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Harrier Teams Host PM, ET and Ephrata September 17, 2018

On a damp and soggy field, and through some light rain, Solanco's harrier teams hosted Penn Manor, Elizabethtown and Ephrata last Tuesday in their only home meet of the season. And while the results did not include a single win across the board, the teams are moving in the right direction.

"Both teams ran better than they did a week ago," said head coach Craig Ausel. "The E-town girls (who beat the Mares 15-45) earned the second, third and fourth fastest times on our course and the top two boys (Ephrata's Andrew Foster and Penn Manor's Graham Thomas) registered two of the top five fastest times," he added. "I was surprised the leaders ran as fast as they did on the very muddy lower portion of our course."

Ben Stickler (19:10) earned Solanco's highest finish of the day, 14th, with freshman Avery Jacobsen close behind (16th, 19:20). Colin Althoff (18th, 19:54), Tate Fisher (20th, 20:05) and Dan Keller (21st, 20:14) rounded out the home team's top five.

"We're just struggling to run fast enough at the top to win," stated Ausel. "Our 3rd, 4th and 5th runners beat Ephrata's No. 5 but they put three runners in front of our No. 1. That was the team I felt we had the best chance to beat and we lost 25-30."

Leading the way for the girls was Chesley Ledsma (15th, 23:55) and Aubree Roop (18th, 24:22) with freshman Halle Brown (25th, 25:36), Hanna Wheeler (26th, 25:53), Sarah Snyder (31st, 27:08) and Kirsten O'Connell (37th, 30:27) rounding out the lineup.

"Our last four runners worked hard over the last mile," said Ausel.

FOOTBALL

Despite going up against a team with zero wins to date, head coach Tony Cox did not want his team to take Garden Spot lightly. So the focused Mules came out with a fast and furious start against the Spartans this past Friday night and before you knew it, they led 28-0 in the first quarter en route to a 48-21 final result.

"You can't take anyone in the section lightly," stated Cox. "We had a good game plan and came in very focused."

The Mules, who scored three times on first plays from scrimmage and ran a kick-back back for another, were led by Joel McGuire and Nafis Moore. McGuire, the leading rusher in Section Two, scored four touchdowns, three in the first half, and piled up 234 yards on six rushes. Moore also added three first half scores and racked up 129 total yards.

"Our offensive line did a great job blocking," said Cox. "And we were able to get the younger guys in early. This was a great program win because everyone had an opportunity to play."

Defensively, Sam Buckwalter led the way with seven tackles while Cole Lewis and sophomore Mason St. Clair added five solo tackles and one assist each. Hunter Shaw and Daniel Sampson were both credited with sacks.

"Sam did a great job on defense," lauded Cox.

McGuire's 38-yard TD run early in the third quarter started the mercy rule running clock and led to Cox substituting freely. The Mules finished with 445 rushing yards on the night.

FIELD HOCKEY

Mother Nature conspired to delay the start of Solanco's field hockey season to last week! Playing in their first game of the season, the Mares dropped a closer-than-the-score might indicate, 5-1 result at Garden Spot on Tuesday. The Spartans held a slim 9-8 edge in corners but managed to outshoot the visitors 15-4.

Spot took a 2-0 lead after ten minutes of play and made it 3-0 before Solanco got on the board. Maggie Hirst turned a Lauryn McNutt assist into Solanco's only goal of the game just 3:06 before the half.

"Since this was our first game we definitely had some jitters to get out," said head coach Whitney Hawkins. "But I think we picked it up in the second half and settled into our game."

Alta Brandenberger recorded 10 saves goal.

Not only did they just play their season-opener but Solanco faced one of the top two teams in the L-L League on Thursday in Donegal. In what was supposed to be a home game, the Mares traveled to Mt. Joy due to soggy field conditions. It was there that the Indians, who were second in the state last year, secured its fifth win of the season with a 10-1 result.

"They are just a well-oiled machine," said Hawkins. "But we were pumped that we scored against them. Maggie, a sophomore, scored her second goal of the season. I would say she's off to a good start."

At home on Friday the Mares, searching for their first section win, went toe-to-toe with visiting McCaskey but settled for a scoreless tie. Solanco worked eight corners to the visitors ten and held a 5-4 edge in shots on goal but neither team could find the back of the net. Brandenberger was credited with four saves on the day.

GIRLS' SOCCER

Solanco's opening game last week against McCaskey was actually a shortened game. Having been rescheduled from August 31, the game started 11 minutes in. The Red Tornado was probably wishing the game was even shorter as the Mares, with a balanced attack, unleashed an 11-0 victory.

Reese Curry-Saner (1 assist) scored her first two goals of the season, including the first goal of the game a quick 60 seconds in. Grace Kreider also netted a pair and dished out three assists while Sammi Jackson (1 a) added two second half goals. Alana Yoder (1a), Kayden Bedwell and Kaylin Fowler (1a) also found the back of the net while Grace Unger and Angie Cylic dished out one assist each.

Returning First Team all-star Gabi Dolan did not need to make a single save in goal to earn the shutout.

On Friday the Mares were wishing they had one of Tuesday's goals to spare as they came up short, 1-0 in a double overtime contest at Cocalico. The visitors were held to two corners and two shots on goal but defended the Eagles 13 shot, 5 corner effort before the second OT game-winner was scored.

Back at it less than 24 hours later, Solanco secured its second win of the week with a 5-2 victory at Oxford. Tied 1-1 at the half, Bedwell score twice and Kreider and Jackson each scored in a span of five minutes to pick up the win. Yoder's first half goal knotted the score.

TENNIS

Whoever said 'all good things must come to an end' probably wasn't thinking about winning streaks. But, as the saying goes, Solanco, after extending its winning streak to six straight on Tuesday, suffered its first loss of the season, 6-1 to Cocalico Thursday afternoon.

"They were probably the toughest team we've faced," said head coach Todd Brown, "a solid, well coached team similar to McCaskey."

The doubles teams put up the toughest challenges of the day and prevented the shutout when Sophia Baker and Kelsey Sheets outlasted Ally Hieneisen and Allie Dickson 8-6 at No. 3 doubles.

Kerith Paine and Faith Redcay came out on the short end of the same score at No. 1 while Gabby Griffonetti and Elsie Zaborskiy fell short 8-5.

"We led, at times, in all of the doubles matches and in a few of the singles as well," said Brown. "Unfortunately, we couldn't keep hold of the momentum."

Griffonetti, at No. 3 and Zaborskiy, playing 4, also mounted the toughest singles performances despite losing 6-2, 6-4 and 6-3, 6-3 respectively. Paine dropped a 6-0, 6-0 challenge at No. 1 and Redcay lost 6-2, 6-0 at No. 2.

On Tuesday the Mares had little trouble in blanking Lebanon for their second shutout of the year. Giving up just ten games on the day, Solanco cruised to victory. Griffonetti posted two shutouts in the win, teaming with Zaborskiy for an 8-0 result in doubles and winning 6-0, 6-0 in singles.

Paine and Redcay won 8-2 in doubles and 6-1, 6-1 and 6-2, 6-0 respectively in singles play while Baker and Sheets put up an 8-3 win.

Playing their third match of the week on Friday, the Mares suffered another 6-1 defeat, this one at the hands of Manheim Central. Baker and Sheets cruised to an 8-0 win to prevent the shutout.

VOLLEYBALL

The volleyball team played three times last week and while they came up empty, they were on the verge of at least two wins. At Catholic High on Monday, Solanco lost 25-14, 27-25 and 25-22. One night later, at home, they battled Lebanon in five sets before dropping a heartbreaker (25-13, 25-20, 24-26, 23-25, 8-15).

"That loss to Lebanon was a tough one," said head coach Meghan Cross. "Our passing was key in the first two wins. It allowed the setters to give the hitters good balls to attack the net. We were also setting up blocks and shutting down their hitters.

"We relaxed a bit and let Lebanon come back with a few too many points in the third and fourth sets," she continued. "Unforced errors prevented us from pulling ahead and finishing out that fifth set," Cross added.

With five aces, five kills and two blocks, Georgia Ewing had a great game, the coach noted. And Kara McClune anchored the defense with a match-high 21 digs and also contributed 4 kills. Also with a strong presence at the net was Nathaly Molinarez with 6 kills and Madi Davis dished out 8 assists.

The Mares opened the week with a tough effort against the Crusaders. Despite dropping the first set 25-14, Solanco challenged. An ace by Molinarez put Solanco in front 24-21 in the second set but unforced errors reared their ugly heads. Tied again at 25-25, the Crusaders prevailed.

The third set was almost as close. Tied at 22, the hosts used strong serving to pull away.

McClune led with a dozen digs and 3 kills. Bri Langley (2 aces) and Alondra Quinonez each hustled for 11 digs and Ewing and Emma Canale (2 aces, 5 assists) put up two blocks each.

At home again Thursday against Ephrata, the Mares got 5 kills and 5 blocks from Ewing but it wasn't enough to offset Brielle Brock's 11 kills and 2 blocks. The Mounts prevailed 25-16, 25-10, 25-14.

Additional stats included Langley with 14 digs, Canale putting up 7 assists and McClune serving a pair of aces.

BOYS' SOCCER

The boys' soccer team, on the road Tuesday night, directed eight shots on goal, three of which were good scoring opportunities, but came up empty, 5-0 against Octorara.

"We came out a little flat in the first half but played much stronger in the second half," noted first year head coach James Snyder. "And we didn't get much help. There was a blown call that resulted in one goal and another foul against us that I did not agree with that resulted in a second goal," he explained. "Not to place blame on the officiating, we beat ourselves, but those two incidents did not help our cause."

The Braves led 3-0 in the first half and picked up two more after the break.

In Denver on Friday, the Mules dropped a 3-0 result against Cocalico after giving up two second half tallies.

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Tennis Team Currently Undefeated at 5-0 September 9, 2018

What a difference a year makes. The tennis team concluded the 2017 season with just four wins. They did not have a single senior on the team. Fast-forward to 2018. With last Wednesday's 5-2 win over Section One's Penn Manor, tby he Mares stand undefeated at 5-0.

In a match that started on Aug. 31, Solanco capped the away victory, winning two of three doubles and three of four singles matches.

Kerith Paine and Faith Redcay opened with an 8-5 win at No. 1 and Gabby Griffonetti and Elsie Zaborskiy followed with an 8-6 win. Solanco almost came away with a clean sweep as Sophia Baker and Kelsey Sheets battled before bowing out 8-8 (7-5).

The Comets knotted the scoring at 2-2 with a win at No. 1 doubles but Solanco responded with strong singles play to remain undefeated. Redcay posted a 6-2, 6-4 win at No. 2 and Griffonetti won 6-4, 6-3 at No. 3. Zaborskiy capped the scoring with a 7-5, 2-1 (retired) No. 3 result.

"Gabby and Elsie are having a phenomenal year," said head coach Todd Brown. "Both are undefeated in singles matches and are a fierce doubles team. They both play a very strategic match."

The Mares opened the 2018 season with a pair of 6-1 wins over Octorara and Oxford. They added a 7-0 non-league win over Columbia before holding off McCaskey 4-3 on Aug. 29.

"McCaskey was undefeated in Section One coming into the match," noted Brown. "In 95 degree heat, Gabby, Kerith and Elsie all won tie-breaker matches to secure the 3 hour and 17 minute match."

CROSS COUNTRY

The harrier teams opened the 2018 league season with a tri-meet at Manheim Township last Tuesday. The Mules battled the heat in addition to Cedar Crest (17-48) and the hosting Streaks (15-54) but when all was said and done, fell short of a team win.

"We got beat by two very good teams," said head coach Craig Ausel. "Township should win the league this season and Crest should be in the top three. Our No. 1, Ben Stickler (16th, 19:28), struggled a bit but will bounce back," he continued. "Freshman Avery Jacobsen picked up the slack, finishing as our No. 1. He amazes us with his determination to race.

"The heat was a factor but everyone faced the same conditions," noted Ausel of the start time being moved back to 6:15. "Some responded to the challenge. Some did not."

Jacobson, with an 18:49, was the only Solanco runner to place in the top 15. He was 11th.

Tate Fisher (26th), Colin Althoff (27th), and Dan Keller rounded out the top five.

The girls' team faced similar fate, suffering losses to two teams (MT 15-55, CC 19-37) with more depth.

"We have just eight runners but our ladies gave everything they had," said Ausel. "They responded well to the tough conditions."

Junior Chesley Ledesma was the top finisher for the Mares, placing 15th with a 24:17.

"Chesley and senior captain Aubree Roop (18th, 24:22) continue to improve," noted Ausel. "IF freshman Halle Brown (26th, 26:05) can start to run with them, we will be much improved. We're also glad to have Hannah Wheeler back this season and we hope to get Anna Stickler and Sarah Snyder healthy soon."

Also placing: Wheeler (30th), Evelyn Billings (36) and Kirsten O'Connell (37th).

FOOTBALL

The Mules were looking to cap the non-league season at 3-0 with a victory this past Friday night. Visiting New Oxford, fresh off a 25-24 thriller over CV, was looking for their second straight win and seemed to be on track after chewing up five minutes of the clock on their first possession and taking the lead with a passing TD. The Mules were held scoreless in that first quarter but finally got into gear, scoring 36 points over the middle two frames, and finishing with a solid 43-28 win.

"Anytime you get scored on, it's a concern," stated head coach Tony Cox. "They caught us a couple of times on third and long but then we made some defensive adjustments and we stopped the run better. Offensively we just kept doing what we do. We kept moving the ball and chunking time off the clock."

After turning the ball over inside the ten late in the first quarter, the defense held and Solanco knotted the score early in the second frame on a five yard run by Nafis Moore (61 yards). The Colonials responded with a 35 yard passing TD with 4:10 left in the half. It was their last lead of the night as Solanco buckled down with four straight scores to take control.

Joel McGuire led the charge, rushing for 191 yards and scoring five touchdowns. "He also had to come in on defense to fill some spots a couple of times," noted Cox. "He's been doing a great job and is a leader by example."

With Nick Yannutz adding 171 yards on 24 rushes, the Mules finished with 434 rushing yards on the night and lead Section Two opponents with most points scored (127).

"I think the whole defense did a nice job and made the adjustments they needed to make," stated Cox. "Seth Harnish and Hunter Shaw, in particular, combined for 25 tackles. They stepped up.

"We're happy to be 3-0 but this week we start Section Two play with Garden Spot," he continued. "Everyone in the section is good so we need to stay focused."

GOLF

At Foxchase Golf Course last Wednesday the linksmen competed in their fourth Section Two match this season and due to the heat, played just nine holes instead of 18.

"Our goal was 195 and we finished with a 204," said head coach Greg Minnich. "Freshman Andy Teaman led the way with a 46 but he had a tough day putting. Jessie Spangler was able to shoot 50 even with hitting two balls out of bounds. Greta Plechner played well and was our No. 3 with a 53," he continued. "And Isaac Nadu carded a 55.

"We are improving," stated Minnich of his young squad. "We shot a 400 at Honeybrook and our team goal was 405. Jesse (98), Greta (109) and freshman Olivia Lasko (111) all carded personal bests in competition."

Sophomore Tyler Sellers also competed.

"We're a young squad with just one senior so this has been a season of setting individual goals and looking to improve each week as we build for the future," he added.

The Mules are 4-16 to date.

GIRLS' SOCCER

With the move to Section Three, the thinking is that the girls should be in the hunt in every game this year. "In terms of opponents, Section Three doesn't get any easier, but we are excited to make our mark and feel we are ready to compete with them," said head coach Ken Yoder.

The Mares return three all-stars in Grace Kreider, Reece Curry-Saner and Alana Yoder and add cross country standout Hannah Sweda to anchor the defense.

Solanco opened its season with a 6-3 non-league loss to Kennard-Dale on Sept 1 and last week battled L-S and Garden Spot.

The opening 33 minutes against the Pioneers looked good as Solanco denied a team that went deep into the post-season last year. Unfortunately, L-S broke things open with four goals in a ten minute span and held that lead to halftime.

"At that point, our goal was to win the second half and we did," said Yoder. "Yoder scored on a beautiful free kick from about 30 yards out and freshman Maya Dolan made a great finish on a nice cross from Nikki Trout. If we can avoid mistakes in the back and start doing a little better in finishing in front of the net, we will at least give some teams more than they are bargaining for," he added.

The going was similar against K-D as Solanco gave up four early goals and never recovered. Yoder recorded two goals and one assist and "freshman Grace Unger chipped in the third goal to score her first of hopefully many high school goals," said Yoder.

After a scoreless first half against Garden Spot on Saturday, Solanco gave up two goals within a minute and another with five left on the clock and suffered a 3-1 defeat. Yoder's goal in the 76th minute prevented the shutout.

VOLLEYBALL

With just one starter back, head coach Meghan Cross will look to rebuild this season. "We have seven sophomores and 12 freshman," noted Cross, "but we have a lot of potential."

The Mares opened the season last Tuesday against Manheim Central and took one set from a traditionally strong Barons' squad. After pulling out a 25-22 first set thriller, Manheim regrouped and regained control, winning 25-17, 25-10, 25-11.

"We got into a rhythm that first set, were moving and communicating," said Cross. "But our passing dipped after that, Manheim made a couple of runs and we lost our confidence.

"Kara McClune (6 kills, 1 ace) was a leader on the court with a brand new lineup," she added. "Not one of these girls have played in a rotation all together before so we are working hard to make it work. Brianna Langley, our libero, also played a great defensive game with 32 digs (1ace)."

Cheyanne Cutler chipped in with 3 blocks, and Emma Canale added 6 assists.

On the road Thursday, Solanco fought off a 25-13 first set loss and almost pulled out a second set win, falling short 25-22. E-town prevailed in the third set as well, 25-11.

"The scores don't indicate the many long rallies that could have gone either way," said Cross. "This was a great game and showed the potential of this young team."

Langley scrambled for 20 digs and Canale (5 assists) and McClune (4 aces, 16 digs) each put up three blocks to spark the defense. Nathaly Molinarez added two kills.

BOYS' SOCCER

With the hopes of building success, the Mules find themselves in Section Three this season but opened the year with a handful of non-league losses, 4-1 against Kennard-Dale and 8-0 against Lampeter-Strasburg last Tuesday. The Mules return eight starters from a 1-14 record last year and look to move up in the standings.

"We are attempting to build the program from the junior high up," said first year head coach Jamie Snyder. "We have no freshman at the high school level this season."

Snyder coached the junior high boys at L-S for 12 years and was the JV coach at Solanco the past eight seasons.

"We started out playing our game against L-S but a few goals went in and took the steam out of us," he added. "The heat was also a factor and they had a little more depth.

"We have struggled with scoring for years," Snyder continued, "so I'm trying to incorporate more shooting drills to improve our accuracy. We are also working within a different system that we have not used before, so it will take some time."

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Mares Cap Best Season Ever in PIAA Semifinals June 17, 2018

24 wins. 3 losses. Another Section Two title. Co L-L League Champs. Third place in District Three and PIAA semifinalists. Sounds like a pretty impressive season. Unless you're a Solanco fan and you dwell on that third loss, a 6-4 result against neighboring Lampeter-Strasburg in the PIAA Class 5A semifinals last Tuesday at Millersville. While the two schools border each other, the Mares and the Pioneers rarely meet. In fact, over the last ten years, they've met just once. Solanco won that round 7-5 last year in the L-L League quarterfinals.

While last Tuesday's loss ended Solanco's season, it shouldn't blemish their accomplishments. The Mares had never won a state playoff game before this season. They finished with more wins than any other L-L League team this season and had the fewest losses.

A school record 24 wins. "It was a tremendous season," said head coach Brett Miller. "It was a frustrating ending but we have to move on. L-S is a quality team, a quality program. We performed well, even though we weren't given the opportunity to exploit our advantages."

In front of the largest crowd of the season, L-S went in front early. Cam Byler walked with one out in the second inning. With two outs, No. 8 hitter Daisy Frank singled to right field. Typically a routine catch for outfielder Skyla Townsley. But on this particular day, the sun proved to be more than enough to handle. Byler scored and Frank settled in at third before Hanna Phillips coaxed a pop out to end the inning.

The Pioneers, who left two runners on in both the third and fourth innings, made it 2-0 in the fifth. Hanna Garber singled with one out, took third on a two-out, dropped infield popup and scored on an error at short.

Solanco finally got on board in the fifth, putting an end to Brynne Baker's (4K, 0W, 5 hits) perfect game. Jade Eshleman doubled to right field. Jocelyn Branco had the same 'sun' troubles Townsley did and Eshleman wound up on third when Branco bobbled the ball. Sierra Dean followed with a run scoring base hit and Townsley redeemed herself with a triple to the fence that tied the game at 2-2.

"I was really proud of the way Skyla came back and hit the ball after two rough plays in the outfield which were not to her doing," said Miller. "But I can probably say that about all the girls at one point or another during the season. They battle back."

With one out, bunt specialist Alyssa Henretty put down a safety squeeze that was thrown over first base, scoring Townsley with the go ahead run, 3-2. Ally McDowell reached on another bunt that was misplayed. This time it was the Pioneers responding. Kara McClune's shallow pop to center field was caught by Summer Peters who then fired to second, doubling off McDowell.

Lampeter used that momentum to regroup and forged ahead, 4-3 in the top of the sixth. Chloe Blantz tripled in the leadoff spot and Julz Garber not only beat out a bunt but took second when no one covered the base. Miller elected to walk Hanna Garber intentionally, loading the bags and setting the stage for Baker who collected her first hit of the night, a two-run single up the middle and putting L-S back in front, 4-3.

Solanco countered with one run in the bottom half. With two outs, Dean singled past short and Townsley blooped a shot into right field, tying the game at 4-4.

Then, in the seventh, Byler worked a walk, Phillips' seventh (2 intentional), and Gabby Drumm singled to center. With two outs, J. Garber connected for a two-run single up the middle before a groundout ended more damage.

Solanco, hoping to rally, went three up, three down to end the game.

"Hanna pitched as well as she could," said Miller. "She doesn't average five walks a game. She was making excellent pitches and trying hard to find the strike zone but when you can't..." he added. "They're too good a hitting team."

Phillips finished with five strikeouts, seven walks and scattered six hits.

The seniors (Alyssa Henretty, Ally McDowell, Liz Mowrer and Randi Rambo) finished their four year career with a 72-23 record. Rambo and Mowrer, along with Phillips, freshman catcher Jade Eshleman, Kara McClune (2B), and Dean were all selected as first team all-stars. Eshleman and McClune were also recognized as All-Section One and Two.

"You have to thank the seniors for their contributions to the program," said Miller. "Their personalities and maturation I will remember the most.

"This season is something they will never forget."

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Solanco Advances to First Ever PIAA Semifinals June 10, 2018

Solanco knocked off a pair of district champs last week and advanced to the PIAA Class 5A semifinals. Not too shabby for a team making just its third appearance in the state tournament.

Tuesday afternoon at Avon Grove High School, the Mares faced one of the best pitchers in the state in Bishop Shanahan's Devon Miller in their PIAA opener. Miller, the Player of the Year, collected her 300th strikeout of the season in the fourth inning. She finished with 11 on the day and did not walk a batter.

But Solanco's Hanna Phillips was pretty impressive herself, striking out eight batters in a one-hit, 5-0 victory. She was also effective at the plate, collecting three of Solanco's six hits.

"Hanna definitely out-pitched Devon Miller," said head coach Brett Miller. "Her strikeouts were at the right times, and the hit she gave up was a bunt late in the fourth inning."

Solanco scored all the runs they needed in the third inning. Phillips opened with a leadoff single and moved all the way to third when Alyssa Henretty's sacrifice bunt was thrown away. She scored on a wild pitch to lead-off hitter Kara McClune, who then singled in Henretty for a 2-0 advantage.

The Mares picked up three more runs two innings later. Phillips singled past second and moved up on Henretty's sacrifice bunt. McClune's triple plated Phillips and Randi Rambo doubled in McClune. Liz Mowrer's grounder was misplayed, scoring Rambo for the third run.

Backing Phillips defensively were some solid efforts. "Skyla Townsley tracked down a long fly ball, in the second inning, to the sideline. That's a double, maybe a triple if it's not caught," noted Miller. "And Rambo made a diving catch in the hole at short. Defense like that made the field even smaller and put more pressure on Shanahan.

"This was our first-ever state playoff win and it pushed our school-record wins total to 23," he added. "The girls worked hard to get 23. I told them 24 would be better."

Two days later, Solanco made the long trip to Patriots Park in Allentown to face District Two champ Pittstown Area. The 6 pm slated start got underway over an hour later but the final result still favored Solanco, 1-0.

And that one run came early. McClune opened with a triple over the third baseman's head and Rambo connected for a base hit to right field. Mowrer's double off the third baseman's glove scored McClune for what proved to be the game winning run in an inning the Mares left the bases loaded.

"To get the one run in is huge," said Miller. "We were hoping for two, but in a 1-0 game it's always better to have the 1."

After that, Phillips, who tossed a two-hitter, went to work. She struck out six at one point and struck out the side in the second and fifth innings against a team that was coming off a 10-2 win over West Chester Henderson. She finished with 14 strikeouts and two walks.

The Patriots left a runner stranded at third in the third inning and Alexa McHugh doubled off the fence in the fourth but was left stranded. Their biggest threat came in the sixth inning. Lexi Felinski singled with one out and McHugh walked. Phillips, however, slammed the door with a pair of strikeouts, 11 and 12 to end the opportunity. She picked up two more strikeouts in the seventh and induced a game-ending popup to catcher Jade Eshleman.

"Hanna pretty much took control," noted Miller. "Except for that double off the fence, which didn't cost us. She made the pitches she needed to make."

Phillips doubled to start the fourth, chasing starting pitcher Nina Cencetti for McHugh. The two finished with a combined five strikeouts and scattered seven Solanco hits.

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Mares Finish Third in District Three Class 5A June 4, 2018

Solanco continued its run through the post-season with two games last week. Unfortunately their quest to reach their first District Three Class 5A finals came to an end Tuesday afternoon with a 2-0 loss to No. 4 Twin Valley. With little time to lament, the Mares rebounded one night later with a 5-3 win over Spring Grove to claim third place in the district.

"This matches our highest finish in the district tournament," stated head coach Brett Miller. "We were fourth in 2014 and 2007 and third in both 1998 and '96. And our 22 wins currently ties the most wins in a season."

Tuesday's game at Warwick High School featured a pair of junior pitchers. TV's Grace Marsalo allowed just four hits and a walk, and struck out 10 batters to edge the top seeded Mares (22-2). Hanna Phillips gave up six hits, struck out seven and walked four.

The Raiders, who have won 16 of their last 18 games, scored the only runs they needed in the top of the fifth. Sophia Palyan leaned into a pitch, reaching base with no outs. A sacrifice bunt moved her to second and with two outs, Emily Shumacher's blooper to left plated the first run.

Coach Miller elected to intentionally walk Marsalo (2-3) and, after a second hit batter, Hannah Norton worked a bases loaded walk for Twin Valley's second run.

"We spent a lot of time trying to find the strike zone," said Miller.

"Their pitcher threw very well and we did have some aggressive contact hitting but we needed to generate more opportunities," he added.

Solanco did threaten in the seventh when Skyla Townsley and Phillips (2-3) connected for back-to-back singles and moved up on Alyssa Henretty's sacrifice bunt. The key hit, however, never came.

Having already qualified for states, Wednesday's matchup against Spring Grove was for seeding. Under the lights at Millersville, Solanco took an early 3-0 lead, survived a three-run rally and prevailed 5-3 to finish in third place.

McClune opened the third inning with her second hit of the day, a double. Randi Rambo added a base hit and Liz Mower followed with a two run double. Sierra Dean's one out blooper over short plated Mower, who moved to third on a passed ball.

Both teams went three up, three down in the fourth and McClune fired up the troops with a diving stop at second and threw Spring Grove's No. 8 hitter, Sara Jones, out from her knees. A strikeout and a popup quickly ended the fifth.

Solanco picked up a single run in the bottom half on a Rambo base hit and an error, pushing their lead to 4-0 before Spring Grove's sixth inning rally. The Rockets batted around, collecting a leadoff triple and back-to-back singles. A one out error plated the second run of the game and a two out single down the right field line closed the lead to one, 4-3. Phillips walked the No. 9 hitter and Rambo scooped up a bases loaded grounder to end the inning.

The Mares seemed unconcerned with the Rocket rally and responded with another single run. Townsley tripled to the center field fence and scored on Henretty's fielder's choice.

"We had another shaky inning," said Miller. "We need to play better defense behind Hanna. We exchanged a run for an out but you can only do that so often.

"But we responded well to their rally," he added. "And Hanna performed well (7K, 1W, 8H). The humidity and heat on Tuesday was very draining.

"Third place is another accomplishment and now we have the opportunity to compete in States," he added.

BASEBALL

The baseball team celebrated the end of its season with the announcement of all-stars and team award winners. Junior third baseman John Murray was a first team section two all-star. He batted .383 with 11 RBI's and six doubles. Second team all-stars included senior outfielder Trent Myers, junior pitcher Corey Stively, junior infielder and pitcher Dawson Kreider, junior DH and catcher Hunter Shaw and junior outfielder Tim Fetterman.

Head coach Tom Fish then announced the team award winners. Murray was Offensive Player of the Year, Kreider was Player of the Year, and Myers received the Harold 'Pete' Suter award for the top senior.

"John did it all for us at the plate," said Fish. "All season long, hitting in the middle of the order, he was a tough out and our team leader in extra base hits, and RBI's.

"Dawson played great at short this year," he continued. "He led the team in stolen bases, runs, on base percentage and saves. He's one of the toughest kids I've ever coached. And he always took the ball for us when we needed him on the mound. He also led our team in hit by pitches.

"And Trent. I will miss Trent," said Fish. "He earned three varsity letters and is a fearless kid, never intimidated. He played hard, practiced hard, ran the bases hard and swung the bat hard and has a canon of an arm from right field. He hopes to continue playing baseball at Cecil and I hope we prepared him for that. He has a lot of attributes that will serve him well at the next level."

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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."

0

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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