Manchester starting pitcher Michael Houseal delivers a pitch vs. Jefferson on Wednesday night. Houseal allowed just one run over six innings to get the
Manchester starting pitcher Michael Houseal delivers a pitch vs. Jefferson on Wednesday night. Houseal allowed just one run over six innings to get the win. (BILL KALINA --

JEFFERSON -- Jefferson hasn't been able to call itself a champion in more than three decades.

So what is one more day for the Titans.

Jefferson had a chance to end that drought Wednesday night when it hosted Game 4 of the Central League Baseball Playoff Championship Series vs. Manchester.

In keeping with the flow of the best-of-5 series, the Indians traveled to Jefferson and earned another victory for the road team. Starter Michael Houseal allowed just a run and five hits over six innings before giving way to closer Andy Clemens in the seventh.

Manchester's offense did the rest. The Indians got a big RBI double from Chris Langley and a solo homer by Jason Kelly to lead the Indians to a 3-1 victory.

The outcome sets up a winner-take-all Game 5 Thursday night at Manchester. Game time is set for 5:45 p.m.

"This was a big one for us," said Houseal, who won a rematch of the starters from Game 1 against Jefferson's Matt Gonzalez. "Making it to a fifth game definitely makes it seem like we can win this."

The visiting team, while not only winning every game so far in the series, has also scored first in each contest. The Indians did that in the second when Langley crushed a double off the fence in left center that scored Kelly with the game's first run.

"Tonight we just got the timely hits when we needed them," Manchester manager Dave Miller said. "Gonzo has some good stuff and I thought he pitched a good game for them. We didn't get a whole lot hits, but we capitalized on a walk or two."


Kelly doubled the lead in the fourth when the left-handed-hitting slugger smoked a Gonzalez offering over the fence in right. That run was probably as important for the Indians as it was for Kelly, who broke a long 0-for slump in the process.

"Jason finally put some good wood on a pitch," Miller said. "That was actually his first hit in the playoffs. Whether we were going to play him (Wednesday) was a debate, but I decided that the odds are in his favor that he's soon going to get a hit."

Logan Allison came through with a two-out single in the fifth that scored Trey McWilliams, a run that pushed the lead to 3-0.

That seemed like plenty for Houseal, who cruised through five scoreless inning. The Donegal High School graduate ran into a jam in the sixth with a runner on first and two outs. Houseal then walked Steven Gentile III, hit Jeff Kemberling and then walked Tyler Troxel to force in a run. He retired pinch-hitter James Volz on a come-backer to the mound, but only after nearly throwing his toss over the head of first baseman Josh Reeser.

"We go to the point where Michael got us through six and I was able to bring in Clem," Miller said. "And Andy hasn't given up an earned run all year, so (I was happy) to take our chances with him."

Clemens gave up a two-out single to Scott Trail in the seventh which brought the tying run to the plate in Matt Austin. Austin, who homered in the seventh inning back in Game 2, ended any chance of a comeback when he bounced into a fielder's choice at second to end the contest.

The lack of clutch hitting wasn't a surprise to the Jefferson side, according to assistant manager Pat Schultz. The Titans left nine on base in the loss after leaving eight on base in a loss in Game 2 Sunday.

"I know that (manager) Steve (Gentile) has been saying this, but it's really just like this every game," said Schultz, who made himself available after the game for questions with Gentile unavailable. "It's back-and-forth with us. We've been inconsistent with the bats all year. We left eight or nine guys on base, but credit to Houseal. He got the job done."

Trail was the only player in the contest to collect more than one hit. The second baseman finished with three singles in four trips the plate.

Gonzalez was tagged with a hard-luck loss after surrendering just six hits and two walks while fanning six.

"Gonzo was fantastic," Schultz said. "He wasn't as sharp as he was on Saturday, but he was just as good. He only gave up three runs."

Aware that the home team is 0-for-4 in the series, the Indians will try to change things up Thursday. Normally they wear gray jerseys for home contests, but they will instead sport their red road uniforms.

Correction: Colin Porter had four hits on Tuesday in Jefferson's 11-1 victory over Manchester. Porter was identified incorrectly in Wednesday's York Dispatch.

-- Reach Ryan Vandersloot at


Best-of-5 Series

Series tied, 2-2

Game 4

Manchester 010  110  0 -- 3  6  3

Jefferson 000  001  0 -- 1  6  3

M, Houseal, Clemens (7) and Rentzel; J, Gonzalez and Jasinski; WP -- Houseal; LP -- Gonzalez; 2B -- M, Langley; HR -- M, Kelly.