Newton's third law of motion states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. While Newton was not referring to high school sports when he developed his laws of motion, the third law can be stretched to apply to the 2018 spring sports season. The initial 'action' in this case would be rain, snow and cold temperatures wiping out the bulk of what was supposed to be the first two weeks of the season. The 'opposite reaction' would be the rescheduling of all those games throughout the remainder of the season, leaving high school sports' teams with unsarcastically busy schedules. Take for example the Middletown Blue Raiders, both the baseball team and the boy's tennis team wrapped up six game in nine day stretches while the softball team crossed off five games over the same span. The lone club that managed to avoid all of that drama was the track and field team.
Of course, having just one regular season meet a week helps avoid weather related logjams like their sporting brethren are currently trying to overcome. That doesn't mean the Blue Raiders haven't been affected by Mother Nature's shenanigans, their season opening trip to Chambersburg for the Tim Cook Invitational was derailed by snow as was their dual meet opener with Bishop McDevitt a few days later.
With the weather conditions returning to a somewhat normal state, the Blue Raiders were finally able to open their season on April 10th. The result of that dual meet with West Perry left Middletown wishing for more snow with the boy's falling by a 97-53 final and the girls a 106-40 result.
With their first dual meet out of the way, the Blue Raiders set their sights on participating in their first big meet, Northern York's Arctic Blast invitational on April 14th. Conditions were perfect for the meet and Tyrelle Gallatin, Matthew Frehse and Brendan Douglas all took advantage as each of the three came home as double medal winners.
Gallatin nearly came away with the title of "fastest man" after going Gold-Bronze in the 100m and 200m. The senior turned in the top prelim time in the 100m then went about capturing gold with a time of 11.21 in the finals. He came up 0.42 seconds short of the fastest man title, finishing third in the 200m with a time of 23.53.
Frehse also did his work on the track in the 110H and 300H events. Frehse earned a spot in the 110H finals by running the fourth fastest prelim time, a 16.26. Aided by the faster competition in the finals Frehse trimmed nearly three-tenths off his time, taking home bronze with a 15.98. The senior was able to secure another trip to the podium by clocking a 43.10 in the 300H, good enough for sixth place.
Douglas earned his podium trips for his work in the shot and discus. The senior, with a 134-11 in the discus, and a heave of 45-8.5 in the shot put, earned the fourth best throws in each event.
On the girls' side, Middletown was unable to capture any medals. Joci Koser came the closest, falling a mere 0.10 short of sixth place with a 27.83 in the 200m.
The results for the baseball team's busy stretch were a mixed bag with victories over Steel-High and Susquehanna Township countering losses to East Pennsboro, Northern York, Bishop McDevitt and Camp Hill.
The Blue Raiders opened the stretch on April 5th with a 4-2 loss to East Pennsboro. Middletown ended up being their own worst enemy with three errors leading to two unearned runs. Kell allowed those four runs off of six hits over 5.1 innings, adding three strikeouts and five walks to his effort. Kell also produced one of four Middletown hits on the day, a sixth inning lead-off single leading to the Blue Raiders second run. Matt Schopf provided the base hit that allowed Kell to score while Avery Williams collected Middletown's other RBI single in the fifth. Aaron McDevitt picked up the Raiders' first hit in the fourth.
Bishop McDevitt came to town one day later and left with a 13-0 victory. David Alcock was the first of five Middletown pitchers used to cover the seven innings. The trouble started early as McDevitt scored four runs during Alcock's 1.1 innings. Scott Ash picked up after Alcock's departure and pitched through the fourth inning, surrendering one unearned run. Dom Barilla was up next and managed to get through the fifth after just one Crusader run but trouble returned in the sixth. Two quick McDevitt runs brought and end to Barilla's day. Garrett Miller took over and covered the first two outs of the sixth with one final unearned McDevitt run coming during that time. Owen Haederer ended McDevitt's sixth inning damage at three runs after relieving Miller with two outs and the bases loaded. Haederer saw tougher times in the seventh with another four Crusader runs putting the final at 13-0. The pitching quintet combined for eight strikeouts and 11 walks. Williams provided Middletown's only two hits on the day.
The Blue Raiders picked up win number one on April 9th, 17-13, after surviving Susquehanna Township's late game push. Middletown jumped out to a 13-0 lead after two innings only to see Township plate five in the bottom of the third to start their comeback bid. The Blue Raiders started tacking on insurance runs in the fifth and they proved to be useful after the Indians' eight run sixth inning.
Middletown managed another two insurance runs in the top of the seventh but they were not needed as Kell was able to close things out with a scoreless seventh.
Ash got the start and picked up the win with Miller (two innings) and Tim Wagner (one and two-third innings) bridging the gap between Ash and Kell. Williams, Alcock and Wagner provided the pop at the plate with three RBI each.
Camp Hill provided another setback on the April 10th, winning 6-1 after scoring five runs in the bottom of the seventh to break up a 1-1 deadlock. Kell knotted the game with his fifth inning single, one of two on the day. Blake Jacoby allowed all six Lion runs during his 5.2 innings, but only three were earned thanks to one Middletown error. Jacoby had three walks and seven strikeouts during his time on the mound. Alcock needed one pitch to record the final out of the game.
The Blue Raiders fifth loss of the season came on April 11th via an 11-1 final. Northern York used a four run first coupled with a five run fifth to secure the ten-run victory. Ash saw five of the Polar Bear runs score on his four inning watch while Kell witnessed the final six runs. Each pitcher recorded two strikeouts and combined for seven walks over the game's initial 6.1 innings. Schopf closed the door on the Polar Bears with two quick outs but the damage had already been done. Cam Peters produced Middletown's lone run with his second inning single.
Middletown closed out the week on a positive note with a 14-3, five inning win over Steel-High on the 12th. Williams and Peters carried the offense with three RBI apiece while Ash provided strong back-up with his two-hit, two RBI game. Alcock earned the easy win with four innings of work but did allow two of the three Roller runs on six hits to go with six strikeouts and no walks. Haederer and Miller combined to cover the fifth with Haederer on the hook for the final Steel-High run.
The softball team came out of their busy stretch with four losses against an April 10th win over Camp Hill. The Lady Raiders used a three-run, seventh inning rally, to slip by the Lady Lions 7-6. Hailey Hockenberry and Jordyn Dupes enjoyed three hit games with Hockenberry driving in two runs on three singles. Dupes' three hits left her a home run shy of the cycle. Kayla Finsterbush and game winner Noelle Zimmerman provided Middletown's two remaining RBI for the game.
Zimmerman earned the win after covering all seven innings with five walks and one strikeout to go with nine hits and five earned runs.
The five games in seven days run ended on April 11th with a 10-0 loss to Northern York. Hayley Baxter tossed all five innings to take the loss, striking out one and walking three in the process. Jordan Roberts enjoyed the lone multi-hit game for Middletown with two singles.
Seven days earlier the Lady Raiders fell to East Pennsboro 15-0 in three innings. Baxter was hit with that loss as well, covering the first 2.1 innings. Zimmerman and Maddie Sweigert recorded one out each to finish things up.
Bishop McDevitt was responsible for a 10-4 loss on April 6th. Zimmerman absorbed the loss for working through five innings while Baxter covered the final inning. Dupes collected half of Middletown's six hits, producing the Lady Raiders' only two RBI for the game. Veronica Miller, Hockenberry and Hayli Akakpo-Martin accounted for the remaining three hits.
The final game of the run was a 19-2 loss to Eastern York on the 9th. Baxter pitched three of the five innings and took the loss after allowing 10 of the 17 runs. Finsterbush and Sweigert were each responsible for pushing across one Middletown run.
The weather reshuffling not only caused the Blue Raider tennis team to play six matches in nine days, it also produced the oddity of back-to-back matches against the same opponent two different times in the same week. Unfortunately for Middletown the April 11th and April 12th matches opposite Bishop McDevitt ended in 5-0 losses and combined with a 5-0 loss to Camp Hill on the 13th for a less than desirable ending to their week. The stretch opened with another 5-0 loss, this one to Susquehanna Township on April 5th.
The Blue Raiders also faced Harrisburg Academy in back-to-back action and produced a 5-0 victory as well as a 4-1 win. The 5-0 sweep went down on the 9th with Jacob Spear, Donovan Brady and Zeryab Ibrahim handling singles duty. Zac Purvis and Levi Ettu picked up one doubles victory while Danny Mercado and Justin Wright earned the other.
One day later Spear and Ibrahim were able to duplicate their singles success to account for two of Middletown's four wins. Purvis teamed up with Kyle Shatto for one of two doubles victories while Wright and Matt Spangler earned the second.