MILROY - It was another one of those patented Bill Corbin combacks.
Corbin, the Mifflin County Babe Ruth 13-year-old manager, has seen his teams through the years mount stunning finishes. All four of his state titles - in 1987, 1990, 2003 and 2007 - have come late in the championship games. In fact, in the 2007 state tournament, Mifflin County won two games in the seventh inning against Wayne County and then another against Broomall for the state title.
On Thursday, it wasn't for the state championship, but it was for the right to go play in the state tournament.
Sentinel photo by BUFFIE BOYER
Mifflin County’s Cole Baker, left, catches the ball but fails to make the tag on Perry County’s Cody Smith as slides into second base Thursday at Milroy in the Babe Ruth District 7 13-year-old tournament.
Mifflin County scored three times in the seventh inning to come from behind to nip Perry County at the end, 10-8. The loss eliminated Perry County, but it pushed Mifflin County into the District 7 championship game against Altoona today at 7 p.m.
If Mifflin County wins that game, it would play on Saturday at noon against Altoona in the "if-necessary" game. Altoona can win the District title with a win tonight.
Altoona is hosting the 13-year-old Babe Ruth state tournament and is automatically in the tournament. By reaching the district championship game, Mifflin County will also now go to the state tournament as the District 7 representative.
The win kept two streaks alive. Mifflin County 13-year-old teams have now reached the district final 21 times in a row from 1993 to 2013, tying a mark aleady held by Mifflin County from 1969-1991.
It also marks the 15th year in a row that at least one Mifflin County All-Star team has reached the state playoffs.
One streak the league holds still is at threat of being snapped - if Altoona wins the district title, it will be the first time in 35 tries that an all-star team from Mifflin County has lost that honor since 2001, when the 14-year-olds failed to win their title.
Mifflin County trailed 8-7 going into the top of the seventh inning and Perry County was just three outs away from the title game.
Chantz Baum, the third Perry County pitcher, got Brock Sinkus to ground back to him to open the inning.
Thomas Remy then reached on an error and Collin Stuck was sent into pinch run. Cole Baker was hit by pitch and Nick Hostetler singled to load the bases.
Kyle Peachey went down on strikes, but Derick Cross walked to force in Stuck with the tying run.
Then Aaron Kanagy, who already had two hits, smashed a ball down to the Perry County third baseman and when he just didn't handle it cleanly, two runs scored. Marcus Donahey flew out to center to end the inning.
Then it was up Carson King, the Mifflin County relief pitcher, and the Mifflin County defense to hold the lead.
Devon Chenot led off with a walk, but Trevor Gerst flew out to center for the first out. King got Truitt Detra on strikes and Joey Wright popped to Donahey at shortstop to end the game.
"The kids kept fighting," Corbin said, "Carson (King) kept us close. Walks hurt us, but walks hurt them too. We were down by four runs in the middle of the game, but we kept chipping away.
"I thought we were going to tie it in the sixth, but their shortstop (Baum) made a heck of a play up the middle to stop us," Corbin noted.
Mifflin County jumped out in front 2-0 in the first inning. Baker singled, stole second and scored on a Hostetler single. Peachey flew out to center and Hostetler, who stole second, moved to third on the fly ball. He then came home on a Cross ground out.
In the second Perry County put up five runs as Peachey had trouble finding the plate. He walked four and gave up two key hits, a two-run single by Joey Wright and a two-run double from Cody Smith.
At that point in the game, Corbin went to his bullpen and King got the call. He became the hero as he only gave up three more runs, all in the fourth. He struck out three, walked four and gave up four hits.
In the third Mifflin County cut the lead to 5-4 as Cross doubled and later scored on a wild pitch. Hostetler opened with an infield single and Kanagy drove in Hostetler with a base hit.
It was much of the same in the fifth as Peachey singled to open the inning. Cross reached on an error and Peachey scored on Kanagy's second hit of the night. Cross later came home on a passed ball.
Then in the sixth, Mifflin County cut the lead to a run, 8-7, setting up the seventh. Hostetler, who had three hits, reached on an error. He stole second and moved to third on a Peachey ground ball and scored on a Cross ground out.
The game was Mifflin County's 850th in all-star play as it now has a 594-256 record.