Richter fuels Selinsgrove's ninth straight win

Apr. 22—SELINSGROVE — There came a point late in Selinsgrove's game Monday when the only drama revolved around whether Mason Richter could bump his team-leading batting average north of .500.

The senior shortstop came through, lacing a two-run single to left field to pad the Seals' lead in an eventual 14-1 nonleague win over Greenwood in five innings.

Richter finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs, boosting his white-hot average to .515. Caleb Hicks homered on Wildcats starter Nico Naimo's second pitch, and Josh Domaracki and Griffin Parker each knocked in a pair of runs in Selinsgrove's ninth consecutive victory.

The Seals (9-1) posted double-digit runs for the sixth time in their win streak and the fourth game in a row.

"Our offense has been solid," said Selinsgrove coach Brent Beiler. "One-through-five has been a level above anything I've ever seen. Our five seniors are outstanding. The bottom of the order, we're piecing that together but some guys are starting to step up, which is nice to see as we enter the second half of the season."

At the end of his junior season, Richter ranked ninth among Selinsgrove's regulars with a .313 clip. Three of the Seals ahead of him graduated (Andrew Gephart, Gannon Steimling and Tyler Swineford), but three others started along with Richter on the 2022 Class 5A state runner-up squad (Domaracki, Ben Gearhart and Tucker Teats).

This season, Richter has at least one hit in all but one game and multiple hits in seven. He also has had three RBIs four times, totaling a team-best 19 at the season's midpoint.

"I try to stay within myself, but I also I think (the player turnover) was motivation, too, because we lost some good hitters," Richter said. "I knew I'd have to step up a little bit, but I knew the other guys would, too. So far it's working."

Richter got his first opportunity Monday with two outs in the first inning. Gearhart was on third base after taking a four-pitch walk and stealing two bags, and he scored when Richter lined a 3-1 pitch to center. He walked in the Seals' eight-run second inning, and, after a third-inning flyout, he ripped his two-run single in the fourth.

Richter drove in three of the five runners on base ahead of him. A fourth scored on a wild pitch with him at the plate.

"I'm in the five-hole, and I know one-through-four are at least going to get a couple on base for me," he said. "So I just go up there trying to poke one through — not trying to kill the ball or hit it over the fence. I've gotten lucky with a couple home runs recently (three total, tied for the team lead), but I'm just trying to put the barrel to the ball and get (the runners) in."

The Seals overwhelmed the left-handed Naimo, sending 21 batters to the plate in the first two innings, getting 15 of them on base and scoring 10. Naimo struggled with his control, walking four and hitting four more while allowing five hits.

Ryan Gavason was hit with the first pitch of the home second to turn over the lineup. Domaracki, Teats and Parker all delivered run-scoring hits during Selinsgrove's eight-run rally for a 10-0 lead.

"We have a lot of seniors that are in the lineup and impacting the team in an incredible way," Beiler said. "We usually have a younger team, so this is unusual to have a ton of seniors with a ton of experience. We had those big holes to fill ... but we knew we were going to be solid offensively."

After Monday's game, Richter's average was followed by five classmates: Teats .483, Gearhart .448, Hicks .438, Domaracki .400 and Owen Santiago .333.

Greenwood (3-9) has won five consecutive District 3 Class A championships (the 2020 playoffs were cancelled due to COVID-19). The Wildcats lost five straight games to open the season before winning three of the next five.

They were held hitless Monday for 3 1/3 innings by Seals starter Griffin Parker and reliever Gavin Hoot. Zackary Watson's RBI single to right field with one out in the fourth broke up Selinsgrove's no-hit bid and shutout. Naimo and Gavin Jones both singled and were stranded in the fifth.

The Seals' second half opens Wednesday with a Heartland Athletic Conference-Division I game at Central Mountain in a battle for first place. It continues with home tests against Jersey Shore, Williamsport, Wyoming Valley West and Hughesville, as well as a mid-May trip to State College. Selinsgrove is again slated to participate in a subregional with District 2 as gateway to the state tournament, where they lost a quarterfinal to Strath Haven last year.

"I think it's special," said Richter. "We've been playing baseball together ever since we were kids, and we've held it all together until now. I just hope we can make it further that we did last year. That's my only hope."



Greenwood;000;10;— 1-3-2

Selinsgrove;281;3x;— 14-9-1

Nico Naimo, A.J. Adlon (2) and Braydon Beneito. Griffin Parker, Gavin Hoot (3) and Caleb Hicks, Jayden Beaver (3).

WP: Parker. LP: Naimo.

Greenwood: Gavin Jones 1-for-3; Gavin Oburn run; Zackary Watson 1-for-2, RBI; Dylan Yohn 1-for-1.

Selinsgrove: Caleb Hicks 1-for-1, home run (1st, solo), 2 runs, RBI; Beaver run; Josh Domaracki 1-for-2, run, 2 RBIs; Declan Abrahims 2-for-2, double, run, RBI; Ben Gearhart 2 runs; Tucker Teats 1-for-2, run, RBI; Michael Walz run; Mason Richter 2-for-3, run, 3 RBIs; Brennan Kline 1-for-2, run, RBI; Parker 1-for-1, run, 2 RBIs; Dominic Santer run; Ryan Gavason run.