Clipper Magazine opens gates for 72nd LNP Midget Baseball Tournament | Baseball

To look at the Lanco Midget Baseball standings, the field for the 72nd LNP Midget Tournament is top-seeded Hempfield Black, and everybody else.

But, if past LNP Tournaments have taught us anything, heavy is the head that wears the crown of the top seed.

Since the LNP Tournament took up residence at Clipper Magazine Stadium — and went to a 1-through-8 seeded format — the pre-tourney No. 1 seed has won five times out of 11, Manheim VFW accomplishing the feat twice, in 2012 and last year.

Other No. 1s to prevail include SWS in 2014, Ephrata in ‘09 and Lititz  in  2006.

That was the first of five titles won by the Oddfellows in the Clipper era.

Three of those titles, in 2011-13-15, were won in tournaments where Hempfield entered as the top seed.

While talent almost always carries the day, a single-elimination tournament can be affected by fate, as well as a team getting hot at the right time.

Or cold at the wrong time.

Hot or cold, it all unfolds over four days beginning Tuesday night.

While Hempfield navigated the Lanco schedule unbeaten at 14-0, Bears Blue, Lancaster, the Oddfellows and Solanco Gray all went 11-3 in league play — 4-3 within their sub group.

Looking to run the tournament table as the top seed for the first time since 2005, Hempfield opens play Tuesday night at 5:15 p.m. with a quarter-final matchup against defending champion Manheim VFW.

In the second game Tuesday the fourth-seeded Oddfellows and No. 5 seed Solanco Gray square off, 20 minutes following the conclusion of the first game.

Wednesday’s quarterfinals feature No. 2 seed Bears Blue meeting seventh-seeded SWS at 5:15, followed by third-seeded Lancaster vs. No. 6 Ephrata Lions.

The final four meet in Thursday’s semifinals, first pitch at 5:15, with the championship game set for Friday at 7 p.m.

Here’s a look at the quarterfinal matchups.

No. 1 Hempfield Black vs. No. 8 Manheim VFW

LNP Tournament history: Hempfield won the most recent of its seven titles in 2010.

Manheim, the defending Midget champion, has won five times.

How they got here: As mentioned, Black went unbeaten to secure the top seed.

Manheim finished two games ahead of Octorara for the final playoff berth. But a 5-1 head-to-head loss to SWS broke a tie for seventh and bumped VFW to eighth.

Head to head: Hempfield beat Manheim 8-2.

Back from last year: For Hempfield: Alec Santiago, Ben Sheaffer, Brad Paup, Brandon Husted, Justin Lichtenwalner, Nick Fiore, Ronnie Swantner and Seth Constein.

For Manheim: Garrett Bruckhart, Drew Mummau, Cody Gibble and David Cruz.

Top hitters/pitchers: Mummau hit .410 with 10 RBI and 12 steals. He also went 3-1 with a 1.75 ERA. Bruckhart hit .306. Curtis Kroesen hit .313.

No. 4 Lititz Oddfellows vs. No. 5 Solanco Gray

LNP Tournament history: The 2015 champion Oddfellows have won five times, all since 2006.

Solanco has won three times, most recently in 1996.

How they got here: Lititz’s 10-5 decision over Solanco broke their portion of the four-way tie for second. Both lost to Lancaster, ceding the No.3 spot.

While Solanco did best the Bears head-to-head, 6-5, Gray went 0-2 against Lancaster and Lititz, dropping out of consideration for the No. 2 spot

Back from last year: Dagen Young, Colby Martin, Brendan Martin, Adam Ricketts, Jeffrey Kline, Max Bright and Adam Kurtz return for Lititz.

Tim Fetterman, Dawson Kreider, John Murray, Haydn Fox, Sam Buckwalter, Joel McGuire, Henry Woy, Hunter Shaw, Zach Fritz and Corey Stively are back for Gray.

Top hitters/pitchers: Lititz’s John Seibert (.545), Colin Beech (.424, 16 RBI) and Zach Shertzer (.407) have appeared hi three of the last four LNP finals, in J-Ms and M-Ms. Colin Brubaker (0.75) and Vaughn Salmi (1.40) have sub-2.00 ERAs.

Kreider (.545, 14 RBI), Fetterman (.472, 10 RBI), Shaw (.391) and Murray (.368, 19 RBI) pace Solanco. Fox (2-1, 0.77 ERA), Stively (2-1, 2.55) and Mike May (2-0, 2.33) carry the load on the mound.

No. 2 Bears Blue vs. No. 7 SWS

LNP Tournament history: E-town programs have won two Midget titles, in 1947 and 2000.

SWS has won once, in 2014, but has seven runner-up finishes: 2012-11-10-09-03-02 and 1999. Strasburg, a predecessor program, won twice, in 1973 and ‘76.

How they got here: A 3-2 decision over Lancaster wrapped up the No. 2 spot for the Bears.

SWS’s win over Manheim nailed down the seventh spot.

Head to head: Blue prevailed 5-2.

Back from last year: Austin Denlinger, Richie Hart, Anthony Funk, Cole Livingston, Cole Patrick, Hunter Murry, Nick Kreider, Luke Adams and Kevin Gamber are back for the Bears.

Aaron Snyder, Josh Howells, Nevin Book, Kristofer Pirozzi, Connor Blantz, Hunter Cunningham, Doug Schneider, Derek Eckman, Joe Meck and Patrick Holmes front an experienced SWS squad.

Top hitters/pitchers: Kreider (.487), Livingston (.386, 12 RBI) and Denlinger (.375, 9 RBI, 2 HR) pace the Blue. Patrick and Kreider each went 2-1 with ERAs hovering around 2.00 Michael Baker was 3-1 with a 1.69 ERA.

Meck leads SWS with a .571 average, suppoted by Kristofer Pirozzi (.346), Nevin Book (.344), Derek Eckman (.333). Josh Howells (.315; 2-0) and Connor Blantz (.322; 2-0) and Doug Schneider (2-2) handle most of the pitching, while Patrick Holmes has been strong out of the bullpen.

No. 3 Lancaster Tornado vs. No. 6 Ephrata Lions

LNP Tournament history: Lancaster Township won the last of 11 titles secured by “city” programs, in 1989. Lancaster teams have qualified three times since then: in 2001, ‘04 and ‘14. The ‘01 team got to the semifinals.

Ephrata area teams have won six titles, the last delivered by the Ephrata Pride in 2009.

How they got here:  After finishing 11th in the league last year, victories over Solanco and Lititz  locked Lancaster’s hold on the No.3 spot.

Ephrata saved its sixth seed with a 2-1 win over the Bears. Of note, the Lions only played four true home games due to field conflicts.

Head to head: A 9-5 victory for Lancaster.

Back from last year: Mason Lee, Alexander Dominguez, Jarell Lopez, Nate Santiago, and Dylan Esh are back for the Tornado.

Ricky Bromirski, Nate Young, Hunter Johns, Ryan Jantzen, Justin Brubaker, Owen Gockley, Luke Andes, Billy Been, Jackson Conover and Drew Myers are back for the Lions

Top hitters/pitchers: Dominguez (.325), Esh (.357) and Alex Polito (.333) pace the Tornado offense.  Proulx (4-2, 3.00 ERA), Esh (3-1, 2.58) and Seth Winters (4-0) carry the pitching load.

Bromirski (.584, 18 RBI, 24 runs scored; 0.58 ERA) and Young (.568, 15 RBI; 1.11 ERA, 52 Ks) excelled both on the mound and at the plate.  Blake White scored 20 time while batting .334. Hunter Johns struck out 21 while not allowing an earned run.

Three of the Lions eight wins were no-hitters.

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