WILLIAMSPORT - It seems as if every time Mifflin County plays Broomall-Newtown in a Babe Ruth game in Williamsport, something exciting happens for Mifflin County.
In 2007, Broomall-Newtown led Mifflin County 2-0 and just needed one more strike to win the 13-year-old state title, but Mifflin County rallied for a 4-2 win and the state championship. Then last Friday, Mifflin County pulled off the first triple play in the 59-year history of all-star play to end the game in a 5-4 win.
But, when the two teams met on Tuesday in the Pennsylvania 15-year-old Babe Ruth final four, there wasn't any magic in the air for Mifflin County.
Sentinel photo by RASHELLE?CAREY
Members of the Mifflin County 15-year-old all-star team walk off the field after a season-ending 4-3 loss to Broomall-Newtown in the Babe Ruth state tournament Tuesday in Williamsport.
In a hard fought game, Broomall-Newtown edged Mifflin County, 4-3, and eliminated the locals from state competition. Broomall-Newtown will now meet West End tonight for the right to claim the top spot on the 15-year-old state championship list.
"This was an extraordinary group," Mifflin County manager Bernie Howard said. "There was never any excuses. Never a complaint. From start to finish we were in every game. What, we lost two games by one run? Today, it was just two good teams going at it. There were no fluke plays, it was just solid baseball."
"I thought we had a chance right up until the last out," Howard continued.
Mifflin County had some chances early, but didn't take advantage of them. In the first inning, Alex Hackenberg walked, stole second and when Lucas Harshbarger singled to center, Hackenberg tried to score and was out at home.
In the second inning, Tyler Powell led off with a double and made it as far as third base as he advanced on a ground ball by Nate Earnest. But the next two batters went down in order for Mifflin County. Then in the third, Aaron Sharp reached on an error, but was picked off of first. Andrew Larson followed with a single, but then Cas Wolanin, the starting pitcher for Broomall-Newtown, got the next two batters to end the inning.
Broomall-Newtown finally got on the scoreboard in the fourth as Jack Shevlin and Cameron Mathis walked with one out. Then Nick Molinaro singled up the middle scoring Shevlin.
In the bottom of the inning, Powell tied it with a home run to left field. Earnest followed with a single and when he stole second, it looked as if Mifflin County had something going. But, Wolanin again rose to the occasion by getting the next two outs.
Broomall-Newtown picked up three runs in the top of the fifth, which turned out to be enough. With one out, Wolanin singled. Ricky Collins followed with another base hit. Scott Hahn then made it three hits in a row and Wolanin scored. Collins came home on a wild pitch and Mathis then delivered what turned out to be the winning RBI with a single that scored Hahn.
But, as Mifflin County has done all during the tournament trail, it wouldn't give up. Sharp opened the fifth with a single. Larson then reached on a fielder's choice as Sharp was out at second. Zach Hostetler walked and then Hackenberg delivered a single to score Larson. At that point in the game, Broomall-Newtown changed pitchers and went to Collins. It proved to be the difference in the game.
Collins got Harshbarger to ground out as Hostetler scored Mifflin County's third run. But, that was the end of the offense for Mifflin County. Collins retired the eight men he faced in a row to close out the game.
Peyton Reesman started for Mifflin County and he lasted until the sixth. He allowed four runs on five hits. He struck out four and walked four. After a hit batter to open the sixth, Hackenberg came in to close and he didn't allow a run or a hit. He struck out one and hit a batter.
Notes: Each age group now has hit a home run, Powell in the 15-year-olds, Ty Bodtorf in the 14-year-olds and Derick Cross in the 13-year-olds. ... After winning its first two one-run games this year (one by the 14-year-olds and one by 15-year-olds), Mifflin County has now dropped four in a row, two by 15-year-olds, one by 14-year-olds and one by 13-year-olds. ... Powell's home run was the 50th in state competition for Mifflin County, which now has more home runs in the state tournament (50) than in District 7 play (47). ... Mifflin County's record in Williamsport is now 28-20.