WRIGHTSTOWN - The Mifflin County Babe Ruth 14-year-old All-Stars have pitched and played defense as well as anyother team in the Pennsylvania state tournament, but it has left out one important ingredient: scoring runs.
Since its opening day win against Spring-Ford, when it scored eight runs, Mifflin County has only scored nine more times. That lack of scoring has cost the team its last two pool games.
On Sunday, Mifflin County fell to West End of Williamsport, 4-3 in nine innings. With a 2-2 record, Mifflin County advanced to the final four. The other teams in the single-elimination part of the state tournament are West End, Tri-Township and Valley (Hazleton).
For the third time in seven games, Mifflin County went to extra innings, one in the district then a win over Drexel Hill in the state tournament in another nine inning affair.
"I'm proud of these guys," said Kevin Reigle, the Mifflin County manager. "The way we battled today in extra innings was special. Again our pitching and defense showed up big. We just never got the timely hit. I'm hoping today we can do it on offense."
West End struck first as Elliott Walker ripped a triple and scored on a single by Larry VanStevenson. Walker, the ninth hitter in the line-up, would be heard from again.
Mifflin County finally tied the score in the fifth inning as Cade Attick doubled, moved to third on a ground ball and scored on a wild pitch.
West End went out front, 2-1, in the sixth, but Mifflin County tied it in the bottom of the seventh. Again Attick was in the thick of the comeback. He walked to open the seventh and went to second on a Ty Bodtorf single. After a pop up to the pitcher, Jake Spickler drew a walk to load the bases. Jordan Marshall then came up with a clutch base hit. The rally ended when Austin Erb hit into a double play.
Neither team scored in the eighth but in the ninth, West End scored two runs with two outs. Noah Young reached on a fielder's choice and then Walker hit a two-run homer making it 4-2.
But, Mifflin County just wouldn't go away. Again it was Attick who led the comeback. He opened the ninth by ripping his third hit of the day for a double. One out later, Isaac Maclay rapped his first hit of the state tournament, a double, scoring Attick. Nick Poche was sent into pinch run for Maclay. Spickler drew another walk, but Marshall popped to the pitcher for the second out of the inning. Erb then hit into a fielder's choice as Poche was called out on a close play at third base.
Bodtorf went the first seven innings. He stuck out two, walked three and gave up three hits. Erb came in relief and suffered the set back. He gave up two runs on three hits, walked two and struck out one.
In the seventh, Mifflin County pulled off a double play that could have been a disaster play. Aaron Orgitano walked, but when Mike Weber grounded to third, Orgitano tried to go third and Attick raced over from his shortstop position and tagged him out.
Mifflin County had another great defensive play in the fourth as Marshall, the first baseman, threw out a runner on his knees as Bodtorf raced over from the pitcher's mound to record the out.
Tri-Township 7, Mifflin County 3
WRIGHTSTOWN - Mifflin County's offense didn't come alive until the fifth inning and by then it was too late in a pool play game against the host team, Tri-Township. Mifflin County scored three times in those two innings, but it wasn't enough as it fell, 7-3, on Saturday.
Mifflin County scored its first run in the fifth, but by then it was already 5-1. Trent Hidlay opened with a double and Cade Attick followed with another double getting Mifflin County on the scoreboard.
In the sixth, Mifflin County scored twice. Jonah Kile was hit by a pitch and then Logan Peachey followed with a double. Ross Underhill then knocked both runners home with a base hit.
Austin Erb started for Mifflin County and went into the fourth inning. He struck out one, walked four and gave up three hits and three runs. Damon Jasper finished for Mifflin County and he was touched for six hits and four runs. Jasper walked one and struck out one.
Mifflin County finished with seven hits. Attick led the way with two including a double. Peachey and Hidlay also had doubles.
Again, Mifflin County couldn't come up with the timely hits as it left nine men stranded. It also hit into two double plays, one in the first and one in the fourth.
Mifflin County tried to rally in the seventh as Ty Bodtorf led off with a single. He went to second on a passed ball and moved to third on a fly ball to center by Isaac Maclay. Marshall walked after a strikeout to put runners at the corners in a the four run game, but Peachey grounded out to end the game.
"I thought our pitching and defense were just great," Kevin Reigle, the Mifflin County manager, said. "But we just couldn't get the timely hit."