13s get into final four by playing numbers game
ALTOONA – Mifflin County is staying alive.
The Mifflin County 13-year old all-stars will live to play another day, moving out of pool play in the Babe Ruth state tournament and moving onto to the final four, which begins today.
It wasn’t easy, as the team went 1-3 over the week against some stiff competition during pool play. In the final game Sunday, the locals had to keep foe Broomall/Newtown from scoring more than 15 runs in a win – a win the District 1 team accomplished, but only by a 10-6 margin.
Despite falling behind 6-0 early on and committing nine miscues, Mifflin County battled throughout the game against the undefeated front runner at Seitz Field in Altoona.
The team will be back in action today at 5 p.m.
“I am happy that we don’t give up. There were times we could of quit or gone flat,” Mifflin County manager Bill Corbin said. “We knew going that we had to stay under 15 runs and we would be in tomorrow. But then we jump out in the first and give up six. We put ourselves in the hole.”
Going into its first at bats, Mifflin County got right to work in an attempt to make a comeback.
With two out, Kyle Peachey, Cole Baker and Aaron Kanagy all reached base on walks, loading the bases. But Mifflin County ended up stranding them.
Baker, who came into the game in relief in the bottom of the first, threw a strong second inning, keeping Broomall/Newtown scoreless in the frame.
“I thought Cole did a good job holding them down,” Corbin said. “We can’t give away as many errors as we did this game and what we did in the West End game and continue to win ball games. You just can’t do it.”
Mifflin County cut into the Broomall lead in the second, plating two runs and cutting the lead to four for the visitors.
As in the first, the locals got a little two-out lightning going.
Chris Elliot got things rolling, reaching on Broomall/Newtown’s fourth walk of the game. Lead-off hitter Derrick Cross kept the inning going, blasting a single into center field. Nick Hostettler loaded the bases, reaching on yet another Broomall walk.
This time Mifflin County made Broomall pitcher Jamie Bruno pay for his walks when Kyle Peachey roped a two-run double.
Both defenses stepped up in the third, not allowing the other to score. However, Broomall/Newtown picked up four runs in the top of the fourth, upping its lead to 10-2.
But the Mifflin County team was not going to go down without a fight, rallying for three runs in the fourth.
Drew Williams sparked the offense, leading off the inning by slapping a single to center field.
Cross picked up an RBI of his own, picking up his second single of the game, allowing Williams to score.
Hostettler kept the good time rolling chopping a single into right field, moving Cross to third. He then put himself in scoring position scrambling to second with a stolen base.
Broomall allowed two runs to score on an infield error, plating Cross and Hostettler, making it 10-5.
Mifflin County continued to trail by the same score as it headed into its last at bats.
The locals were able to pick up one run in the inning but came up a bit short.
“Tomorrow’s a brand new day,” Corbin said. “In single elimination, I have seen No. 4 seeds come play an undefeated team and beat them, so we that’s what we got to do. We need to bounce back and play a good game. We played Altoona three times and played closely with them and might play them or we might playing the team we just played. But the key is we have to play defense and we can’t give away outs.”
Altoona 4, Mifflin County 3
ALTOONA – Mifflin County Babe Ruth 13-year-old manager, Bill Corbin, had said that he thought his team could play with Altoona.
Altoona won the District 7 title by beating Mifflin County 13-3 and 6-2. This time around it was a lot closer. Altoona edged Mifflin County, 4-3, and had to score three runs late to get the win.
Carson King struck out three, walked one and gave up six hits before giving way to Kyle Peachey. King worked into the sixth.
Mifflin County took an early 1-0 lead as Peachey singled, stole second, moved to third on a throwing error and scored on an Altoona miscue.
Altoona tied the game, 1-1, in the second, but Mifflin County retook the lead in the third, 2-1. Derick Cross singled, stole second and moved to third on another Altoona throwing error. Cross came home on a wild pitch.
Cross made it 3-1 with a solo home run in the fifth. It was Mifflin County’s 111th home run and the first one since Alex Hackenberg hit one in the same park as a 13-year-old on July 23, 2011, against Altoona.
But Altoona rallied for two runs in the sixth to tie the game, 3-3, and won it with a run in the seventh. In both innings, Mifflin County gave up leadoff walks.
Sentinel correspondent Ray Wilde contributed to this story.