Spot was poised to jump in front early. A one out bunt, a double to the fence and an intentionally walked batter loaded the bags. Phillips buckled down and got two infield popups to get out of the inning unscathed.

She fought back from a 3-0 count to the first batter of the fifth inning and recorded her fourth strikeout of the game. Then, in the seventh, with two runners on and two outs, Phillips worked another key strikeout. In all, the junior fanned 11 batters.

"Hanna showed a lot of maturity," said Miller. "She made the pitches she needed to make."

Garden Spot's King was just as impressive, striking out ten, walking two and giving up four hits.

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Solanco, Donegal Declared Softball Co-Champs May 21, 2018

Solanco had a little bit of extra motivation as they headed into the Lancaster-Lebanon League semifinals last Monday night where they faced Section One runner-up Warwick. After league officials decided not to continue to use the Garrett Park fields in Willow Street, Warwick was the hosting site. Need we say more?

The Mares came in focused and, for the second time this season, came away with a win. The Section Two champs blanked the Warriors 11-0 back on April 26. This time a 5-2 result pushed them into the League finals for the second straight season, opposite Section Three runner-up Donegal, who pulled out a hard-fought 2-1 win over Garden Spot.

"The girls played with a mature confidence," said head coach Brett Miller, "and that's what you need in the playoffs."

Both teams traded runs early. Warwick jumped in front with a two out walk and a RBI double by Danielle Jones in the first inning. Solanco countered when Kara McClune singled and moved up on a wild pitch. Randi Rambo followed with a four ball walk and Liz Mower collected a two strike, run scoring single. The Warriors, however, turned a double play, throwing Rambo out at home and Mower out at third and regained some momentum.

Warwick loaded the bases in the top of the third as Hanna Phillips, uncharacteristically, struggled from the circle, walking three. She did pick up two of her 12 strikeouts, including the final out of the inning with the bags loaded.

"It took Hanna a little bit to settle in," said Miller. "But she came up big when she had to and when we needed her to. She keeps stepping up big."

The Warriors took their second lead of the game in the top of the third inning on Katie Brubaker's two out single. Solanco returned the favor in the bottom half. Rambo blooped a two out shot over first base and scored on Mower's base knock to left.

Both teams came up empty in the fourth and Warwick left two on in the fifth before Solanco took their first lead of the night. McClune (3-4) lined a shot to center field and moved up when Rambo reached on an error at short. After a groundout by Mowrer, McClune raced home on a wild pitch. With two outs, freshman catcher Jade Eshleman responded with a run scoring single that padded the lead, 4-2.

Warwick left one on in the sixth and Solanco extended their lead in the bottom half when McClune doubled in Ally McDowell who crushed a two out triple to the center field fence.

"Our top four hitters combined for nine hits," Miller noted. "That keeps constant pressure on. And those insurance runs are always big," he added of McDowell and McClune collecting those extra base hits in the sixth."

The Mares (19-1) collected 13 hits on the day and Phillips scattered six against five walks.

Unfortunately, the weather, which has caused numerous play date changes this spring, reared its ugly head once again. The League Championship game against Donegal slated for Wednesday was postponed twice and eventually cancelled. And so, for the first time in the history of the tournament, two teams will share the title as Solanco and Donegal were declared co-champs.

"They played all season to put themselves in the position to receive this recognition," said Miller of his team. "I'm proud of them. And while we would certainly rather play the game, the safety of the players is the top priority. Now we start a new season," the coach added of this week's District Three playoffs. "We have to win the first one. There isn't a second if we don't win the first."

The Mares (19-1) enter district play this week as the top seed and take on Northern York. "We have been the top seed before," Miller stated. "But it's been awhile."

TRACK

Four student-athletes represented Solanco at the District Three Track and Field Championships this past weekend at Shippensburg University. Two came home with medals. One qualified for states.

Anna Cooney, seeded second with a career best 43-0.5 toss of the shot put, settled for a bronze medal with a 38-0.5 on Friday afternoon. The senior was fourth in districts last year.

"Anna threw well but still has more in her," said head coach Ivan Haines. "She is determined to do well at states. She wants to follow in her brothers footsteps."

Alana Yoder settled for seventh place in the 800 meter run, beating her seeding time of 2:19.84 with a 2:18.61. She was the second sophomore to place, following E-town's Katie Locker who clocked the winning time of 2:13.52.

"Alana ran well but fell short in the last 100 meters," Haines said. "Her time off when she was injured came at the wrong time in her training."

Also competing was Dylan Sheaffer and Logan Yaletchko, both in the shot put. "Dylan would have needed a PR to place in the top eight," said Haines. "He finished 10th (47-07.25).

"Logan had an off-day," he continued. "He fouled on all of his throws. Inexperience and first year jitters came into play. But Alana and Logan both have next year to look forward to and learned a lot from their experience this past weekend.

"These four athletes gave a lot to the team and accomplished a great deal," he added. "We are proud of them."

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Phillips Sets Record, Mares Advance in Playoffs May 14, 2018

The softball team opened last week with a more than solid 10-1 home win over Conestoga Valley on Monday and ended the week with not only a win over Annville-Cleona but a school record performance by Hanna Phillips Saturday afternoon in the L-L League opener.

"Monday was a big game," said head coach Brett Miller. "It was senior day and we were playing for a district seeding. Plus it was CV. We only beat them 2-1 the first time around. The team came in with a lot of focus and determination," he added. "It was the kind of game we needed before playoffs."

Kara McClune set the tone early in this one, launching a lead-off home run and sparking a seven-run first inning. With two outs, Jade Eshleman singled to left and Sierra Dean followed with a hit just past third base. Skylar Townsley and Phillips added back-to-back run scoring singles that pushed the lead to 3-0. Alyssa Henretty's grounder to short was misplayed, plating the fourth run while Ally McDowell and McClune, in her second at bat that inning, collected doubles with McDowell's plating two runs.

Three innings later, Liz Mowrer tripled and scored on Dean's one-out base hit. Phillips added a run scoring single but the Mares left the bases loaded with a pop out and a groundout.

Phillips gave up her only walk of the game and her second hit in the fifth inning as CV cut the lead to 9-1 on a two out bloop single.

Solanco, however, capped the scoring in the sixth. With two outs Phillips, who finished the game with ten strikeouts, and Henretty walked and McDowell's grounder to short was misplayed, pushing in the final run.

Saturday afternoon the team traveled to Manor Middle School for the opening round of the L-L League playoffs opposite Section Four runner-up Annville-Cleona and setting the stage for Phillips to set a new school record with her 500th career strikeout. Needing nine K's coming in, Phillips fanned A-C's Lexi Long in the fourth inning to reach that magical number. She finished with 12 strikeouts on the day.

"It's a remarkable achievement for the junior," said Miller. "She has worked very hard. And it's not just the strikeouts," he added. "She makes the pitches we need for the defense to field the ball.

"We've had a lot of good pitchers, but it's pretty rare for a freshman to come in and pitch for four years for me."

The Mares jumped ahead with two first inning runs. McClune and Mowrer singled and Dean (2-4, 3 RBI) followed with a two run base hit.

Annville got one back in the third but the Mares plated four more runs over the next three innings.

Phillips had a no-hitter going before Annville's Grace Renninger singled in the sixth. She settled for a two hitter, giving up that one earned run.

"We left double-digits on base, which we haven't been doing," Miller noted. "We were getting one run instead of four.

"Ally McDowell came up big in the fifth inning, reaching with a triple and scoring on a McClune single that gave us a four-run advantage.

"Offensively we did enough of what we needed to do to get the result we wanted," he added. "We took care of business."

BASEBALL

While the baseball team has struggled to string wins together this season, they did wrap up the year with a pair of victories against a 7-3 loss to West York last week, leaving their final record at 8-12 overall, 6-10 in Section Two.

The final three games in a row opened with a 10-5 win over Conestoga Valley on Monday. The Mules pounded out a season-high 15 hits, including four doubles, scored twice in the first inning and never trailed.

"It was a nice win to finish off the regular season," said head coach Tom Fish.

Solanco scored twice in the first inning. Dawson Kreider doubled and scored on John Murray's two out double to center. Trent Myers followed with a run scoring base hit.

Sam Buckwalter cracked a RBI double in the second inning and scored on a fielder's choice groundout by Joel McGuire.

The Bucks closed the lead to 4-3 in the bottom of the second but never got closer.

"They got to Corey Stively a little in that second inning," said Fish, "but he recovered and completed six solid innings for the win."

Solanco pushed the advantage to 8-3 with three in the top of the sixth due in part to RBI singles by May and Buckwalter. Myer's two-run single in the seventh capped the scoring. Kreider, Tim Fetterman, Murray, Myers, Hunter Shaw and Buckwalter each recorded two hits on the day.

Tuesday, with four straight base hits by McGuire, Kreider, Fetterman and Murray, Solanco got off to a great start against West York. Shaw's RBI single later that inning gave the Mules three runs and five hits. Unfortunately they managed just four hits after that.

"We had baserunners in every inning but could not push another run across," noted Fish. "Sophomore Grady Unger pitched three-plus innings and got stuck with the loss. He pitched well but you have to credit West York," he added. "They're a playoff team and they kept fighting, ultimately taking the lead for good in the top of the fourth."

Wednesday the team traveled to Dallastown to face the York League regular season champs and the top ranked team in District 3 6A. Despite falling behind 2-0 in the first inning, Solanco shook off Tuesday's loss, and battled through six innings before breaking the game open with a seven spot in the top of seventh.

"This was a fun and really cool way to end the season," remarked Fish. "I pushed hard to make sure we got this game in because I wanted to see how we stacked up against one of the top teams in the state. And especially since we return so many players next year," he added. "This game was a highlight for us. The guys took Dallastown's best punch early, and kept their composure as things got wild late. It was our best win of the season."

After giving up a triple and a base hit to start the game, and falling behind 2-0, Solanco responded by tying the score in the top of the second. Murray reached on an error, Myers followed with a walk and both scored on May's double.

"That ball would have cleared any fence on any field we play on but they do not have a fence in left field," Fish noted. "Regardless, that got the dugout excited.

The Mules took the lead in the top of the third when Kreider's base hit plated McGuire, who singled and stole second.

"The key to the game may have been Hayden Fox," Fish said. "He held Dallastown in check until he reached his pitch count limit after six innings. He had a career high eight strikeouts, worked around a couple of errors and ended his day of a 4-6-3 double play when it appeared Dallastown was primed to take the lead," he added.

Tied at 3-3, the Mules rallied in the seventh. McGuire singled and both Kreider and Fetterman were hit by pitches, thus loading the bags. An error and a fielder's choice pushed in two runs before Shaw was also hit by a pitch. Buckwalter added a two run double and Fox completed the inning with a two run single.

"That was a remarkable inning that showed incredible selflessness and teamwork as we strung together one quality at bat after another," touted Fish. "We did what we needed to do reach base. The first nine batters reached base and seven of them scored! It was an awesome way to end the season."

TRACK

Last Monday the track teams hosted Manheim Central in what proved to be the school's first 'night' track meet. Throwing events got underway at 5pm while the runners took to the track at 5:45 pm. As for the final results, the Barons (7-2 overall) defeated the Mules 86-64 while the girls' dropped a 94-56 result.

"The teams did what they could against two strong squads," stated Haines. "Again, they improve with every meet as indicated by an impressive number of PR's - 16 for the boys' and 12 for the girls'."

Senior Jack Boomsma led the scoring. He clocked an 11.2 to win the 100, raced 23.5 to take the 200 and anchored an exciting 4x100 relay with Colin Althoff, Mikey Grech, and Will Paredes-Jimenez. He also cleared 5-6 in the high jump for third.

"He's a first time senior sprinter," said Haines of Boomsma. "And he set PR's in both the 100 and the relay."

Grech went on to win the long jump with a 19-6.5.

But it was the jumpers that had the most success, outscoring the Barons 21-6. Logan Yaletchko set a new personal record to win the shot put with a 48-5. Dylan Sheaffer followed with a 47-10.75 and Alex Hindman provided the sweep with a 43-4.5.

Sheaffer also won the discus (130-9) with Yaletchko taking second (119-4).

"The throwers are a group of seniors who will be missed next year, however, there is a talented group of underclassmen ready to fill their place," Haines stated. "The whole team, in fact, performed to the best of their ability and did not give up."

In the javelin, it was Dylon Sturgill taking second (144-4) and Wyatt Urbine getting third (143-9).

The Mules also got a first from Ben Stickler in the 3200 (10-21.5) and Daniel-Morales in the 400 as they finished Section Two action at 3-3 and were 3-4 overall.

The girls' team only won five events but all five were PR's and one set a school record. Cooney's throw of 43-0.5 in the shot put broke a record set back in 1991 by Missy Wenger.

Hannah Sweda opened the PR firsts with the top time in the mile (5:32.8) and Yoder followed with a district qualifying time in the 400 (59.4) and the 4x100 team of Faith Roth, Casey Weder, Elizabeth Keeler and Aleska Burger) did their best 53.1.

In the field, Jenna Frey jumped her PR, a 7-6, to lead the pole vaulters.

Burger went on to grab seconds in the 100 (13.3) and 200 (28.2) meter dashes. Other second place winners included Sophia Baker in the 110 hurdles (16.8), Jenna Brown in the 400 (1:06.2), Greta Plechner in the high jump (4-6), Troyanna Miller in the shot (33.3) and Lydia Fetterman in the javelin (96-3).

"Most of the points were earned by the underclassmen," Haines noted. "With their continuous improvement and gaining experience, next year they should prove to be very competitive."

The girls' finished 2-5 in Section Two.

On Saturday the teams competed in the League Championships and came away with four medals and more personal records.

Cooney was the big winner of the day, anchoring her top seed in the shot put with a gold medal throw of 41-9.2. Miller backed her with an 8th place throw of 33-6.

For the boys, Althoff, Paredes-Jimenez, Grech and Boomsma raced to a 7th place finish in the 4x100 with a 44.81 while Sheaffer and Yaletchko tied for seventh place in the shot with identical throws of 46-8.5.

"The teams did well," said Haines, "and the PR's again, were outstanding. Aleska Burger in the 100, Aubree Roop in the mile, Hannah Sweda in the 3200, Greta Plechner in the high jump, Georgia Ewing in the triple all collected personal records as did Colin Althoff in the 200, Angel Daniel-Morales in the 400 and the 4x400 relay of Wood, Daniel-Morales, Martinez and Althoff."

Four members of the team will continue their season this weekend at the District Three Championships at Shippensburg University. Cooney is seeded second in the shot put. Alana Yoder will compete in the 800 and both Sheaffer and Yaletcho will compete in the shot put.

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Youth Soccer Camp Announced May 7, 2018

Solanco's boys' and girls' soccer team will hold a 'Kickin' it with the Mules' Soccer Camp, Monday through Thursday, June 18-21 from 6-8 pm at the High School soccer fields. The camp is open to boys and girls entering kindergarten through sixth grade.

The varsity boys' and girls' team players will volunteer to help in teaching the younger generation with oversight from head boys coach Jamie Snyder and head girls coach Ken Yoder.

"This is a great way to build the program," said Yoder. "The camp gives our current players a chance to mentor the younger players coming up in the district."

The teams will also hold a camp August 6-9 from 6-8 pm for junior high and high school boys and girls.

Pre-registration is encouraged to be guaranteed a soccer ball and t-shirt. You can also register the first night of camp.

For more information, or to register, contact Ken Yoder at 717-278-9150 or email solancogirlssoccercoach@gmail.com.

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Track Teams Improve Despite Loss to Ephrata May 7, 2018

Sometimes you go into a meet fairly certain that it would take a miracle to pull off the upset. In times like that, winning gets put aside and other goals are put in place.

"Ephrata has two very tough and deep teams," said head coach Ivan Haines. "Our main goal was to improve our individual marks and times. The boys earned 14 personal bests on the day and the girls picked up five. I cannot express how proud the staff and I are of our teams. They did not give up," he added. "They used these two good teams as a motivation to do better."

Despite a 91-59 loss to the Mounts, Solanco's throwers dominated, giving up just four points on the day. Wyatt Urbine threw a ten foot PR and captured his first victory in the javelin with a 148-6. Dylan Sturgill followed in third.

Fellow senior Dylan Sheaffer threw the discus 131-10 for a first and followed sophomore Logan Yaletchko, who won the shot with a 40-.5 toss, for second in the shot. Alex Hindman provided a shot put sweep with a third place 41-2. Yaletchko finished second in the discus (120-6) and Dylon Sturgill was third in the javelin.

Michael Grech was the only double winner of the day. He long jumped 20-2.5 for first and ran the leadoff leg of the 400 meter relay with Colin Althoff, Jack Boomsma and Will Paredes-Jimenez contributing to the 44.9. Grech was also second in the triple jump.

Boomsma placed in three events, grabbing seconds in the 100 dash and high jump and third in the 200. Yannutz was third in the 110 hurdles and second in the 300's as Solanco's only other multiple scorer.

The girls' team, dropping a 119-31 result, found the going a bit tougher. They won just two events and secured 13 place winners overall.

"The girls were led by district qualifiers Anna Cooney with a first and PR (41-6.5) in the shot and Alana Yoder in the 800 (2:26.9)," said Haines. "This team of young girls have a good future. Their commitment and hard work is paying off as they earned needed experience for their last dual meet and leagues."

Aleksa Burger was the only member of the team to place in two events. The junior was second in the long jump (15-0) and third in the 100 (13.2).

Other second place finishers included Sophia Baker in the 110 hurdles (17.0), Hannah Sweda in the mile (5:49.4), Aubree Roop in the 3200 (13:14) and Ally Glomb in the pole vault (6-6).

SOFTBALL

For the second time this season, the softball team played five games in five days. Three weeks ago the final results were two shutouts, two one run victories and a ten run blowout. Last week's results were not quite the same. Each game brought new meaning as to where the season was headed.

"Monday we got the result we expected," said head coach Brett Miller of Solanco's 20-3 rout over Lebanon. "Tuesday we suffered our first loss (against Garden Spot). Wednesday was a chance to see how we'd bounce back and Thursday we clinched the Section Two title."

And Friday they notched another shutout, this one over Ephrata.

Sierra Dean pitched Monday's win over Lebanon, striking out six, walking five and scattering three hits.

Offensively, Solanco's ten run second inning played into the game ending in five innings. They added five more in the top of the fifth. Kara McClune and Skyla Townsley sparked the 10-hit effort with four RBI each.

Tuesday, after 13 straight wins, Solanco hit a hiccup. In a game that featured a combined 13 walks and five errors, it was Garden Spot's 14 hits that were a key factor in the Spartans' 16-7 upset win.

"The majority of their hits were just out of our reach," said Miller. "But for two quality pitchers, who don't normally walk batters, to have 13 walks between them says something. Our first run of the game came in on a bases loaded walk to Kara."

Spot scored one in the bottom of the first and Solanco responded with six in the top of the fourth, highlighted by Randi Rambo's grand slam, only to give up an astounding 13 runs in the bottom half. Garden Spot sent 17 batters to the plate that inning. The Mares had only given up a combined 14 runs in their first 11 games.

Hanna Phillips started in the circle but when pitch count became a factor was relieved by Ally McDowell.

"Ally came in and did well," said Miller. "It's always a battle with Garden Spot. I guess historically it was one for the books," he added. "So we lost. Now it was a matter of how do we respond? It was probably a good thing we had E-town on Wednesday. It forced us to refocus quickly."

The Bears are also known to bring their 'A' game against Solanco. In their first meeting the Mares picked up a 7-5 victory. This time around, it was all Solanco and Phillips. The Mares pounded out ten hits and Phillips struck out eight and gave up just two hits.

After two scoreless frames, the hosts jumped in front for good, scoring four in the third. Liz Mowrer's triple plated McDowell and McClune who reached with a base hit and a double, respectively. Dean singled in the third run and Townsley, trying to stretch a triple into a home run, was called out but not before pushing Solanco's fourth run across.

Two innings later, three straight base hits by Mowrer, Jade Eshleman and Dean made it 5-zip.

"E-town helped our ten hits along with four errors," Miller noted. "But defensively every one of our infielders made the plays they needed to.

"This was a big game to bounce back with," he continued. "E-town has been scoring runs against quality teams so to get a shutout was a big deal."

At home again Thursday, Solanco put together 14 hits, Phillips tossed a no-hitter, and the Mares blanked Township 10-0 to clinch the school's 18th section title.

"This was an important game," said Miller. "We needed to win one of the next three to clinch the title and we took care of that."

Phillips struck out the first 12 batters of the game and, of 15 outs, fanned 13 batters for the win.

"On top of that, in the bottom of the fourth, Dean, for probably the tenth time this year, picked up a two out RBI single," Miller recalled. "Townsley added a single and Hanna's shot to center field pushed in two runs to get us to ten."

Friday afternoon Phillips, with eight strikeouts, pitched her second straight no-hitter and the Mares worked their second straight shutout (tenth of the year) with an 11-0 result against Ephrata. Rambo went 3-3 with a two-run second inning homer and also hit a triple. Eshleman also went 3-3 with a homer in the second inning.

Solanco (14-1) wraps up the regular season this week and opens their post-season run in the L-L League playoffs which get underway Saturday. The Mares take on the No. 2 seed out of Section Four.

BASEBALL

The baseball team also played five games in five days last week and came away with two wins and three losses, dropping their record to 6-11.

"It was kinda fun to run out there each day to see what we could do," said head coach Tom Fish.

The Mules got off to a good start, picking up an 11-6 come-from-behind win over Donegal on Monday. The visitors opened with three runs in the top of the first inning. Solanco battled back, scoring two in the second and one in the third before taking the lead with runs in each of the next three frames, including four in the sixth.

"We went up against the same pitcher that beat us 4-3 the first time around," noted Fish. "Hayden Fox (2K, 4W, 4H) got the start for us and I was incredibly proud of how he rebounded, and ended up pitching six strong innings to earn the win."

Dawson Kreider had a big day at the plate, going 2-2 with a double, a single and two walks. He scored four times and stole four bases. John Murray also went 2-2 with two walks and two RBI. Trent Myers chipped in with three hits and reached base four times.

"Trent is a senior and is having a really nice season for us," noted Fish. "Mike May, a sophomore, added two hits late and drove in three runs to help us put the game away."

Tuesday the Mules battled the second place team in Section Two, L-S, and dropped a 5-2, eight inning heartbreaker. Corey Stively started on the hill and pitched into the sixth inning. Kreider pitched in relief and suffered the tough luck loss when the Pioneers tripled in two runs in the top of the eighth.

The Mules scored runs in the first, third and fifth innings and Hunter Shaw was a big part of each. The junior went 4-4 at the plate with one RBI and one run scored.

"Mike and Murray each singled to put runs on the board for us," said Fish. "We had a chance to win in the seventh, but it just wasn't our day. A lot of the guys were really disappointed, maybe none more than myself. I take responsibility for the loss," he continued. "A couple of decisions made during the game just did not end up working out. It was one of those games where I felt I got in the way a little bit. But hanging tough with one of the league's best teams really showed what this baseball team is capable of."

Despite two runs in the top of the seventh, the Mules dropped a 7-2 outing against E-town on Wednesday. Gabe Horn scattered ten hits and took the loss on the hill. The Mules managed just one hit on the day.

In non-league action Thursday, and in a game that celebrated the seniors, Solanco topped Exeter 3-2. "It was a well-played game on a beautiful day," said Fish.

Senior Coleman Dow started on the hill and pitched into the fourth inning. Sophomore Grady Unger, in his pitching debut, tossed three shutout innings before Kreider came on in the seventh. "Dawson came on with two men on in the bottom of the seventh to get the final out, a groundout to the pitcher, and earned the save," Fish recalled.

A sac fly by senior Trent Myers plated Kreider, who reached on a base hit, with the first run of the game in the bottom of the first. Exeter took the lead with single runs in the second and fourth innings before Solanco rallied in the bottom of the fourth.

John Murray reached on an error, Myers singled and Hunter Shaw was hit by a pitch. Murray scored on a passed ball and Myers came in on May's sac fly.

"Each of our six wins have come at home," Fish noted.

Friday the Mules battled the top team in Section Two but were denied 11-1. Tim Fetterman collected two of Solanco's five hits with Joel McGuire, Murray and Sam Buckwalter also contributing.

Fox and May saw action on the hill and combined for two strikeouts and four walks.

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Eshleman's Homers Fuel Crossover Wins April 30, 2018

Jade Eshleman cracked a pair of timely home runs and Hanna Phillips pitched a pair of gems to lead Solanco past Hempfield and Warwick last week. The 5-2 nod over the Black Knights on Monday and the unexpected 11-0 shutout over the Warriors on Wednesday leaves Solanco as one of just two undefeated teams in the Lancaster-Lebanon League. The Mares sit on top of Section Two with a perfect 10-0 mark and Donegal, at 9-0, heads up Section Three as the regular season is quickly winding down.

"We were preparing for these big games," said head coach Brett Miller, "and confident that we would get a good result. I anticipated Hempfield scoring more runs and that Warwick would settle our bats. Against Hempfield, we found a way to win."

That finding a way was the result of shaking off the two runs Hempfield scored in the bottom of the first inning. Solanco opened the third inning with a leadoff walk by Alyssa Henretty. Alli McDowell followed with a sacrifice bunt and Randi Rambo put the Mares on the board with a run scoring base hit.

But it was the fifth inning that keyed the win. Mirroring the third frame, Henretty worked a walk, moved to second on McDowell's bunt and scored on Rambo's double. But the Mares weren't finished. Liz Mower was intentionally walked and she and Rambo (2-4, 2 RBI) scored on Eshleman's (1-3, 3RBI) round-tripper.

"I was not surprised they walked Liz," said Miller. "And Jade took a 3-1 pitch to dead center. We are confident in her ability."

That pushed Solanco's lead to 5-2 after five complete innings. But Hempfield was ready to close the gap. The hosts loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth inning but Phillips collected her tenth strikeout of the game to end the threat. Phillips issued two walks and scattered seven hits to secure the win.

At home on Thursday, the Mares again took care of business, this time pounding out 15 hits against Section One leader, Warwick, and recording a five-inning shutout. Phillips got the win with a one-hit effort from the circle, striking out nine batters and giving up just one walk.

"Hanna threw exceptionally well," said Miller. "She has been working very hard and is getting better with her location. She struck out two in the first inning and the side in the second."

Solanco took the early led in this one, scoring two in the first inning. Mowrer tripled in Kara McClune who opened with a base hit and Sierra Dean (3-3, 3RBI), with two outs, blooped a single to plate Mowrer.

"That two out hit is always a big hit," noted Miller, "and Sierra has had several of those this season."

After a scoreless second, Eshleman's (2-4, 3 RBI) second homer of the week scored Rambo (single) and Mowrer (walk) and pushed the lead to 5-0. And they picked up another run when McDowell (2-3, 2BI) , with the bases loaded, singled in Dean, who walked and advanced on a Skyla Townsley base hit and Henretty's bunt base hit.

Solanco capped the scoring with five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Henretty reached on a one out single, moved up on McDowell's base hit and scored when McClune's popup was dropped. Rambo's groundout plated McDowell and Mower's (2-4, 2RBI) base hit pushed in McClune for a 9-0 lead. Eshleman singled, stole second and followed Mowrer home when Dean (3-3, 3RBI) connected for a two-run walk off single.

"The top of our lineup is hitting but Alyssa Henretty and Alli McDowell, batting eighth and ninth, are getting on base and beating out grounders and that plays in as well."

Weather depending, the Mares face another five game week.

"The story will be told this week," said Miller. "We can't overlook anyone. We're up three with six to go so we need to take care of business. No one is going to give it to us," he added. "We have to take it."

BASEBALL

The baseball team played three crossover games last week and finished with just one win. But that one was a thriller.

Facing a 6-4 deficit in their last at bat, Solanco rallied. John Murray singled with one out and Hunter Shaw, with two outs, reached on an error. Sophomore Grady Unger worked a walk and Sam Buckwalter was hit by a pitch, closing the gap to 6-5. So now, with the bases loaded and facing two outs, junior Joel McGuire smacked a hard liner to left field, scoring two runs for the walk off win.

"What a great team win! I was happy for the guys," said head coach Tom Fish.

The Mules fell behind early in this one, giving up one in the second and two more in the fifth before a four run rally in the bottom half gave the Mules new life. Buckwalter got things going with a full count single, McGuire reached with a base hit and Hayden Fox knocked in Buckwalter with a double. An error on Tim Fetterman's at bat cut the lead to 3-2. Murray worked a one out walk and Shaw's clutch two out base hit gave the Mules the lead, 4-3.

Unfortunately, two errors and a walk contributed to Hempfield coming back with three runs in the top of the sixth.

"At that point, senior Gabe Horn (1K, 1W) relieved Dawson Kreider," recalled Fish. "I thought Dawson (7K, 2W) pitched a very strong game. He battled. And Gabe tossed a clean, shutout inning to pick up the win."

Thursday's road game in Lititz, however, was another story. Despite jumping out to a 2-0 lead after 2.5 innings, the Mules gave up 11 runs, nine of them coming with two outs.

"We just could not get out of the inning," said Fish. "Some balls fell in and we made some mistakes. That inning pretty much decided the 14-2 loss."

Solanco scored one in the first when Murray doubled home Fetterman, who reached on a single and stole second. Two innings later, Buckwalter walked, stole second and scored on a groundout by Trent Myers.

In a rare Saturday morning game, the Mules faced yet another Section One team in Manheim Township and came away with another five-inning loss, 12-2.

"Township jumped on us early, scoring four in the first, two in the second and four more in the third," Fish noted.

Solanco did manage two runs it the top of the fifth but the Streaks came back with two of their own to seal the deal. Buckwalter, who walked, scored on a McGuire single and a Fetterman base hit plated McGuire.

Kreider, Corey Stively, Mike May, Horn and McGuire all made an appearance on the hill and combined for five strikeouts and six walks. They gave up 11 hits.

"We have five games this week so I'm anxious to see how we bounce back," Fish stated. "Sometimes playing every day can help get over two losses and get us back on track. We still have eight games left so we'll keep plugging along."

TRACK

With the goal of coming away with two wins, Solanco's track teams traveled to Lebanon last Monday afternoon, turned in two solid team performances and achieved their goal. The girls' squad dominated the Cedars 110-40 while the boys' came away with a solid 84-66 result.

"We finally had great weather for a track meet!" said head coach Ivan Haines. "The girls' team did an excellent job. The sprint and distance groups picked up many points where they were not able to before this meet. A number of different girls were able to score points, which shows a good future for the team," he added. "They earned 10 personal bests and are coming together very nicely."

The girls' showed their strength on the track, winning all 11 events contested and sweeping four of them. Sophie Baker emerged as the only double winner on the day as the girls shared the wealth with a balanced effort in the win. Baker won the 110 hurdles (17.7) and 300's in 58.0 to lead the scoring.

Aleksa Burger (14.1) led a sweep in the 100 with Faith Roth and Elizabeth Keeler following in second and third. The trio joined Casey Weder for a win in the 4x100 relay as well.

Aubree Roop (6:15) scored a first in the mile with Taylor Weaver and Dana Landis completing the sweep. She and Weaver also ran first and second legs of the winning 4x800 relay with Emma Curtis and Chesley Ledesma wrapping up the win.

Hannah Sweda won the open 400 (1:06) and Alana Yoder captured the 800 in 2:26. They also joined forces with Jenna Brown and Lauryn McNutt to win the 4x400 relay in 4:33.

Also on the track, the 200 meter sprint team of Keeler, Nathaly Molinarez and Greta Plechner swept the Cedars while the 3200 meter team of Mariah Stoltzfus, Mylee Smith and Elaina Kreider went 1-2-3 as well.

In the field, Anna Cooney was a winner in the shot put (38-11.25), Troyana Miller was tops in the discus, throwing her best this year with a 104-3 and McNutt, with a 13-2, led a sweep in the long jump with Weder taking second and Burger grabbing third.

Solanco also got a pair of seconds from Plechner in the high jump (4-4) and pole vault (7-0).

The boys' team won nine of 18 events, including two relays, and pulled away with their depth.

Christian Stead, Damian Martinez, Tate Fisher and Angel Daniel-Morales set the tone with a win in the 4x800 relay in 8:54. Ben Stickler followed up with a first in the mile (4:53) and Santo-Morales added the top time in the 400 (53.2) with Austin Woods taking second.

Colin Althoff, who was third in the 100, added a win in the 200 (23.5) and anchored the winning 4x400 relay with Woods, Daniel-Morales and Mike Grech leading off.

The Mules also worked a sweep in the 3200 run with Patrick Workman (11:20), Dom Messano (11:40) and Ian Brown (11:44).

In the hurdles, David Harvey added a pair of seconds, going 21.0 in the 110's and 49.2 in the 300's.

In the field events, the Mules gained some distance with Dylan Sheaffer (125-2 PR), Logan Yaletchko (117-9) and Nate Neuhauser (109-2) sweeping the discus. Yaletchko also won the shot put (47-7.5 PR) with Sheaffer grabbing second while Harrison Bauer (141-3 PR) and Wyatt Urbine (138-3) went 1-2 in the javelin.

"The throwers earned 25 of 27 possible points," Haines pointed out. "The boys earned 15 personal bests, a sign of continuous improvement. And it is nice to see that the underclassmen are stepping up and earning points as well. I feel the boys have the talent to develop into a successful team but we must continue to work and perform harder if we are to reach our goal."

Lebanon had the most success in the jumps, outscoring the Mules 28-8. Grech interrupted their run with a second in the long and Aaron Jones added a second in the pole vault.

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Mares Shutout McCaskey and Cedar Crest April 23, 2018

After playing five straight games, the Mares found themselves practicing last week as more weather induced postponements left them with just two games that, together, took just under two hours to complete.

Big hitters Liz Mowrer, Jade Eshleman and Hanna Phillips accounted for 10 RBI and sparked the Mares to a 19 run, three inning shutout against McCaskey in Lancaster last Wednesday. Randi Rambo's first inning double sparked a six run inning while Eshleman's two run homer plated two of Solanco's eight second inning runs and pushed the lead to 14-0. They capped the scoring with a five run third.

Mowrer was 2-for-3 with a triple and five RBI. Eshleman, a freshman, was 3-for-4 with three RBI and Phillips was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI.

"For a freshman, Jade is doing a nice job," said head coach Brett Miller, "not only behind the plate but at bat. She's pretty quick."

The Mares timed their hits around 12 walks and four errors.

In the circle, Phillips handled seven of the nine possible outs with strikeouts.

"We were looking to shorten the game and we got what we needed," said Miller after last week's schedule of unending games.

Friday afternoon was more of the same as the Mares extended Cedar Crest's winless streak to eight straight with a three-inning, 21-0 victory that pushed their league record to 8-0.

"Not too long ago Cedar Crest had a strong program," recalled Miller. "But our goals are always to stay aggressive, score runs and play solid defense. After five games last week and four big games this week (Hempfield, Township, Warwick and Garden Spot), two shortened games weren't all that bad."

Phillips recorded six out of a possible nine strikeouts and lifted Solanco's overall record to 10-0.

"Hanna had 13 strikeouts out of 18 outs over the two games," said Miller.

Kara McClune and Mowrer combined for eight RBI, a triple and two home runs in a combined 5-for-7 effort at the plate. Phillips went 3-for-3 with 3 RBI, a double and also homered.

"Liz and Hanna were both one hit short of the cycle," noted Miller. "And Hanna's hitting has definitely improved over the last couple of games."

Rambo, Eshleman, Sierra Dean and Skyla Townsley each recorded two hits with Alyssa Henretty and Ally McDowell adding one hit each.

"Every starter had at least one hit and scored one run," Miller stated, "so it was definitely a total team effort."

TRACK

Despite sweeping three field events, the Mares dropped a heart-breaking one point loss against Cocalico last Monday, 75-74.

"The weather again made it tough but this was a good meet for the girls," said head coach Ivan Haines. "The team is made up of a great group of underclassmen who will only continue to improve."

Greta Plechner led two of the three sweeps with firsts in the high jump (4-4) and the pole vault (6-6). Sophomores Ally Glomb and Jenna Frey cleared 4-2 in the high jump to back Plechner and did the same in the pole vault. Frey cleared 6-6 and Glomb 6-0.

Anna Cooney led the throwers with a 38-55 in the shot put. Troyana Miller was second (34-2.75) and sophomore Peyton Jennings was third (28-6.5). Miller also picked up a second in the discus.

Sophia Baker highlighted the wins on the track, taking both the 100 hurdles (17.4) and the 300's in 58.7.

Alana Yoder followed suit, winning the 800 meter run in 2:35.4 after running the opening leg of the winning 4x800 relay. Hannah Sweda, Chesley Ledesma and Aubree Roop joined Yoder for a 10:58.5 to account for Solanco's seven first place finishes. The Eagles recorded 11 wins but Solanco stayed close, winning nine second places. Sweda, in addition to Miller, recorded two of them, placing in both the mile and 3200 meter runs.

Solanco also won 12 of 14 possible third place finishes.

The boys' team found the going a bit more of a challenge as Cocalico's boys sit on top of the Section Two standings at 5-0 overall. The Eagles prevailed 93-54.

While Solanco did win two of the three relays, they were outscored in every other aspect of the meet, including a 24-3 deficit in the distances.

"Although running good races, the distance team was just not strong enough," noted Haines. "The throwers were the only area that scored close to their opponents."

Dylan Shaeffer, with a shot put throw of 47-9, was the only winner in the field. Logan Yaletchko finished second behind Shaeffer with a 45-2. Harrison Bauer added a second in the javelin (131-8) with Alex Hindman taking third with a 131-1 and Dylon Sturgill prevented a sweep in the discus with a 112-2 throw.

In the jumps, Dom Messano was the top point-getter taking second in the long (18-9) and third in the triple (36-2) behind Michael Grechs' 36-2.

Highlighting the track action was the 100 meter sprint team's sweep. Jack Boomsma (11.4), Will Paredes (11.5) and freshman Ryan Vanover (11.5) secured the top three places.

Paredes also ran the opening leg of the winning 4x100 relay with Grech, Collin Althoff and Boomsma contributing. In the 4x400 relay it was Woods, Morales, Grech and Althoff clocking a 3:57.4.

Althoff also added a second in the 200 (24.0) and Boomsma cleared 5-6 for second in the high jump.

Again, the underclassmen stepped up and performed well," said Haines. "We are gaining the experience needed for the tough meets coming up."

BASEBALL

The baseball team's string of nip-and-tuck games continued last week, running their streak of games won or lost by one or two runs to six straight.

The week opened with an 8-6 win over McCaskey last Wednesday afternoon and ended with back-to-back 4-3 losses to Cedar Crest and Donegal on Friday and Saturday.

Wednesday' win was a slugfest as the two teams combined for 21 hits. It was also a come-from-behind win for the Mules who surrendered four runs in the first inning and another in the second before working their way back.

"What a great comeback," said head coach Tom Fish. "I'm very proud of how the guys strung great at bats together and how our starting pitcher battled through a start where McCaskey was hitting the ball all over the place."

Down 5-0 after two, Dawson Kreider led off with a single, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a passed ball.

One inning later, the Mules got the bats going. Mike May and Hunter Shaw connected for two straight base hits and Trey Myers and Sam Buckwalter worked a pair of walks. Kreider singled again and Tim Fetterman added a base knock to cut the lead to 5-4.

Solanco took the lead with a three run fifth. May and Myers both singled and scored on errors.

"The guys ran the bases very well," noted Fish. "In the top of the sixth, Hayden Fox came in to relieve Kreider, who battled to keep us in the game. Fox earned the save and was helped by great defense in the sixth. Myers threw the tying run out at the plate from right field and Buckwalter made, what can be described as the play of our year. He ranged deep in the hole to make a play, spun and fired to Fox who covered the bag, caught the ball and tagged the base at the same time to get the McCaskey hitter by a half a step," he explained. "It was a game saving play."

The Mules came back in the bottom half and picked up an insurance run.

Kreider finished with six strikeouts and four walks.

Friday Solanco put a scare into Section One leader Cedar Crest. They not only took a 1-0 lead after two complete but battled back from a 3-1 deficit to knot the game in the top of the seventh only to give up the game-winner in the bottom half.

Myers started the rally with a one out single. Buckwalter followed with a walk and Zack Fritz was hit by a pitch, loading the bags. Kreider's sac fly pushed in the first run and Joel McGuire's clutch two out single tied the game at 3-3.

Cedar Crest plated the game-winner in the bottom half with two outs.

"I was proud of how we battled back but it was a heartbreaking loss," said Fish. "Fox pitched a complete game and maybe pitched as good as he ever has, although he has had some very, very big games four us during his career here," he continued. "This was a tough Crest lineup and had we played a perfect game on defense, Fox may have shut them out. He was awesome that day."

In make-up action Saturday, the Mules dropped another heartbreaker, this time to Donegal, who moved to 4-3 in Section Two play (7-3 overall) while dropping Solanco to 3-4.

After falling behind 4-0 on a pair of two-run innings, Solanco worked yet another rally. This time they plated three runs in the top of the fourth. A double by McGuire and singles from Fetterman and Murray drove in the runs.

"We had a chance to take the lead in the fifth, but their pitcher worked out of a bases loaded jam," Fish recalled. "Corey Stively pitched the complete game, battling back from giving up those two runs in the first and third innings."

Stively recorded eight strikeouts and two walks in the loss.

"We were so close to getting a big time signature win against two very strong, winning teams," stated Fish. "It just wasn't to be. I'm anxious to see how we rebound with four games this week."

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Baseball Team Tops CV, Penn Manor April 16, 2018

Playing four games last week, Solanco's baseball team came home with two wins against two losses and one of those losses was by a single run.

"I was happy with the week we put together," said head coach Tom Fish. "We had four tough games in five days."

The Mules hosted Ephrata in the week's opener. The Mounts, clinging to a 4-2 advantage after six complete innings, exploded for a five run seventh to steal the win.

Ephrata jumped in front with two runs in the third and singles in the fourth and fifth. Solanco opened their scoring in the bottom of the fourth. John Murray doubled in the leadoff spot for Solanco's first hit of the day. Joel McGuire singled and Sam Buckwalter walked to load the bags. Hunter Shaw followed with a liner to centerfield, plating the first run.

"Hunter pushed a run in but the ball was hit so hard, and looked for a moment it could be caught, that Ephrata actually got the force at second," said Fish. "That was a bad break."

Solanco cut the lead to 4-2 two innings later when Buckwalter (2-3 on the day) singled and scored on Shaw's double.

The Mounts held a slim 9-7 edge in total hits, with one homer, but played flawless defense while the Mules had three miscues.

"Dawson Kreider pitched very well," noted Fish. "He went six innings, gave up three earned runs, struck out six and allowed six hits."

Wednesday the Mules secured its first win of the season, nipping Conestoga Valley 1-0.

"This game was all about Hayden Fox, our pitcher, and Zack Fritz, who was behind the plate," stated Fish. "Those two were in total control. Hayden tossed the seven inning shutout and we could afford nothing less, as we managed only one run."

Solanco scratched out that lone run in the bottom of the fifth. Kreider reached on an error, went to second on a John Murray single, stole third and scored on McGuire's sac fly.

"Hayden struck out three, allowed three hits and was pretty dominant all game," said Fish. "He got some help with very solid defense behind him. We turned double plays in the sixth and seventh, ending the game with a 6-4-3 Kreider to Buckwalter to May. And we got a great game from Fritz who threw out CV's only base stealing attempt and allowed no wild pitches or passed balls."

On the road Thursday in a non-league outing with Wilson, Solanco collected nine hits on the day, committed one less error (2-1) yet dropped a heart-breaker, 7-6.

"We led most of the way and I thought this was our best offensive performance," Fish praised. "In the end, Wilson walked us off in the bottom of the seventh as the staff handed out 12 walks, leading to seven Wilson runs despite just four hits allowed."

Murray went 2-for-3 with a single, double and two runs scored. Shaw and Trent Myers each had two hits. "They are currently two of our hottest hitters," Fish said.

McGuire reached base twice, as did Mike May, who walked and doubled.

"On a bright note, Mike May pitched 3.1 innings and allowed only one run," said Fish. "The sophomore, pitching in his first meaningful game, gave us a shot to win.

"As a coach, you question some things you do in these close games," he continued. "A few decisions I made just didn't work out. This was a tough one. We let it get away."

Friday the team hosted Penn Manor for the opener of the crossover games against Section One opponents. The Comets were coming in with a 1-7 overall record and the Mules sent them packing with a shutout loss, 2-0.

Corey Stively pitched six shutout innings, striking out seven and walking three, and Kreider tossed the seventh inning for the save.

"Corey dominated, allowing just four hits," noted Fish. "And he got out of a bases loaded, one out jam in the third with two huge strikeouts."

Kreider opened the third inning with a one out walk and moved to second on a McGuire single. Tim Fetterman, who was 2-for-3, connected for a run scoring single and Murray followed with another, plating McGuire.

"We played error free baseball," Fish pointed out. "As a team, we have committed only nine errors in six games, which is very strong for any high school team.

"This week we play five games," he added. "It will take an entire team effort to come away with a winning week."

SOFTBALL

The softball team played every single day last week. They opened with a 14-0 blowout over Ephrata played in heavy snow flurries and closed the week with a 1-0, 10-inning thriller over Penn Manor on a day that reach 85 degrees.

"Each game last week it got warmer," chuckled head coach Brett Miller. "That Ephrata game was possibly the coldest game I ever coached and it was the first time I ever coached in the snow and not just flurries!"

Solanco batted around in the second inning against Ephrata, plating 10 of their 14 runs in a five inning game. Liz Mowrer was 2-for-4 with a home run and a double, two runs scored and four RBI. Ally McDowell also went 2-4 with a homer, a triple, two runs scored and three RBI.

"Hanna (Phillips) got to throw and threw well for the situation," said Miller. She finished with 9K and 2W.

Tuesday the Mares hosted Garden Spot and used a six run bottom of the fourth inning to end the game on top, 12-2. Kara McClune and Mower both connected for home runs in that pivotal fourth inning while Skyla Townsley added a two run homer in the third to highlight Solanco's 11-hit offense.

Phillips not only struck out nine, walked one and scattered five hits but went 2-for-3 at the plate with a run scored and a RBI.

"I was surprised at the 12-2 score," said Miller. "They finished in second place last year and I was thinking this could be a seven inning game. We hit the ball well."

So after two blowout wins, the Mares found themselves in a battle at Conestoga Valley Wednesday afternoon. Tied at 1-1 after five complete innings, Solanco scored what proved to be the game-winner in the top of the sixth. With the bases loaded, Phillips cracked a shot to left field, scoring Jade Eshleman with the game-winner. With one out, Eshleman walked, Sierra Dean singled and an error on Townsley's hit loaded the bags for Phillips, whose sacrifice fly plated the go ahead run.

In the circle, Phillips allowed just one hit, an infield single, and one unearned run. She fanned 12 and walked three.

"One of those walks was with the bases loaded," said Miller. "We weren't going to let Michelle Lopez beat us. We gave them one instead of Lopez getting them a whole bunch. We had to persevere," he added. "It was an ugly win because of the offensive adjustments we had to make but we'll take it."

Alyssa Henretty, Randi Rambo, and McClune all singled and Eshleman connected for a double.

At home again Thursday, the Mares scored 16 runs on five hits, taking advantage of nine walks and four errors in a shutout over Lebanon. Sierra Dean took the circle in this one, striking out one and walking one.

"We played 20 innings out of a possible 28 in four games," noted Miller. "That put us right where we needed to be heading into crossover games."

That crossover action began in Millersville Friday afternoon where the Mares outlasted defending Lancaster-Lebanon League champs Penn Manor 1-0 via the international tiebreaker rule. With Rambo starting on second base, Mower put down a sac bunt that pushed Rambo to third. The shortstop scored on a passed ball.

Manor's Cherrish Frick started on second in their half of the tenth. She moved up on a passed ball. Phillips fanned Madison Trout and watched Kaelin Gable crush a ball to right field where Townsley was waiting. The junior fired home to Eshleman who, in a close play at the plate, put the tag on Frick, completing the double play and preserving the victory.

Twice Phillips got out of jams. With an error, a passed ball and a stolen base, Manor was sitting on third with one out in the fifth. Phillips got Gable to pop out to McClune at second and struck out Cheyenne Ortman.

In the seventh, Brittany Hook singled, moved to second on a bunt and third on an error. Phillips coaxed Trout into a popup to Dean at third and Gable cracked another hard shot to Townsley in right.

TRACK

The boys' track team swept the shot put and javelin, the 100 and 200 meter sprints, and won two of three relays en route to a solid 94-56 win over visiting Elizabethtown last Monday afternoon. And they did it while battling through some heavy snow flurries.

"This was a nice win despite the cold weather," said head coach Ivan Haines. "In addition to sweeping the shot and javelin, the boys also only gave up second in the discus. And all three events were won by different athletes," he added. "It's been a long time since the throwers for both teams have been this strong."

Dylan Sheaffer, who won the discus (138-1), led the shot sweep with a winning 46-10.25. Logan Yaletchko, who finished third in the discus, was second in the shot with a 45-3 and Alex Hindman, who was second in the javelin (130-10), followed Yaletchko with a 106-2.

In the javelin sweep, it was Dylon Sturgill with a 133-4 and Harrison Bauer followed Hindman with a 129-1.

Sweeping performances on the track started with Jack Boomsma winning the 100 in 11.6. Will Paredes Jimenez finished second with an 11.7 and followed Colin Althoff (24.1) in the 200 with a 25.1. Althoff clocked an 11.8 to finish third in the 100 while Tyler Williams was third in the 200.

Boomsma picked up another first when he anchored the 4x100 relay. Paredes ran the opening leg with Michael Grech and Althoff chipping in. Boomsma also won the long jump (19-2.25) and was second in the high (5-8).

Dom Messano also showed his versatility, winning the 800 (2:09.4 PR), running lead on the 4x400 relay with Daniel-Morales, Grech and Althoff, was second in the long (18-9.5) and third in the triple behind Grech's winning leap of 38-3.5.

The Mules also went 1-2 in the 400 with Angel Daniel-Morales (53.2) and Austin Wade-Woods (54.7).

"Ben Strickler also ran a nice race in the mile, earning second with a season PR, a 15 second improvement," noted Haines.

While the girls came away with just five firsts in a 90-60 loss, there were bright spots.

"We matched up well with E-town in all areas except the jumps, where we only earned five points," stated Haines. "It is difficult to overcome that much of a deficit, while also losing three relays, and come away with a win. Despite the weather, the girls did not give up."

Like the boys', the girls' throwers also picked up two sweeps. Anna Cooney tied her PR with a winning throw of 38-7 in the shot and also qualified for districts. She was also third in the discus (74-6), following Troyana Miller's winning and personal best throw of 32-4. Peyton Jennings wrapped up the shot sweep (28-9) and the javelin (83-10).

Lydia Fetterman threw her personal best 97-5 to lead the javelin team. Emma Urbine was second (87-11).

"It was nice to see a number of different girls contributing to the sweeps," said Haines.

On the track, Aleska Burger ran her fastest 200 (28.7) for first place and was second in the 100 (14.0). She was also second in the long jump.

Sophia Baker won the 110 hurdles (17.6) and was second in the 300's (57.0). Alana Yoder, coming off an injury, won the 800 (2:28.8). The Mares also went 2-3 in the 3200 with Hannah Swede (12:37) and Aubree Roop (14:08).

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Solanco Boys' Hoop Camp April 9, 2018

Head coach Scott Long and his staff will hold a boys' basketball camp, June 18-20 for players currently in grades first through eighth. The camp, which will provide quality instruction to allow players to develop their basketball skills, will run from 9 am to 12 noon. Campers received a free t-shirt and a basketball.

Registration deadline is June 8. For more information, contact Coach Long at 717-951-2762 or email scott_long@solancosd.org.

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Track Teams Defeat Garden Spot on the Road April 9, 2018

With the weather playing havoc with the spring sports teams, only track is running on schedule with both of their meets to date taking place. Both teams are currently 1-1 after suffering season-opening losses before rebounding with wins over Garden Spot last Thursday.

The boys, after a tight 77-70 loss to the Pioneers on March 28, came back strong crushing Garden Spot 117-30 last Thursday. Winning all but three events, the Mules scored 75 of their total points with first place finishes. Solanco also swept three events on the track and one in the field to further extend their advantage.

"The team earned 13 personal bests so all areas of the meet are improving," said head coach Ivan Haines. "Dom Messano won three events and the distance team dominated, earning 31 of 32 possible points with firsts all being earned by different athletes."

The sprinters opened the sweeps with Will Paredes, Jack Boomsma and Colin Althoff taking the 100 meters while Ben Stickler, Tate Fisher and Christian Stead grabbed all the mile points. Dom Messano, Damian Martinez and Stead dominated in the 800.

In the field, it was the shot putters leading the way with Dylon Sturgill, Logan Yaletchko and Alex Hindman going 1-2-3. Sturgill also added a first in the discus (132-11) while Hindman tossed the javelin 145-5 for another first.

In the jumps it was Messano winning both the long (19-1) and triple (39- 7.75), Boomsma clearing 5-6 in the high and Aaron Jones hitting ten feet to take the pole vault.

Rounding out the first place finishes was Althoff in the 200 (24.1), Ian Brown in the 3200 (11:17.6), Angel Daniel-Morales in the 400 (54.9) and both the 4x800 (Stead, Martin Grawe, Tate Fisher and Damian Martinez) and 4x100 (Will Paredes, Mike Grech, Althoff and Boomsma) relay teams.

The girls' team found the going a bit tougher but overcame the absence of Aubrey Roop, Alana Yoder and Troyana Miller to pull out a 78-72 thriller over the Spartans. They won 11 of 18 events with underclassmen doing the bulk of the damage.

"The distance girls did well to fill in for Aubrey and Alana," noted Haines. "Freshmen Emma Curtis won the 800 (3:01.8) and Jenna Brown took the 400 (1:11.4) while sophomore Chesley Ledesma won the mile (6:35). This is a young team with 29 of our 48 athletes being freshmen and sophomores. Only one first place was picked up by a senior, Anna Cooney in the shot (36-9).

"The girls are improving and learning how to compete," Haines continued. "We have just four seniors so each time we compete we become more experienced."

Newcomer Aleksa Burger led a sweep in the 200 with Elizabeth Keeler and Faith Roth following in second and third, respectively. Burger was also second in the 100 with Keeler taking third.

Also on the track, Sophia Baker won the 100 hurdles (17.1 PR), Hanna Sweda was tops in the 3200 and Ledesma, Dana Landis, Curtis and Sweda teamed for a win in the 4x800.

The girls grabbed their second sweep of the day in the high jump. Greta Plechner cleared a personal best 4-6, Alex Glomb and Montana Lockhart tied at 4-2 for second and Jenna Frey also cleared 4-2 for third.

Georgia Ewing added a win in the triple (28-4.25 PR) and Emma Urbine tossed the javelin 85-5 and was third in the discus.

"This was a great meet for both teams but we still have a lot of work to do and we need to continue to make improvements," Haines said. "We are young and inexperienced but continue to learn and gain competitiveness."

SOFTBALL

With postponement after postponement, the softball team was fortunate to play three of their first seven games on the schedule. However, the weather has left them faced with five straight games this week.

"Not everyone is equipped to play five games," said head coach Brett Miller. "We're all in the same boat but you have to assume that the better programs will prevail. Winning ugly will be OK," he continued. "An ugly win will be better than a moral loss.

"Mental and physical errors will be inevitable with so many games in a row," Miller added. "There is very little room for error so we play the games and move on. We have played four in one week before but never five."

After opening the season with a 7-4 win over Pequea Valley and picking up a 10-0 shutout over Wilson, Solanco, the defending Section Two champs, opened the league season with a 10-hit, 7-5 road win over Elizabethtown Friday afternoon. Hanna Phillips struck out six, scattered seven hits and earned the win in the circle.

"Hanna worked hard over the winter and has improved both with her strength and velocity," stated Miller. "But if we have five games in a row, there will be opportunity to find some innings for backup pitcher Sierra Dean."

The Mares broke a 1-1 first inning tie with two runs on a fourth inning error and then took control with a four-run fifth. Dean's two run double and junior Skyla Townsley's two run homer highlighted the four-hit inning.

E-town closed the gap with one run on two hits and a walk in the sixth and, with two outs in the seventh, scored two runs on two hits and another walk before Phillips fanned the last batter of the game.

Kara McClune, who moved from left field to second base, Dean, a junior third baseman and Townsley recorded two RBI each. McClune opened the game with a double and scored on Jade Eshleman's triple.

"We have several players with varsity experience but not in the positions they are in this year," noted Miller. "Hanna along with Liz Mowrer (1B) and Randi Rambo (ss) return to the infield. McClune moved from left field to second base, Ally McDowell from third base to center field and Alyssa Henretty is now in left. Plus we have a freshman (Jadelyn Eshleman) in the lineup. We have 10 players on varsity now and they can all play multiple positions so the key will be how well they can perform and if they can stay healthy."

BASEBALL

In a similar situation as the softball team, the hardballers have just two games under their belts and both results came up short. Last Thursday the team dropped a 6-3 outing at Lampeter-Strasburg and Friday suffered a 5-2 loss against visiting Elizabethtown.

The Mules fell behind early against the Pioneers, giving up one run in the first and three more in the third.

"I thought, even though we trailed early, we played well," said head coach Tom Fish. "We were aggressive at the plate, swinging the bats well. Some of our hard hit balls either got caught up in the wind, or were hit right at them."

Solanco mounted a comeback with a three run top of the fifth inning. Hayden Fox and Dawson Kreider collected back-to-back singles. With one out, Tim Fetterman crushed a ball off the fence in left field, scoring Fox.

"That would have been a three run homer on almost any other day," said Fish. "The wind knocked it down."

John Murray followed with a two out, two strike single to right against Lampeter's top relief pitcher (Byler), plating both Kreider and Fetterman.

The Mules had a chance to tie the game in the top of the sixth when Trent Myers singled and stole second to get in scoring position but was left stranded.

L-S, however, gained some breathing room with two runs in the bottom of the sixth, capitalizing on three walks (one intentional), an error and a base hit.

"Hayden started and pitched very well," lauded Fish. "L-S earned everything they got early. They are a strong hitting team. Hayden struck out three and walked three and gave us a chance to win, especially after he settled down and finished his game with zeros in the 3rd, 4th and 5th innings."

Friday saw the Mules again fall behind early, spotting E-town a 2-0 lead before cutting it to 2-1 in the bottom of the second.

The Bears, however, scored two in the fourth, one in the sixth and held Solanco's seventh inning rally to just one and walked away with the 5-2 win.

Corey Stively started on the hill. He struck out five, walked four and gave up three runs and three hits in 4.1 innings of work. Gabe Horn and Coleman Dow pitched in relief. But the Mules played loose behind the pitching staff, committing six errors.

Hunter Shaw went 2-for-3 with a double and one RBI and Fetterman knocked in the second run with a two out single to left. Joel McGuire, Trent Myers and Zack Fritz also collected hits.

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Solanco Claims Five Basketball All-Stars March 18, 2018

Solanco's venture into the PIAA playoffs and their 17-11 overall record did not go without some individual accolades as well. Jess Cabrera, with a 13.1 scoring average, was named as a Section Two First Team all-star while Grace Kreider (11.2 ppg average), who led the team in both steals (103) and assists (82) received Second Team recognition. Team rebound leader (238) Aleksa Burger (10.3 ppg) and sophomore Jenna Dombach (8.6 ppg) were Section Two honorable mention all-stars.

"All four of these young ladies had spectacular seasons and are all deserving of their all-star selections," said head coach Chad McDowell. "However, if you ask any one of them, they would tell you that they could not have been as successful as they were without their teammates. The support and togetherness this team had all season long was a huge factor in our success," he added. "No one player cared who got the credit, as long as we got the outcome we desired each night."

The Mares, who went 9-5 in Section Two and finished second behind Lampeter-Strasburg's 14-0 mark, averaged 52.2 points per game and gave up 47.2. Four of those losses were by six points or less.

"Every game in Section Two was a fight and to finish second was a testament to this team's determination and heart," said McDowell.

Solanco secured that second place spot on the last night of league play with a win over Garden Spot. "Winning so many "must win games" down the stretch gave us confidence heading into playoffs," noted McDowell.

Those playoff games, five in all, started with a home win over West York in the district opener.

"Playing on our home court was electric," said McDowell. "The fans were our sixth man. Last year we missed districts by percentage points so to get a home game this year was awesome. Getting to play multiple district games was a great opportunity for our program to gain valuable experience against quality teams.

"And to qualify for the PIAA tournament provided our young team an opportunity to play at the next level for the first time," he continued. "It was a learning experience and a gauge of how far our program has come and how far we still need to go.

"Overall, it was an outstanding season. This team demonstrated growth as the season progressed," the coach added. "They played as one on the court. They worked together and never quit on themselves, their teammates or their coaches. They played with tremendous heart, passion and dedication every night. I am beyond proud of this team and their commitment in "changing the culture" of the program."

BOYS' BASKETBALL

In other all-star action, senior Aaron Constein, named as a Section Two second team all-star, was the boys' only representative. Constein led team with a 12 ppg average and 34 made three pointers. He tallied a season-high 32 points in Solanco's win over Gettysburg where he was named to the all-tournament team. The senior finished with 485 career points and 55 made threes. He will attend St. Joseph's University in the fall.

WRESTLING

Grayson Charles (138), AJ Wilson (160) and Ben Root, via a fall at 170, all contributed wins as the Lancaster-Lebanon League all-stars defeated the Berks All-Stars 34-18 last Tuesday night at Tulpehocken High School.

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Wilson, Root Earn PIAA Wrestling Medals March 12, 2018

While every athlete dreams of playing in the state playoffs, not many actually get that chance. This past weekend, however, two matmen and the girls' basketball team represented Solanco on the biggest stage of high school sports.

AJ Wilson and Ben Root made the trek to the Giant Center in Hershey to compete in the PIAA Class 3A Individual Wrestling Championships which got underway Thursday, March 8. They battled through and came home with 6th and 7th place, respectively, state medals.

Wilson, wrestling at 160, earned a bye into the Round of 16 and faced Luke Stout of Mt. Lebanon who happened to defeat the Solanco senior 6-1 in the first round of consolations last year at 152. This year Stout topped Wilson again. An escape with 1:52 left was all the scoring needed to drop Wilson into the consolation bracket.

Root drew sophomore Maximus Hale (47-6) in the Round of 16 and also came up short, 3-2. Using a second period escape to take the lead, Root gave up an escape and a takedown to fall behind 3-1 in the third. Root managed a late escape but couldn't grab the lead.

"After those first round bouts I thought maybe we'd be coming home," said head coach John Little. "I felt both had a chance to win those first bouts. Now it's one more loss and they're out. For both of them to come back and place is incredible. It was a grueling task but they accomplished it.

"I reminded them, after that first loss, that they were ready and rested," said Little. "That they shouldn't just hang around and keep things close. They needed to go after it and take some chances. You have to force the pace and hope it works out. It doesn't always, but that's the goal."

Wilson rebounded against Selinsgrove's Coy Bastian. After a scoreless first period against the freshman, Wilson used an escape and a takedown for a pivotal 3-0 lead as neither wrestler scored in the final period.

"That was AJ's 100th career win," noted Little. "He finished with a 102-20 record."

The third consolation round pitted Wilson against Kiski Area sophomore Nick Delp (37-8). Tied at 4-4 in the second period, Wilson gave up an escape but then rallied with a takedown and three nearfall points in the final 30 seconds to advance.

Waiting in the fourth round was another sophomore, Ethan Baney of Southwestern. Wilson got out to a 7-0 lead and earned a 4:49 fall. With a chance for third place, Wilson met up with Stout, again. Failing to avenge his first round loss, Wilson suffered a 9-0 loss. Then, in a battle for fifth place, Wilson came up short, 10-3 against Scranton senior Jacob Burgette (36-7).

He finishes his season with a 40-4 record that includes 14 falls and a sixth place PIAA medal. Erie Cathedral Prep junior Carter Starocci won the 160 pound bracket with a 42-0 record.

Root rebounded in his first consi bout as well, posting a solid 5-2 decision over Hershey's Nyiem Flucas. He used a second period escape and two third period takedowns to advance to consi round two where he went up against Pottsville's Cole Painter. Holding a 4-3 lead after two periods, Root took control in the final seconds, scoring a takedown and two nearfall points to win 11-3.

Root notched his third straight win with a 13-7 result over Kyle Homet (39-6) of Waynesburg. Root used a seven point second period to push out to a 9-3 lead and added a late takedown and nearfall to advance to the fourth consi round opposite Greensburg Salem's Jesse Quatse. Despite a 2-0 first period lead, Root suffered an 11-2 loss just one match away from a chance for third.

He came back to finish seventh overall with a hard-fought 9-6 decision over sophomore Tyler Mousaw of Unionville (35-9). Tied at 5-5 in the second, Root sandwiched Mousaw's escape with a reversal and takedown to earn a PIAA medal. He finishes the season with a 32-4 record and posts a 117-41 career mark.

"After those opening losses I thought AJ and Ben wrestled more up to their potential," said Little. "They both wanted to place higher, of course, but last year they didn't place at all. This is a huge achievement and I'm very pleased and proud of their accomplishments."

In other wrestling news, Wilson, Root and Grayson Charles will compete in the Berks vs. L-L League all-star meet at Tulpehocken this Tuesday.

GIRLS' BASKETBALL

While seniors represented the wrestling team, a team of underclassmen, with just one senior, gained valuable experience with their trip to Marywood University Saturday night. The Mares had a tall task in their PIAA first round game against three time District Two champ Abington Heights. The Comets were playing in their third straight PIAA opener at Insalaco Center and, after losing for two straight seasons, were looking to advance. They did, posting a 53-34 win over the Mares.

The Comets (19-7) scored the first 16 points of the game as they took control early, nailing back-to-back threes for a quick 6-0 lead.

"This was quite a challenge. They have a ton of experience and two college bound athletes," noted head coach Chad McDowell. "Their point guard, Hannah Kowalski (14 points) is heading to the University of Scranton and forward Cassie Ksiazek is heading to East Stroudsburg University.

"When you reach the state playoffs, 31 of 32 teams lose their last game of the season," he continued. "When you get placed in the brackets it is all luck of the draw. We ran into a very good team."

Koisalski and Ksiazek (career high 9 blocks) combined for 13 of the Comets' 23 first quarter points. The Mares managed six points in a valiant effort and four came from reserve Liz Mowrer who finished with a team-high 11 points.

"Liz had a nice game," McDowell praised. "She took advantage of some holes within the zone and got some good looks.

"But overall, we got off to a slow start," the coach continued. "There was some nervous energy and we committed multiple turnovers and had many empty possessions. And we did not shoot very well against their 2-3 matchup zone," he added. "We got good looks, but nothing seemed to fall. We tried to weather the storm, but once Abington Heights took the lead, they never let up," he added. "We needed better execution and more stops on defense. When we are able to run, we are more efficient but we couldn't get into our transition game."

Things settled down after that first quarter with Solanco holding the Comets to 30 points over the next three frames while scoring 28 but the 32-12 first have deficit was too big a hole to dig out of. The Mares were held to 3-of-24 shooting in that first half with Mower hitting all three.

"Our biggest strength was our heart and never quit attitude," McDowell said. "Even though we were down, we never quit playing. This team plays with heart every possession. Our second half execution was much better and we started making shots."

Jess Cabrera followed with 10 points, including 5-for-6 from the free throw line. Grace Kreider scored all five of her points in the fourth quarter, which Solanco won 15-10, dished out three assists and grabbed four steals. Jenna Dombach netted four points and Aleksa Burger, who hauled in seven rebounds, and Jade Eshleman chipped in with two points.

"We met and exceeded many of our expectations and goals this year," McDowell remarked. "We qualified for and played in the league, district and state playoffs and I am proud of these girls for their efforts and accomplishments. They love basketball and continually work on their own to get better. It has been a great season."

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Solanco Advances to PIAA Playoffs March 6, 2018

Solanco heads to the PIAA Class 5A girls' basketball playoffs as the sixth seed from District Three. The Mares won their consolation semifinal game over Spring Grove last Tuesday at Central Dauphin East High School before dropping the fifth place game to Lancaster-Lebanon League foe Lampeter-Strasburg Thursday at Penn Manor.

For the third time this season, Solanco's bid to upend Lampeter-Strasburg fell short, this time in a closer than it appears 68-59 defeat.

"They are obviously very talented offensively," stated Fink of Solanco's eight made three pointers. "But our offense was on against their zone and they had trouble defending our man offense."

Tied at 8-8 midway through the first quarter, Solanco went on an 8-0 run with four straight free throws by Jess Cabrera (17 points, three triples) and buckets by Jenna Dombach (12 points) and Aleska Burger (8 points) for the largest lead of the night, 16-8. L-S responded with a 5-0 run and cut the lead to three, 16-13.

Solanco opened the second frame with a three ball by Grace Kreider (18 points, 4 threes, 4 rebounds, 4 assists) but Brittney Zameroski and Emma Gochnauer, with a game-high 22 points, hit back-to-back bombs to tie the score at 19. A Nora Holmes' three ball gave L-S its first lead since 2-0. A Cabrera triple tied the game at 26-26 but Gochnauer, who had 14 points in the half, gave the Pioneers a push with a three just before the buzzer.

The first six minutes of the third quarter featured an exciting display of three point shooting. Laura Horner and Cabrera took turns and combined for four straight. That run was interrupted by a Cabrera free throw that tied the game at 35-35. But four straight free throws by Hanna Garber put the Pioneers in front for good.

"We shot 40% from the three point line," said head coach Chad McDowell, "and tied our season-high total with eight. L-S made 10 threes."

A trey by Dombach cut the lead to one, 39-38 with 3:54 left but Holmes came off the bench and drilled back-to-back threes giving L-S its biggest lead of the night, 45-38.

"We had several unproductive possessions and then they hit those back-to-back threes," said Solanco boss Chad McDowell. "You can't give a team like L-S those opportunities as they will take advantage of them. This is our first experience in playoffs at this level," he added. "It's a learning experience every time we step on the court."

Holding a 51-44 lead to start the final eight minutes, Garber hit for eight points to extend the advantage to 60-47. Grace Kreider netted eight points including a pair of threes to keep the Mares close and Solanco opted to send the Pioneers (24-4) to the free throw line in hopes of catching up. That worked, to an extent, as L-S hit just 6-of-14 in the final 2:06. Solanco, however, failed to convert at the other end.

"We got the misses we wanted but there were at least three free throw attempts where we were unable to secure the defensive rebound," noted McDowell. "At that junction of the game, we needed those rebounds. I think, for the most of the game, we had the rebounding edge. For the size of our team, we do a good job on the boards."

Burger finished with eight points and led with 10 rebounds and six assists. Kara McClune chipped in with six rebounds, two steals and two points while Liz Mowrer came off the bench with one bucket.

On Tuesday against Spring Grove, the Mares bolted to an 18-5 first quarter lead over the No. 6 seed (16-8) and never looked back in a dominating 53-34 victory.

Cabrera, who led all scorers with 17 points, paced a balanced first quarter with six points while Mowrer, Burger and Kreider each added four.

Solanco held Spring Grove to five second quarter points as well while netting 11 in the second frame. Alana Yoder led the way with four points and Cabrera dropped a triple to maintain the momentum.

Despite holding a 29-10 lead at the break, the Mares struggled out of the break and were outscored 17-9, allowing Spring Grove to cut the lead to 29-27. Unfazed, Solanco got back on track in the fourth quarter, winning the frame 15-7.

The Mares were 13-for-16 from the stripe in this one while Spring Grove was a dismal 6-for-22.

"We gambled on defense when we were trying to trap and speed up the game and put pressure on their guards," said McDowell. "When we forced them to play faster, we committed fouls. We have to have more self-discipline not to foul. It's part of the learning process. It was a plus for us that they missed their shots. They never got closer than 11 points in the second half."

Kreider backed Cabrera with 13 points and was tops with six steals. Burger recorded a double-double with ten in both points and rebounds. She also had four steals. Yoder and Mower each settled for four points, McClune added three, and Dombach, who recorded three assists, added two points.

"Our bench play has been a key to our success this year," noted McDowell. "Liz made an impact inside and Yoder gave us a defensive spark. Her quickness made Spring Grove play faster than they wanted to. Mackenzie Gladfelter also gave us a spark on the boards," he added. "She pulled in six. Hanna Phillips and Paige Phillips also gave us quality minutes. I know I can count on the bench to contribute and in bigger games, this will be crucial to our success."

The Mares opened PIAA action this Saturday against Abington Heights (18-7) at 5:30 pm at Marywood University in Scranton. Solanco last competed in the state playoffs back in 2012. They entered as the No. 4 seed and opened with a 46-39 win over Philadelphia Central. They faced Cheltenham in the second round and bowed out with a 65-36 loss.

WRESTLING

Solanco qualified five wrestlers for the District Three Class 3A Championships at the Giant Center in Hershey on February 22-24. Two of them, AJ Wilson and Ben Root, placed high enough to qualify for this weekend's PIAA Championships, again in Hershey.

"I thought the guys wrestled very well," said head coach John Little. "You always want to get more guys through but I was pleased with the way we wrestled."

Wilson (35-1), the top seed at 160, advanced with a pair of technical falls, blanking Conrad Weiser's Conner McFadden 15-0 and then topping Dallastown's Jarrett Feeney 16-zip.

His 5-2 decision over Ethan Baney, of South Western pushed him to the finals. Wilson needed a first period takedown and a second period escape to top Spring Grove's Anthony Hinson for the gold.

"AJ had a superb tournament," praised Little. "He kept the pressure on his opponents."

The No. 2 seed at 170, Root (27-1) also opened with a shutout, blanking Central York's Antonio Rivera 10-0, and then pinned Cocalico's Owen Zimmerman in just 34 seconds.

In the semifinals, Root used a third period escape to get past Harrisburg's Neamiah Diggs 4-3. Root led 3-2 in the first period before Diggs tied the bout at 3-3 with a second period escape.

"That was an excellent bout, beating a kid who came in with a 29-1 record," noted Little. "Unfortunately, in the finals Ben got caught at the end, going from 4-2 to 10-3 rather quickly against Chambersburg's Luke Nichter, the top seed.

"Both Ben and AJ have been to states before," noted Little. "To place this weekend would be a great achievement. This is a tough tournament and anything can happen, and does."

Solanco's last state medal winner was Bo Spiller who finished second in 2015.

Also competing in the tournament was Sheldon Peiffer (120), Grayson Charles (138) and Nick Yannutz (195).

Peiffer (25-17), a senior, lost his opening bout via fall to top seed Josiah Gehr of Cocalico. In the consolations, Peiffer's season ended with a 9-6 loss to Spring Grove's Chase Bricker.

Charles, also a senior, opened the tournament with a 10-2 major over Spring Grove's Jacob Meyer, leading 5-1 in the second period but then ran into top seed Brandon Connor of Wilson. A first period takedown was all Connor needed to advance.

In the consolations, Charles broke open a scoreless first period with a five point second period en route to a 9-0 major over Chambersburg's Spencer Runshaw. An 8-0 loss to Palmyra's Josh Myers left Charles shooting for a fifth place medal. Unfortunately, Charles faced Connor again where a second period takedown was all the scoring Connor needed.

"I was disappointed for Grayson," said Little. "That was a super tough weight class. He didn't wrestle bad, he was just a couple points short. It was frustrating."

Yannutz was Solanco's final chance for another gold medal. Unfortunately, he fell short. A 6-0 first period lead over Susquehannock's Alex Smith ended with a 4:50 fall for Smith before Charles faced eventual champ and top seed Jake Koser (28-3) in the quarterfinals. Koser pinned Yannutz in 1:34.

Yannutz' season came to a close with a 3-1 loss to West Perry's Jake Quaker. After a scoreless first, Quaker went in front with two nearfall points in the second quarter. Yannutz escaped in the second period but failed to score after that, finishing with a 3-1 loss.

"Nick all but won that last match, against the top seed," noted Little. "He was right there."

The Mules finished the tournament in eighth place.

BOWLING

Solanco's Randi Rambo competed in the Eastern PA Regional Championships on Friday, March 2 at Dutch Lanes in Ephrata where she rolled a five game, 831 total and finished in 82nd place out of 150.

Rambo, bowling independently, also finished in 13th place finish at the District Three championships held at Berks Lanes in Sinking Spring on February 24 where she rolled a 1223 six game qualifying round total, just 44 pins shy of advancing to the finals.

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Mares Top West York in District Opener March 1, 2018

Six years ago Solanco's girls' basketball team qualified for the District Three playoffs as the 17th seed. They lost their opening round game to Governor Mifflin, 47-43. Fast-forward to last Tuesday night where the No. 7 Mares hosted West York (13-9), seeded tenth, and came away with a 51-47 victory.

Fighting from behind early, Jess Cabrera's triple tied the game at 6-6. Aleksa Burger followed with a bucket in the paint and Jenna Dombach chipped in with a free throw for a 9-6 Solanco lead. They never trailed after that. In fact, Dombach drilled a pair of treys, the second leading to the home team's biggest lead of the quarter, 17-8 with two minutes left on the clock.

They finished on top 18-11 but West York, with three sophomore starters, was determined to make a comeback. With both teams trading baskets early in the second quarter, the Mares used back-to-back buckets by Dombach and another by Grace Kreider to take the largest lead of the night, 29-16 with 3:46 left in the half. The visitors, however, with some strong post play, erased the deficit with a 9-0 run, cutting the lead to 29-23. With 43 seconds left in the half, Cabrera caused a turnover and Solanco converted with a three ball by Kreider. Burger followed that with a put back at the buzzer for a 34-23 Solanco advantage.

"Their size was a concern going in," said head coach Chad McDowell, "but I thought we did a pretty good job. They did outrebound us (40-34), but we got some key boards on key possessions late in the game. Burger (12 boards) and Dombach (10) did an outstanding job rebounding," he added. "For their size, they get a ton of boards for us."

With a pair of transition buckets and a putback, West York started the third quarter with determination and cut the lead to 34-29. Cabrera and Burger traded three-pointers with the Bulldogs who again closed the gap to 38-35 with 2:43 left in the frame. The Mares, however, finished strong. Cabrara scored off a steal by Liz Mowrer, Dombach popped a jumper and Mowrer scored in the paint to extend the lead to 44-35.

"West York seemed to gain a little momentum when they cut the lead to three but we responded with a run that switched the momentum back in our favor," McDowell said.

Struggling to score in the fourth quarter, the Mares connected on just one field goal, a jumper by Kreider and went 6-for-11 from the free throw line to stay in front. The Bulldogs cut the lead to four, 50-46, with 1:25 left to play and Solanco put their four corner, use the clock offense into action. West York, needing to foul, put the Mares on the line three different times down the stretch. The hosts converted just two of five free throws over the last 1:18, and were 8-for-20 for the game, but held on for the win. The Bulldogs outscored the Mares 24-18 in the second half to keep the game close.

"Grace Kreider and Jess Cabrera took control of the game," said McDowell. "They were leaders both offensively and defensively. And Liz Mowrer was a spark off the bench. She was a good matchup with their post players and did a nice job defending them as did Kara McClune and Mackenzie Gladfelter.

"I thought in the first half we were able to get out and run in transition," the coach continued. "When we run, we get easy looks or kick outs for shots. In the second half we got a little conservative on offense and we were not getting back on defense."

Solanco got a 13 point effort from both Dombach (3 assists) and Cabrera while Burger (2 steals) chipped in with 12. Kreider added seven points, grabbed six boards and was tops with five assists. Mowrer (3 rebounds) and McClune, who battled foul trouble, combined for seven points.

West York sophomore Makennah Hoffman, with 13 points in the first half, finished with a game-high 23.

"I thought we played a complete team game," lauded McDowell. "We needed everyone to contribute and they did. The atmosphere in the gym was electric, from the Black Hole being filled, to the Pep Band, and all the fans and supporters that filled the gym. They were our sixth man!"

Due to early deadlines, district wrestling results and the girls' district quarterfinal game against Harrisburg will be reported in the March 7 edition.

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Solanco Advances Five to District Wrestling February 19, 2018

On an action-packed Saturday, with fewer breaks due to the weather, Solanco's wrestling team finished in fifth place out of 15 teams, and came home with seven medal winners at the District Three Class 3A Section II tournament at Hempfield High School. Five of those medal winners extended their season by qualifying for the District Three Championships which get underway this Thursday at the Giant Center.

"As a team, we wrestled very well and exceeded our expectations," said head coach John Little. "We were hoping to get three guys through to districts and we have five. It was a good weekend."

Central Dauphin claimed the team title with 208 points and three champions. Manheim Central (181.5), Lower Dauphin (157), Penn Manor (143.5) and Solanco (119.5) rounded out the top five.

Both AJ Wilson (160) and Ben Root (170) were crowned champions while Grayson Charles (138) finished second for the fourth straight year. Nick Yannutz grabbed the bronze at 195 and Sheldon Peiffer was the fourth Mule to qualify for districts with a fourth place finish. Zach Spade and Chase Charles both earned fifth place medals.

Wilson won his third career title with a 4-0 decision over Penn Manor's Nick Baker. The senior opened quarterfinals action with a 1:23 fall over E-town's Javen Thomas and then posted a 10-2 major over Central Dauphin's Timmy Smith to get to the finals.

Root, also a senior, defended his title with a solid 8-2 decision over Hershey's Nyiem Flucas. He also opened the tournament with a first period fall, decking Lampeter-Strasburg's Connor Penry in 1:27. Root dominated Darius Briggs, of Milton Hershey, 11-1 in the semis.

Though Charles settled for silver for his fourth straight season, he did join the 100 match win club with his 19-2 semifinals result against Palmyra's Josh Myers before bowing out with a 4-0 loss to Tt Elhajj of Lower Dauphin. Charles earned a 2:54 fall over Township's David Ober in the quarterfinals.

Charles is the third member of his family to hit the century mark, joining his father, Wink, and older brother David (Wink). They are believed to be the first father/son trio in Lancaster-Lebanon League history to be 100 match winners.

"I coached Grayson's brother and his father during his senior year," noted Little.

Yannutz, just a sophomore, will make his district debut with his bronze medal finish. He got off to a rough start, getting pinned by E-town's Blake Andrews in the quarterfinals but battled back with three straight wins, working a 7-1 decision over Lampeter's Johnny Franklin, handing Warwick's Steven Seepaul a 10-4 loss and then pinning Penn Manor's TJ Keener in 2:48.

"Nick did a great job coming back to place," said Little. "He lost to the Warwick kid at the leagues so it was nice to get that one."

Also qualifying was Peiffer with that fourth place finish. Like Wilson, Root and Charles, Peiffer opened with a fall, this one in the round of 16 against Milton Hershey's Derrick Nihn. Unfortunately, in the quarterfinals he met up with eventual champ Cade Zeamer, of Manheim Central, and was knocked to the consolations with a 4:48 fall.

The senior rallied with wins over Township's Cade Clancy (9-7) and Palmyra's Matt Carroll (3:45 fall) before settling for fourth with a 13-3 loss to McCaskey's Nevin Estevez.

Adding to the point total with fifth place efforts was Spade, who went 2-2 on the day at 126. He blanked Hempfield's Caleb Shultz 11-0 in the consolations after suffering a 4:51 fall to eventual second place winner Nick Fafel, of Penn Manor. Spade was also pinned by Central's Conner Zeamer, the third place finisher, before capping the day with a 4:22 fall over Alec Merry of Lower Dauphin.

Chase Charles, a junior, pinned Donegal's Matt Ober in 2:39 before losing a 16-1 tech fall to eventual second place finisher Zach Zeamer, of Manheim Central. Charles rebounded with a 3:51 fall over McCaskey's J Holland but came up short, 4-1, in the consi-semis opposite Penn Manor's Cade Rogers. He wrapped up the action with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Lampeter's Michael Hazboun.

"Chase had a great day and was in every match," said Little. "We strive to wrestle like that all season."

Also picking up a win was Joey Vandegriff who opened with an 8-7 thriller over Penn Manor's Ian Young.

"That kid beat Joey during the regular season so this was a good start," note Little.

Also competing for the Mules was Dominic Flatt (106), Tucker Pierson (152) and Shaneef Carter (182).

As for districts, "everyone except Nick has been there before," noted Little, "but it's a tough road."

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Mules Secure First Section Two Win, Beat Central February 5, 2018

While the wins haven't been coming as much as the boys' basketball team would like, their work ethic hasn't dwindled. The young Mules continue to put forth the effort but struggle to put together a full game. Last week's schedule included three games and Solanco's first league victory.

The Mules opened against second place Ephrata (9-4, 16-5 overall) Tuesday night, fell behind 10-0 and never recovered in a 53-24 home loss.

"Ephrata is a very good team," said head coach Scott Long. "They will be in league and district playoffs and possibly states."

The Mounts opened their 10-0 run with a trey and closed it with another. Solanco finally got on the board with a bucket by Aaron Constein at the 3:12 mark but Ephrata answered with back-to-back threes and led 18-4 by the end of the frame.

The second quarter was much closer but the Mounts continued to hold the advantage, 14-11, and led 32-15 at the half.

The Mules struggled at the offensive end through the second half, scoring just nine points but held the Mounts to 21.

"Our team is shooting 35.7% from the field on the season," noted Long. "And we are averaging 15 turnovers a game. Ideally, we want to be under 12 turnovers, and shoot in the low 40's. Obviously these numbers explain some of our offensive issues this year," added. "We are also shooting 59% from the foul line and need to be up near 70% in order to compete."

Constein knocked down a team-high 12 points and was the only double figure scorer for the Mules.

One night later, the Mules were back at it, this time hosting Manheim Central and avenging a ten point first round loss with their first Section Two win of the season, 41-38.

"We played some zone defense this time and it seemed to bother them," recalled Long. "Carson Kilgore was phenomenal on the defensive end. He played key spots in our 1-3-1 and 2-3 zones."

With three triples in the first quarter, two by Dawson Kreider, the Mules jumped out to an 11-4 first quarter lead. In the second frame however, Solanco managed just seven points, four by Braden Redcay, and fell behind 19-18 at the break.

In a back-and-forth third quarter, the Mules got six points from Constein and edged the Barons 10-8 for a 28-27 lead.

Constein and Zed Baker drilled key threes and Redcay added four points but it was Kreider's two free throws with nine seconds left that put the Mules in front, 41-38, for good.

"It's not easy to give enough effort to win a game like this when it's late in the year and you haven't won much," said Long, "but we did. It says a lot about our kids' toughness and perseverance to keep fighting when they aren't getting the results they want. That skill will help them in life.

"The bottom line is that we hit just enough big shots to beat them," he added.

Kreider led all scorers with 12 points while Constein and Redcay, who was 6-for-7 from the foul line, each added 10.

Friday night the Mules traveled to Donegal where a 28-16 second half effort by the Indians spelled doom for the visitors in a 55-40 result.

The Indians, just above the Mules in the section standings, opened with a 14-10 lead only to see the visitors win the second frame 14-13. Single digit scoring for Solanco in the second half quarters was the difference.

"At the end of the third quarter we turned the ball over and gave up an and-one," noted Long. "We finished down seven and couldn't recover.

"We were short-handed in this one with Jon Rush and Zed Baker out sick," he added. "This opened the door for Dom Messano to play some quality varsity minutes, and forced Kilgore (6 points) to be more aggressive offensively. Both played well and we are excited about them."

Redcay, with 12 points, was the top scorer for Solanco with Constein netting double figures as well with 11. Jay Boyle and Jack Boomsma chipped in with four points each and Kreider added three.

GIRLS' BASKETBALL

With two wins and a single loss last week, the Mares are still battling for playoff position. A win this week against Garden Spot will lock up sole possession of second place.

With each game crucial to their post-season positioning, last week's games were mini playoffs in themselves. Solanco opened the week at Ephrata and, after suffering a 44-42 loss back on January 11, came away with a convincing 56-42 victory that was fueled by a 22-5 run that started in the first quarter and ended with a 24-12 halftime lead.

"Two big shots triggered that run," recalled head coach Chad McDowell. "Alana Yoder's put back at the first quarter buzzer tied the game at 9-9. Then, on Ephrata's first possession of the second half, they hit a three to go up 12-9. Jess Cabrera answered, tying the game at 12. We never looked back."

That Ephrata three ball accounted for their entire second quarter scoring while the Mares, behind Cabrera (6 points on 2 threes) and Kara McClune (4 points) fueled a 13 point quarter.

The second half was much closer with the Mounts winning 32-30 but it wasn't enough.

"We maintained the lead and executed," said McDowell. "We did what we needed to do to secure the win. The first time we played them, we out played them for about three and a half quarters but they hit a tough shot to win the game," he added. "This time we made sure we did not put ourselves in that situation. We took care of business."

Aleksa Burger led the stat sheet in both points (16) and rebounds (6). Cabrera followed with 12 points, and McClune hit for ten and was tops with four steals. Jenna Dombach led with four assists and added eight points and five rebounds. Settling in with six points, four rebounds, four steals and three assists was Grace Kreider while Yoder added four points.

The JV team, behind Jade Eshleman's five points, dropped a 35-20 result.

On the road again one night later, the Mares got off to a sluggish start and never recovered as Manheim Central avenged their 58-47 first half loss with a 54-50 win.

"We came out slow and I believe were feeling the effects of back-to-back nights," McDowell stated. "We made too many mistakes at crucial times and it cost us. But even with those mistakes, we still had opportunities to tie or win the game in the last minute."

The Mares worked on a come-back in the second quarter, outscoring the hosts 13-6 to take a 24-22 lead at the break. With Solanco holding a 13-12 edge in the third quarter, neither team gained much ground. The visitors held a 37-34 advantage with eight minutes left but couldn't hold on. The Barons, sparked by Laura Good's nine point quarter (game-high 26) rallied for the win, outscoring the Mares 20-13 to stay in the mix for an L-L playoff berth.

"Their big kid (Serena Conde) was a concern coming in but she never got going," said McDowell. "Liz Mowrer, Kara McClune and Mackenzie Gladfelter did a great job defending her in the post.

"We did get into a bit of foul trouble (the Barons were 11-for-20)," he added. "We allowed too much dribble penetration. And Manheim missed some key free throws which left the door open for us to tie or win the game."

But, with ten seconds remaining, Solanco turned the ball over and had to foul to regain possession. The Barons made those two free throws to ice the win.

Cabrera hit three treys on the night and finished with 15 points and Mowrer added a season-high 12. Kreider, who led with four steals and four assists, and Burger, with a team high 12 rebounds, finished with eight points each. Dombach (5 points, 5 rebounds) and Gladfelter (2 points, 3 rebounds) also contributed.

The JV team picked up a 39-16 win behind Eshleman (10 points), Paige Phillips (9 points) and Angela Cylc (8 points).

The team capped a busy week with their biggest win, a dominating 72-58 result against visiting Donegal.

"We played a complete game from start to finish," said McDowell. "We wanted to get out to a quick start and we did just that. And we used the energy from the crowd to jump start us."

With a run and gun game plan set up by utilizing steals and controlling the rebounds, the Mares netted 17 points in the first, third and fourth quarters and knocked down 21 in the second frame.

"We have prided ourselves all season long on conditioning," said McDowell. "We knew we could wear Donegal down so we ran and ran and then ran some more. Grace, Jess and Alana did a great job getting into the passing lanes, disturbing Donegal's game flow and getting steals while Jenna, Aleksa, Kara and Mackenzie controlled the boards which led to great outlet passes and the ability to get up the floor quickly," he added. "We made the right passes at the right time. Unselfish basketball will win you a lot of games."

Up 17-12 in the first quarter, Cabrera kick started the second quarter with ten of her team-high 21 points and propelled the Mares to a 38-22 lead at the break.

Kreider netted a pair of third quarter triples and Solanco outscored the visitors 17-13 to extend the advantage.

Donegal, led by 1000 point scorer Carly Diffenderfer and teammate Kiera Baughman, combined for 50 of Donegal's 58 points and led a 23-17 fourth quarter rally that featured 6-of-7 free throws but wasn't enough to take over the lead.

"They have two outstanding players who find a way to get open and get shots," said McDowell. "Obviously we wanted to limit their production.

"I think the home court atmosphere was a big advantage," he added. "The gym was packed. It had to be one of the biggest crowds for a girl's game in my tenure. We thank the Pep Band, the Black Hole, the girls' Youth Basketball Program and all our loyal fans for their support. They were our sixth man!"

Backing Cabrera with double digit points was Burger and Kreider with 16 and 14 respectively. Dombach (7), Yoder, McClune and Hanna Phillips (4 each) and Gladfelter (2) also contributed.

The JV team got nine points each from Jade Eshleman, Angela Cylc and Sammi Jackson in a 29-26 win over the Indians.

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Mares in the Middle of Section Two Log Jam January 30, 2018

In the log jam that has become the Section Two standings, all four of Solanco's games last week were critical to their obtaining a playoff berth. On Monday the Mares defeated Manheim Central 58-47. One night later they suffered a ten point loss to section undefeated L-S and then wrapped up the week by taking care of Lebanon on Friday, 53-23. With four games left, they sit at 6-4 in the standings with Donegal, Ephrata, and Garden Spot at 6-5 and Manheim Central and 5-5. Solanco faces all four of these teams over the next two weeks. They control their own destiny.

Baron sharpshooter Lily Doerschuk swished five straight triples, including three in the first half, and finished with a team-high 15 against Solanco. But the hosts got another impressive performance from Grace Kreider, who dropped in 22 for the second time in three games, and Jess Cabrera chipped in with 20.

"It was a scrappy, physical game," stated McDowell. "Our goal is to outwork and out hustle teams. I thought we did a good job of working hard."

Doerschuk opened the scoring with a trey for Manheim's only lead of the night. Kreider matched that effort and sparked the Mares who opened with a 13-3 run. Kreider capped the quarter with back-to-back steals converted into layups for a 19-11 lead in the first quarter.

Solanco opened the second frame with a 6-0 run and held their biggest lead of the night, 31-15, on a bucket by Cabrera, who netted 11 in the quarter.

The Barons hit three triples in the third quarter with the third one cutting Solanco's led to 44-37 with 1:26 left. They converted a Solanco turnover 26 seconds later for a 7-0 run and were gaining momentum before Kara McClune, who finished with seven points, squashed their hopes with a buzzer beating three pointer.

Solanco's 7-0 run early in the fourth quarter pushed the lead back to 12 as the final outcome was never really in doubt.

"Basketball is a game of runs," said head coach Chad McDowell. "We had to withstand their run and finish the game in fourth quarter. Our fourth quarters have been very positive for us recently."

Coming off a 27 point outing in a win over Donegal, Manheim's Brooke Breinich, a Messiah College recruit, was held to five points.

The Mares, who lost to the Pioneers by 15 the first time around, were gunning for an upset Tuesday night. Both teams combined for seven first quarter threes with Solanco's Jenna Dombach dropping in one with 2.5 left to knot the score at 18-18.

The second quarter, however, proved to be the difference as the Mares managed just one point, and L-S pushed ahead by nine with a triple at the buzzer.

"They're not a big team but they're a scrappy, hard-nosed team," said Pioneer boss Tony Fink of the Mares. "And they had 12 offensive boards to our five. I thought we did a better job defensively in that second quarter when we turned it around."

"We had one bad quarter," said McDowell. "Take away the second quarter and it's a completely different game. If they would not have hit that buzzer beating three, we would have only been down six at the half instead of nine. Three points is huge in a close game."

Both teams refused to budge through the second half. Solanco got to within seven, 31-24, on a free throw by Hanna Phillips while a free throw by Emma Gochenaur with 43 seconds left in the third quarter gave L-S its biggest lead, 41-29.

The scrappy, physical play continued through the final eight minutes. L-S hit both ends of a one-and-one for the largest lead of the night, 47-33. Again the visitors whittled away but never got closer than 10.

"We only had nine turnovers, a season-low, but they were at crucial times and swung the momentum of the game," McDowell remarked. "Good teams take advantage of miscues."

Solanco's Grace Kreider and Gochnauer shared game-high honors with 14 each. Cabrera added 13 points.

In Lebanon on Friday, the Mares held the Cedars to single digit scoring in all four quarters and took care of business with a 53-23 victory.

Burger paced the attack, bucketing a career-high 19 points, including nine in the second quarter, with Cabrera adding 12 and Kreider chipping in with 10.

"Aleksa played very well in the paint," noted McDowell. "She got most of her points around the rim. She works hard and prides herself on getting rebounds and put backs."

Holding a 10-8 lead in the first quarter, Solanco outscored the hosts 33-6 over the middle two frames to easily pull away.

"At this point in the season, we can't take any team for granted," said McDowell. "We got the result we expected and the girls did what they needed to do. Our unselfish play continued to be a huge key to why we continue to win games."

WRESTLING

After a disappointing loss to Hempfield Wednesday night, the Mules competed in the League Championships at Garden Spot this past weekend, coming home with five medal winners. Manheim Central upended two time defending League Champ Lebanon to take top billing. The Mules 7th out of 22 teams.

"It was a good weekend and the team wrestled to their potential," said head coach John Little. "If we had Caleb Tucker (injury) and Joey Vandegriff (flu) we probably could have placed higher."

Ben Root, AJ Wilson and Grayson Charles all earned gold in their respective weights. Root defended his title at 170 with a 14-2 major decision over Lebanon's Ethan Herb. He pinned his way to the finals, decking Catholic's Dylan Joachim (:50), Penn Manor's Marquis Sweigart (1:09) and Manheim's Andrew Seigrist (:26) to get to the finals.

Wilson, wrestling at 160, earned his first L-L League title with a solid 9-0 major over Northern Lebanon's returning champ Blaise Bressler. After missing the tournament as a freshman and sophomore, due to injuries, Wilson was pinned by Bressler in last year's semis and this year suffered a 7-3 decision to the Cedar's senior in the finals of the Mule Classic.

Charles earned his second title with a first period fall over Garden Spot's Gunner Gehr, pushing his career total to 98 wins.

Like Root, Charles also secured three falls to get to the finals. He pinned Warwick's Preston Johnson in 2:22, Township's David Over in 2:24 and Penn Manor's Chad Mowbray in 3:08. For his efforts, he received the Shorty Hitchcock Award for most pins in the least amount of time.

Solanco also benefitted from a pair of fifth place medal winners. Senior Sheldon Peiffer (120) and sophomore Nick Yannutz (195) contributed to the Mules' seventh place team finish. Yannutz got past TJ Keener with a 7-0 decision while Peiffer defeated Comet freshman Dylan Coleman via forfeit.

Earlier in the week and in their last Section One dual meet of the season, the Mules, tied at 24-24 with five bouts left, dropped a 40-36 result against Hempfield after winning just two of those last bouts, both were by forfeit.

Yannutz opened the scoring with a 1:05 fall over Luke Dreyer (220) but then Solanco forfeited at 285 and 113 and Dominic Flatt went out via injury in between as Hempfield built an 18-6 advantage.

Peiffer (120), Zach Spade (126) and Chase Charles (132) rallied with three straight major decisions to knot the score at 18-18 while G. Charles, with a 49 second fall, gave Solanco its second lead of the night. That was short-lived, however, as Christian Carr pinned Joey Vandergriff (145) to tie the score at 24 all and set the stage for a Hempfield finish that included a major decision at 160 and the match clinching fall at 195.

BOYS' BASKETBALL

With a grueling four games in five days schedule, the Mules came away with just one win but two of their losses were by a combined 18 points, showing remarkable improvement.

Solanco opened with a Monday night 55-45 loss at Manheim Central. Unfortunately two inconsistent scoring quarters were the difference. A 16-7 second quarter deficit turned a one point Baron advantage into a 25-15 lead at the break.

The Mules, behind Brandon Redcay's six points, rallied in the third, outscoring the hosts 18-11 to cut the lead to 36-33. The Barons, however, pulled away down the stretch, canning 13-of-17 free throws in the quarter and outscoring the Mules 19-1.

Aaron Constein, with 11, was the only double digit scorer for the Mules. Redcay finished with eight points and Carson Kilgore was a perfect 6-for-6 from the charity stripe where the Mules were 14-of-26 for the game.

After losing to the section leading Pioneers (10-1) by 32 points and giving up 17 to Ryan Smith, who has scored 30 points five times this season, the Mules decided to double team Lampeter's center. Their effort did result in a second loss but this time it was 53-34 and Smith managed a season-low five.

"I give them credit because they did something no other team has done this year in doubling Ryan," said Pioneer boss Ed Berryman. "Because of that, we really couldn't get into a flow. But others stepped up. Our depth was the difference."

The Mules, despite canning nine treys on the night, two each by Dawson Kreider, Jack Boomsma and Zach Wiker, were held to single digit scoring in each of the first three quarters and fell behind 42-22. Wiker nailed both his triples in the fourth quarter to spark a 12-11 Solanco advantage but it wasn't enough.

Boomsma's nine points were high for the home team with Kreider and Wiker each adding six.

Sometimes it's more than just winning and losing. Sometimes it's about giving. Such was the case Thursday night as the Mules battled Lancaster Country Christian in a fund-raising event at Lancaster Bible College. The proceeds went to Wonder Club Early Learning Center, an outreach of the Water Street Rescue Mission.

While Boomsma led all scorers with a career-high 19 points, and the Mules secured its third win of the season, 53-40, it was a game that was about more than basketball.

"We were able to raise just over $1000," said head coach Scott Long. "It was great to be able to serve others through a game that we all love. There are so many great reasons to play sports; one of them being opportunities to serve others. Our kids have been awesome with that. They have been to the elementary schools to ready to students, they've raised money for hurricane relief in Houston, they've connected with struggling students in difficult situations, and now this even for the Wonder Club," he continued. "My hope is that they leave our program and never stop looking for ways that they can help those around them."

The Mules jumped out to a 27-14 first half lead and outscored the Lions 13-8 in the third quarter to extend the advantage, 40-22. Jon Rush finished with seven points and both Constein and Joey Gote added five each.

Though Friday's 59-51 result against E-town was a loss, it was a better performance than their 26 point deficit the first time around. Tied at 31 all at the half, the Bears rallied down the stretch, outscoring Solanco 28-20 to steal the win.

"Joey Gote (8 points/6 rebounds) played very well this game and senior Jay Boyle (4 points) defended well," noted Long. "We gave up some costly offensive rebounds and had a couple of unforced turnovers in the last four minutes and if you want to win a close game, you have to execute."

Rush paced the offense with 14 points and Kreider chipped in with 11.

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Solanco Matmen Fall Short Against Penn Manor January 22, 2018

With a chance to move into second place in the Section One standings, Solanco, despite the school cancellations, traveled to Millersville Wednesday night for the anticipated matchup with the Comets. Unfortunately the Mules came away with just six wins on the night, two by forfeit, and fell to 4-2 with a 41-30 result. The Comets improved to 5-1 (8-3 overall), falling in behind Cocalico (5-0).

"I thought we had a good chance to win," said head coach John Little, "but I thought we looked a bit flat again. Even if we had won, I'd still say we didn't look our sharpest.

"A couple toss up bouts, 145 and 152, didn't go our way and we were expecting a no contest at 220 but they took the forfeit," he added. "Penn Manor just seemed a bit more after it than we were."

Both teams traded forfeits to start the night and the Comets jumped ahead 18-6 when Tanner Stefanick (106) pinned Dominick Flatt and the Mules forfeited at 113.

Sheldon Peiffer's major decision at 120 cut the lead to 18-10 but that was as close as the Mules would get. Peiffer turned a 6-2 first quarter lead over Owen Rohrer into a 16-7 final score.

But the Comets forged ahead. Nick Fafel (126) pinned Zach Spade in 2:58 and freshman Caden Rogers turned a 3-2 first period lead into an 11-3 major decision with a takedown at the buzzer.

Grayson Charles earned a key fall at 138, turning Chad Mowbray with 39 seconds left in the second period to keep the Mules within striking distance, 28-16.

Again the Comets countered. Ian Young (145) used a pair of takedowns and an escape to top Joey Vandegriff 5-1 and in the most exciting bout of the night, Kole Marley pinned Tucker Pierson in overtime. Up 5-4 in the second, Pierson fell behind 9-7 before a takedown with 14 seconds left in the bout knotted the score at 9-9. Marley, however, turned a quick takedown into a fall.

"I thought 145 and 152 were key bouts," said Little. "I really felt we had the chance to win both."

AJ Wilson quieted the home crowd with a dominating 13-0 result against Nick Baker and Ben Root accepted forfeit points at 170, closing the lead to 37-26 with two bouts remaining.

Needing two falls to win, Solanco gave up a major decision at 182 before Nick Yannutz worked a 10-2 major over AJ Cox in the final bout of the night, 195.

"We've changed up our practices to try to rejuvenate the team," said Little, "but sometimes it comes down to them. And sometimes it's just tough to be on all the time. We're young and we're still lacking depth and experience and then you throw a couple forfeits in there..."

Over the weekend the Mules competed in the Cocalico Duals where they finished in fifth place out of ten teams. The Mules defeated Westtown, 58-18 and Allentown Central Catholic, 54-21 before suffering back-to-back losses to Garden Spot, 45-33 and Downingtown East, 54-29. They wrapped up the day with a 40-33 win over Wilson.

"We definitely wrestled better than we did against Penn Manor," said Little. "Unfortunately, the day started with senior Caleb Tucker suffering a knee injury that will probably keep him out for the season.

"But the highlight of the day was Ben Root earning his 100th career bout with a 1:20 fall in the Garden Spot match."

The senior becomes the 18th Solanco grappler to reach the milestone. He is currently 100-34 after going 5-0 on the day along with Nick Yannutz (5 pins), Sheldon Peiffer (4 pins) and AJ Wilson. Grayson Charles went 4-1.

"Tucker Pierson also had a nice day with three wins," said Little. "This is really his first year on varsity."

BOYS' BASKETBALL

With the weather throwing a wrench into the schedule, the boys' basketball team had just one game last week and is currently in the midst of four games in a five day stretch.

Last Friday, after suffering a hard-fought 48-41 loss to Cocalico on December 18, the Mules were looking to split the series and grab their first Section Two win. The Eagles, however, were looking to move up in the standings. Despite holding an 18-16 first half advantage, the Mules were dealt another seven point loss, this time 41-35.

"Another tough loss for the Mules," said head coach Scott Long. "Things just haven't gone our way recently. We felt like this was a game we could have/should have won."

Aaron Constein's nine point first quarter sparked Solanco's 11-9 edge at the end of eight minutes. He and Jon Rush tied for game-high honors with 12 points each with Rush scoring all of his points in the second half.

"Aaron started off hot, hitting four of five shots in that first quarter," noted Long.

The Eagles, with a 10-7 advantage in the third quarter, took a slim 26-25 lead after three.

Free throws were the deal breaker in this one. Cocalico (4-5, 6-10 overall) knocked down 11-of-15 attempts, including 8-of-10 in the fourth quarter while the Mules converted just 8-of-17 attempts in the game.

"Cocalico played man the whole game," said Long. "But the lack of scoring was our inability to be consistent with ball and player movement. And part of the issue was the lack of practice time due to the recent weather, but there really is no excuse. We settled for too many jumpers and did not look to attack the front of the rim," he added. "Also, at one point we missed six straight free throws. It's hard to win close games when you miss so many free throws."

Joey Gote and Dawson Kreider combined for 10 points as the Mules fell to 2-10 overall.

"On the plus side, Carson Kilgore held their leading scorer, Aiden Trynosky (15 ppg avg), to three points," Long pointed out. "He did a great job. And Joey Gote had 13 rebounds. He's a big kid (6'5") who is getting better every week. I'm exciting to see how he keeps improving."

GIRLS' BASKETBALL

Playing back-to-back games last week, Grace Kreider exploded for a game and season-high 22 points as the Mares swept the series against Cocalico with a 17 point win on Friday, 57-40. Playing again one day later, Solanco fought from behind and, with four players in double figures, topped visiting Kennard-Dale 59-56.

With seven of her 22 in the first quarter, Kreider did the bulk of her heavy lifting in the fourth frame, bucketing 15 points and sparking the visitors' 24-point effort down the stretch. Kreider sank three triples on the night (two in the fourth) as five Mares hit from beyond the arc as the team nailed a season-high eight, hitting at least one long range shot in each quarter.

"Grace had a good start but due to foul trouble, sat the entire second quarter," noted head coach Chad McDowell. "She was a large part of the game-changing fourth quarter."

Aleksa Burger, who finished with 16 points and a team-high four steals, added to the fourth quarter barrage with seven.

While Solanco was dropping in threes, the Eagles were trying to remain within striking distance at the free throw line but managed just 13-of-22 attempts.

Cocalico cut the lead to 33-30 early in the fourth but Solanco's increased defensive pressure kept them from getting closer.

"At one point we had three consecutive possessions where we got steals and converted with layups," said McDowell. "This was a momentum changer. We focused on conditioning in the pre-season and it is definitely showing in the fourth quarter of many games. We have worn teams down and used solid fourth quarters to win games."

Jenna Dombach, who led with five rebounds, and Jess Cabrera combined for 14 points. Kara McClune (2 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals) and Paige Phillips (3 points) also contributed.

One night later, despite trailing for all but two minutes, the Mares placed four players in double figures and pulled out a 59-56 thriller over visiting Kennard-Dale.

Dombach, with eight in the second quarter, led all scorers with 19 points. Cabrera bucketed 15 points, Kreider added 13 and Burger chipped in with 10 as a balanced attack contributed to the win.

Down 16-10 in the first and 26-21 at the half, Solanco began its comeback in the third quarter, outscoring the Rams 16-14, but didn't take their first lead until two minutes remaining.

"I believe a key to much of our fourth quarter successes has been due to our focus on conditioning," said McDowell. "When you still have energy left in the tank, and the other team is winded, good things happen.

"Jenna hit two big shots in the third quarter to keep the game close and Jess tied the score at 51-51 with her second three of the game," he recalled. "That switched the momentum and was a great boost to propel us to the win."

Cabrera netted nine points in that fourth quarter and Dombach went 5-for-6 from the free throw line as the Mares snagged the victory with a 22-16 quarter advantage.

Prior to the game, the team honored Liz Mowrer as part of the senior night celebration.

"I am appreciative and thankful for all that Liz has brought to our team over the past three seasons," said McDowell. "She is a complete team player and will do anything needed for the betterment of the team. She will continue her education at St. John Fisher University in New York and will continue to be involved in sports playing softball."

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Kreider Scores Game-Winner Against Donegal January 15, 2018

Three games decided by seven total points. One win and two losses. That was the saga of Solanco's girls' basketball team last week as the first half of Section Two all but came to a close. The results leave the girls log jammed in a section where four teams are battling for third place. Lampeter-Strasburg sits on top at 7-0. Ephrata falls into second place at 5-2 with Donegal at 4-3. Solanco and Manheim Central are knotted at 3-3. They battle it out in Quarryville this week.

The Mares traveled to Donegal Tuesday night and pulled out a 72-70 come-from-behind win on a perfectly executed give-and-go by Grace Kreider and Aleksa Burger. The hosts knotted the score at 70-70 with 15 seconds left to play. Kreider penetrated at the top of the circle, kicked the ball out to Burger on the wing and then cut backdoor, getting the ball back from Burger and laying in the game-winner with two seconds remaining.

"It was a physical game and tightly contested throughout," said head coach Chad McDowell. "Free throws became a key part of the game."

Key indeed. The Mares nailed 14-of-16 attempt, canning 7-of-8 in the first quarter which Donegal won 18-17. The Indians made their way to the charity stripe as well but connected on only 19-of-27 attempts.

The Indians, behind Carly Diffenderfer's 14 point second quarter, took a 39-35 lead at the half. Jenna Dombach's five points paced Solanco.

The pace continued in the third quarter and the Indians gained another two points, outscoring the Mares 14-12 for a 53-47 lead with eight minutes remaining.

"In the second half we really focused on taking away Donegal's dribble penetration and getting stops on the defensive end," said McDowell.

That focus paid off as the Mares, behind Jess Cabrera's 11 point quarter, outscored the hosts 25-17 to pick up the victory.

Cabrera netted a team high 21 points and dished out six assists. Dombach followed with 19 points and five rebounds while Kreider also hit for double figures with 12 and was tops with six steals. Burger, with a team-high seven rebounds, added nine points. Liz Mowrer (6), Kara McClune (3) and Alana Yoder (2) also contributed.

The JV team, behind a nine point effort by Paige Phillips, beat Donegal 27-16. Jade Eshleman added six points.

Thursday's home game with Ephrata did not feature as many free throws but was highlighted by eight made three pointers, four in the first half by the Mounts leading scorer Gabi Herola-Hill who bucketed a game-high 15 points.

"They hit six of their first seven shots and three were deep three pointers," recalled McDowell.

The visitors jumped in front early, taking an 18-13 first quarter lead that pushed to 28-21 at the half.

Solanco held the Mounts to a single field goal in the third quarter. Burger ignited the offense with eight of her team's 13 points and Hanna Phillips canned a buzzer beater to put the Mares in front, 34-32, with one quarter left.

"We increased our defensive pressure in the third and they got tired," McDowell said. "We took advantage of their missed shots and were able to get score in transition."

That momentum, however, was short-lived. Solanco extended their lead to six early in the fourth but Ephrata countered with a run that resulted in a 42-38 lead. After consecutive steals and scores by Cabrera and Burger the score was tied at 42.

"We played good defense on that last possession but Kandice Liebl hit an off balanced runner that banked in," McDowell explained. "We were on the lucky side Tuesday. Tonight was their turn."

Burger notched a team-high 14 points and matched Mowrer with seven rebounds. Kreider chipped in with 11 points, 5 steals and 3 assists. Cabrera (8), Dombach (5 points, 4 steals), Hanna Phillips (3 points, 2 assists) and Mowrer (1) also scored.

In JV action, Ilyand Rapant hit the game-winner as Solanco nipped Ephrata 34-33. Jade Eshleman led with 13 points.

At home again Friday, Garden Spot survived a furious 21-point fourth quarter rally by the Mares to escape with a 55-52 victory.

Trailing by 16, Solanco went to a full court man defense, forced Garden Spot into a faster paced game and forced several turnovers which they transitioned into easy buckets. With the opportunity to tie the game on a last second three, the Mares missed the mark.

"It was a good shot," said McDowell. "We gave ourselves the opportunity to tie the game and that's all we can as for in that situation."

Burger netted eight of her team-high 16 points in that fourth quarter rally. McClune followed with 13 and Cabrera added a dozen. But the real story was Garden Spot's Megan Fisher who dropped in a game-high 30, including six threes.

"Fisher had a great night and a hot hand from the three point line," said McDowell. "She only had eight threes on the season coming in. And we had a hand in her face every time. She single handily took over and controlled the game.

"Two tough games on two consecutive nights," he added. "This team has a lot of resiliency. I know they will bounce back."

The JV team picked up a solid 51-30 win with Angela Cylc netting 11 points.

WRESTLING

Last Wednesday's 39-28 win over Warwick (0-4, 2-8) moved the Mules into a two-way tie for second place in Section One with Penn Manor. Both teams stand at 4-1 behind Cocalico (5-0) and face off this Wednesday in Millersville.

"We felt, despite the forfeits, that we had a good chance to beat Warwick," said head coach John Little. "I thought we wrestled a little flat, but still to pull out the win is great."

The Mules jumped in front early and never relinquished the lead though the Warriors knotted the score once and later cut the lead to one, 29-28.

Up 29-26 after a 5:57 fall by Nick Yannutz over Steven Seepaul at 195, the Mules forfeited at 220 and gave up a fall at 285, closing the lead to 29-28 with two bouts left.

Freshman Dominic Flatt (102) rose to the occasion and decked Sebastian Oliveras in 1:23 and Sheldon Peiffer followed with a dominating 14-1 major over Connor Esbenshade to wrap up the win.

"I've been most impressed with Dominic," said Little. "He's 10 to 15 pounds under that weight and is 6-6 on the year. He's been a pleasant surprise and has a great attitude. Our other freshman, Shaneef Carter, though he lost 9-0 at 182 has come a long way.

"Overall, we pretty much won the bouts we expected to win."

Zach Spade opened the scoring with six easy points as the Warriors forfeited at 126.

The 132 bout eventually went to Mateo Chacon who outlasted Chase Charles for a 6-4 decision.

Solanco extended the lead to 12-3 with a Grayson Charles 53 second fall over Preston Johnson (138) but the Warriors rallied with a 13-9 decision at 145 and a fall at 152, knotting the score at 12-12.

"Joey Vandergriff almost got the fall at 145," noted Little. "He tied the bout at 9-9 in the third period but couldn't hold off Kline."

Veterans AJ Wilson (160) and Ben Root (170) quickly put Solanco back in front with a 15-0 tech fall and an 11 second fall, respectively.

BOYS' BASKETBALL

Solanco's young squad continued to battle last week but came up empty in the quest for their first Section Two win.

"We played four games last week and really didn't have time to practice," said head coach Scott Long. "It was a difficult week but the kids played hard. We just weren't able to consistently defend well."

They opened their four game week at home on Monday where a pivotal third quarter proved to be the difference in a 66-53 setback against Donegal. Down 31-29 at the half, the Mules had no answer for Avery Walker (18.9 ppg average) who netted nine of his team's 22 points and finished with a game-high 27.

Solanco, behind Aaron Constein's five points, finished with 13 in the quarter.

"We just could not defend their flex cut and did not communicate well on screens," noted Long. "

That was truly the difference maker."

Jack Boomsma scored seven of his 11 in the fourth quarter but it wasn't enough as the Indians held a 13-11 advantage to finish on top.

"I can't express how much I appreciate Jack and how he's playing," said Long. "He defends guys much bigger than himself every game and offensively has turned into a weapon for us."

Braden Redcay netted a team-high 14 points for the Mules and went 6-for-8 from the free throw line. Dawson Kreider chipped in with 11, scoring eight in the first half, including a pair of threes while Jon Rush tossed in 8 points, all in the first half.

Thursday's makeup game at Ephrata saw the Mules fall behind early en route to a 63-47 loss.

Solanco managed just five points in the first quarter and fell behind 34-20 at the half. Despite some momentum in the third quarter, their 17-15 advantage wasn't enough. The hosts rallied for a 14-10 final quarter and pulled away.

"Ephrata did a great job of finding the open man," noted Long. "They hit 9-of-11 three point attempts. Ultimately, if you cannot win defensive battles on the perimeter, you cannot win games. I need to do a better job of putting my guys in position to work on this at practice."

Constein was the only double figure scorer for the Mules, dropping in 11. Carson Kilgore (9), Rush (7), Boomsma (6), Jalen Henry (5), Redcay (4), Austin Daniels (3) and Jay Boyle (2) also contributed.

Friday the Mules suffered their biggest loss of the week, a 75-41 result against Garden Spot. A 19-9 deficit in the first quarter and a 20-9 result in the fourth were key components to the final score.

On the plus side, Constein dropped in a team-high 18 points.

"Aaron has been our leader all season," said Long. "He was aggressive tonight. Carson Kilgore (3 points) also played well. He's getting to the rim and defending at a high level."

Solanco's closest result of the week was a hard-fought 60-57 loss at Elco on Saturday. Twice in the second half the Mules led by as many as five and both times the Raiders responded with a triple to cut the lead back to two.

"We just couldn't get ahead," recalled Long. "We were down three with nine seconds to go and needed to go the length of the court. We drew up the final play and executed well. We had a decent look at a three, missed, but Zed Baker rebounded and kicked the ball out for another attempt but the ball just rimmed out.

"I was proud of how much energy we had at the end of a long week," he added. "It says a lot about the character of our team.

"Another plus is that the JV team picked up two wins. Zed Baker, Jordan Rush, Austin Woods, Dom Messano, Zach Wiker, Jalen Henry and Dan Herr have all been doing great stuff," Long said.

Rush netted a game-high 17 points and Constein hit for 15 as the double figure scorers. Boomsma (9), Kilgore and Baker (6 each) and Redcay and Gote (2 each) also contributed.

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Mules Earn Non-League Win Over York Suburban January 8, 2018

In their only action last week, the Mules, who are still searching for that first Section Two victory, improved to 2-5 overall with a 69-51 non-league win at York Suburban last Wednesday.

The Mules were averaging 38.8 points per game coming in but got a big boost with consistent scoring throughout. Solanco led 31-12 at the half.

YS gained some momentum in the third quarter, outscoring the Mules 18-12 but both teams picked up the pace over the final eight minutes with Solanco dropping in 25 points and giving up 21 in holding on for the win.

"We lost some size with Dylan Hastings and Robbie McHugh graduating," said head coach Scott Long. "So we are a bit undersized and we really only returned two players with significant varsity experience. Aaron Constein, our lone returning starter, is averaging just under 18 ppg, and Braden Redcay also returns with experience. He's our best defender and rebounds very well."

YS dropped in back-to-back treys with five minutes remaining and cut the lead to 44-41. But that was as close as they would get as Solanco rallied with ten straight points to seal the win.

Jack Boomsma ignited the run when he snagged a missed free throw for a put back and then splashed in a trey off a great dish from Dawson Kreider.

Both teams were deadly from 3-point range with YS drilling seven downtown shots and Solanco's Jon Rush swishing six of the team's nine. He led all scorers with a career and season-high 22 but got additional help from Aaron Constein, Boomsma and Carson Kilgore who also netted double figures. Constein was 6-for-10 from the free throw line and scored 12 points, Boomsma finished with ten points and led with seven rebounds while Kilgore dropped in four field goals and also netted ten.

"Jon and Jack are both seniors and have had a good start to the year," said Long. "Jon saw minutes last year before an ankle injury took him off the court for the second half of the season. We also have a few underclassmen, Kreider, Kilgore and freshman Zed Baker, who have been working hard and are logging heavy varsity minutes."

Joey Gote (6), Kreider (5) and Austin Daniels (3) also chipped in to the scoring column.

"Our lack of experience has shown throughout the season," said Long. "At times we look competitive, but our lack of consistent offense has haunted us but we are getting better. We have won two of our last three now and seem to be improving. This week, with four games, is make or break for us," Long continued. "If we do well, we'll be right in the thick of things. Section Two is crazy right now. Anyone can beat anyone. I'm excited to keep working with this group and see how things turn out."

Over the holidays the Mules advanced to the title game of the Gettysburg Holiday Tournament but fell short 67-37 to Chambersburg.

They advanced with a 55-54 thriller over the hosts.

"That was a fun game to be a part of," said Long. "We were down one with seven seconds left. Dawson made a great play, setting up Jack for the game-winning layup with three seconds to go. Aaron was dominant the entire night. He scored 32 points and was virtually unstoppable," he continued. "We will need Aaron to play this aggressive every single night if we want to win games. I believe defenses will key on shutting him down so he will have opportunities to set guys up for easy shots."

In the title game, Chambersburg placed 11 players in the scoring column and outscored the hosts 24 field goals to five.

Rush tied for game-high honors with 14 points, including four treys, and Constein added 13. Baker finished with four points while Redcay and Boomsma added three each.

WRESTLING

Fresh off a respectable tenth place finish at the Trojan Wars in Chambersburg, Solanco's matmen returned to Section One action last Wednesday when they traveled to Witmer to face a young and upcoming Conestoga Valley team.

The Mules, with a full lineup, benefitted from five falls en route to a 39-31 victory that pushed their record to 3-1 and leaves them in second place in the section behind 4-0 Penn Manor and Cocalico.

"After we got beat up by them last year, we needed everyone to wrestle well," said head coach John Little. "And we got a couple key matches along the way."

Solanco opened the action with a 3:44 fall by Grayson Charles (18-3) over Legend White but the Bucks countered. Austin Rider held off Joey Vandergriff 9-4 at 145 and Taylor Sheaffer earned a 15-4 major over Tucker Pierson for a brief 7-6 advantage. Solanco won the next four bouts, three by fall, and never looked back as they extended the lead to 27-7 with seven bouts left.

AJ Wilson (16-1) decked Conrad Dillman (160) in 1:03 and Ben Root's return to the mat was even shorter as he put Matt Bandy on his back in 32 seconds. Root (9-1), who won the 170-pound title at the Mule Classic, had injured his knee at the Penn Manor Holiday Tournament.

"To have Ben back in the lineup was a big plus," stated Little.

At 182, Shaneef Carter held on for a 6-5 thriller over Isiah Gantt while a Nick Yannutz (195) fall over Eddi Lopez in 4:40 pushed the lead to 20 points.

"Carter's win was key," noted Little. "He's been in and out of the lineup but came up big here and Nick added a significant victory."

The Mules forfeited at 220 but came back with an 8-4 decision by Kaleb Tucker (285) over Tyler Oakley and another first period fall, this one by Dominic Flatt over Jeremiah Pha in 1:27 for a 36-13 advantage.

CV won three of the last four to close the gap, picking up a forfeit at 113 and earning back-to-back falls over Zach Spade at 126 and Chase Charles at 132 to cap the scoring.

"Dom turned in a spectacular performance," said Little. "He was giving up 17 pounds and did a tremendous job."

Sheldon Peiffer's 7-3 decision over Andrew Dariychuk at 120 accounted for Solanco's final team points.

This Wednesday the Mules host Warwick (2-7). "Having just 12 wrestlers makes it tough," said Little. "We can't afford to have anyone out at any time. But I feel if we can keep everyone in the lineup thence should be in the rest of these matches."

Prior to the CV match, the Mules took nine wrestlers to Chambersburg's Trojan Wars tournament and came away with five place-winners.

"It was an incredible tournament and a great accomplishment for us to finish in tenth place with just nine guys," said Little. "Everyone won at least one match so they all contributed to the team placing 10th."

Wilson was Solanco's top finisher, winning the 160-pound title. At 138, Charles grabbed a third place finish while Tucker, at 285, settled for fourth place finish, dropping a 4-3 result in his final bout.

Yannutz (195) chipped in with a sixth place finish, and Peiffer, wrestling at 120, was eighth.

GIRLS' BASKETBALL

The Mares hosted York Suburban last Wednesday but the home court advantage wasn't evident early on. Solanco fell behind 11-2 but rallied down the stretch and improved to 7-3 overall with a 52-42 come-from-behind win.

"We just could not buy a basket," said head coach Chad McDowell. "We had some good looks, but nothing seemed to fall. And we were settling for outside jump shots instead of attacking the basket in that first half."

Both teams netted 13 second quarter points but the Mares were still behind, 24-15. Jess Cabrera netted 11 of her team-high 13 points in that opening half.

"At halftime we talked about getting their lead down to what we called 'shouting distance,'" recalled McDowell. "I felt if we could do that, we would have a chance."

The Mares cut the deficit to 36-30 heading into the final quarter, switched in and out of zone defenses down the stretch and rallied for the win by outscoring the visitors 22-6 to steal the victory.

"The biggest change we made was matching up out of the zone, employing man to man principles when the ball was in certain players hands. We also did a better job rebounding, had better shot selection and attacked the basket. Good things happened!"

Solanco also hit 11-of-12 free throws in that second half and were 13-for-20 for the game.

Jenna Dombach hit double figures with 10. Aleksa Burger finished with nine points but was tops with 11 rebounds. Liz Mowrer and Grace Kreider combined for 15 points and seven rebounds. Alana Yoder chipped in with six rebounds and two points and Kara McClune added three points, and three rebounds.

"We have been focusing on the TEAM concepts this year and so we've been changing up our starters each game," McDowell noted. "As a team, we must play unselfishly to be successful. It does not matter who scores as long as we have more points than our opponent at the end of the game."

The JV team also finished on top against York Suburban, 38-32. Paige Phillips led the way with six points.

The Mares were coming off their own Holiday Tournament where their goal of capturing two straight titles was denied by a pesky Penn Manor squad.

The Comets, who lost to Solanco in the title game a year ago, denied the hosts with a 48-42 come-from-behind win. The Mares jumped out to a 24-15 first half but were outscored 15-4 in the third quarter and 18-14 in the fourth.

Manor's Alyssa Schriver led all scorers with 25 points. Dombach was tops for the home team with 11 while Kreider and Burger netted nine each. Cabrera added eight and Yoder finished with nine.

The Mares advanced to the title game when they doubled up Waynesboro 42-21. They held the visitors to single digits in all four quarters and got a game-high 17 points from Cabrera. Burger (8), Kreider (7), Dombach (6), Yoder (2) and Mackenzie Gladfelter (2) also contributed.

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