WILLIAMSPORT - It's never easy playing a team the second time around.
Heck, it wasn't easy playing this team the first time.
Mifflin County was eliminated from the Pennsylvania 15-year-old Babe Ruth state tournament on Wednesday by losing to Bensalem, 7-5.
Sentinel photo by JEFF?FISHBEIN
Bensalem’s Mike Kirby, left, slides into second for a stolen base while Mifflin County’s Max Remy waits for the throw in the first inning of the Babe Ruth 15-year-old state quarterfinals at Williamsport Wednesday. Mifflin County lost 7-5.
On Monday, Mifflin County had edged the defending state champions 11-10 in eight innings.
In that game, Mifflin County pounded out 16 hits. On Wednesday, Mifflin County only had seven, but Bernie Howard, the Mifflin County manager, thought that his team had a better than average night against Brandon Vermuth, the Bensalem pitcher.
"We hit the ball well today," Howard said. "This is one of the best pitching staffs in the tournament. Although this has been an excellent offensive team from the start when they were 13, we are not going to get 15 hits every night out, especially against good pitching."
Bensalem opened the game by getting three runs in the first inning off of Mifflin County's starting pitcher Blaise Roush.
Before the inning was over, Roush was lifted for Hunter Shuff.
Mifflin County came right back as they had in the Monday game and scored three runs in the first inning to tie the game at 3.
On Monday, Mifflin County was down 7-1 and 10-7, but battled back to tie and win the game.
With one out, Carter Spade singled and Lucas McKay followed with an infield base hit. It didn't take long for Mifflin County to get on the scoreboard as Drew Hannon delivered a two-run single. Shuff grounded out, but when Hunter Walker reached on an error, Hannon raced home with the tying run.
Shuff gave up two runs in the second inning as Luke Duris delivered a two-run triple.
Mifflin County closed the gap to 5-4 with a run in the third inning. McKay doubled down the left field line. He moved to third on a ground out from Hannon and scored on a ground ball by Shuff.
Then in the fourth, Bensalem delivered what Howard considered the key rally of the day for the Bucks County team.
With one out, Joe Wunk singled and Duris walked. Eddie Belz got a base hit to load the bases. Pat Farrell then ripped a two-run double to the wall in left field.
"That hit by Farrell was the back breaker," Howard said. "Hunter Walker did a good job in trying to get to ball.
"Hunter (Shuff) did a good job in relief and at that the end we had to bring in Lucas (McKay) to close out the seventh," Howard said of his pitching staff on Wednesday.
Shuff then retired the next eight batters until he reached the seventh. He walked the next two batters he faced and Howard went to McKay and he struck out the side.
Mifflin County got two runners on in the sixth as Walker singled and Matt Lutz reached on an error. But the MC runners stayed at third and second respectively, as the next two batters grounded out.
In the seventh Mifflin County was down 7-4, but tried to rally one last time. With one out, Spade tripled and after a ground out by McKay, Hannon singled him home. But the game ended when Shuff grounded to third for the final out of the game.
Walker made the defensive play of the game for Mifflin County in the top of the third as George Pegram hit a ball to left field and Walker slid along the line and caught the ball.
Notes: Mifflin County now has a 1-6 record against Bensalem and has played them five times in the last two years...Pottsville won the 13-year-old state title, the first in its history, with a 15-0 five inning win over West End of Williamsport...West End and Mifflin County were the only two leagues in the state to advance all three of their teams into the single elimination part of the tournament...The final four teams in the 15-year-old bracket are Media (District 1), Bensalem (District 3), Valley West (District 4) and either West End of Altoona (both District 8), who were playing the night game.