15-year-olds alone advance to state final four in Babe Ruth
DRUMS – Mifflin County has provided nothing but drama at the 15-year-old division Babe Ruth state tournament.
The team was celebrating its victory Sunday, capping its fourth one-run game in four tries, when the drama was extended – Mifflin County was announced as the No. 2 seed in the semifinals.
The announcement over the Freedom Park PA system became a topic of debate, and after several minutes of discussion among team reps and tourney administrators, Mifflin County took its rightful place as the No. 1 seed, having earned it with a 4-3 victory over host Valley.
“It’s another blowout,” joked Miffin County assistant coach Bill Corbin.
“We’ve won our last two, three games with some key plays late. We’re always in the game. We’re playing good defense and pitching well. Championships are won with defense and pitching.”
The win has Mifflin County back on the field at 2 p.m. Monday against No. 4 Valley in one semifinal. The other semifinal will see No. 2 Broomall/Newtown facing No. 3 Tri-Township in a rematch of their game Sunday, won by Broomall/Newtown 16-5.
“We played them last year as well (as Sunday), and now we’re on their home field,” Corbin said of playing Valley again. “We don’t know how good of a team they really are. All four finalists knew before they took the field they were advancing, so they weren’t going to really show anything.”
Pitcher Austin Erb delivered a single to left in the bottom of the seventh to drive home third baseman Ty Bodtorf. It was yet another walk-off win for Mifflin County, which qualified for its 69th state final four – 12 of which have been under the direction of manager Fred Zook.
The seventh started with Bodtorf hitting a single that was set to be an easy play for Valley shortstop Nick Kubishin. Instead of the ball’s last bounce to Kubishin coming in about chest high, it kicked up on the dirt and bounded well over the shortstop’s head into left field. Catcher Isaac Maclay followed with a potential double-play ball to third, but a throwing error left everyone safely on the bases.
Starting pitcher Jordan Marshall was robbed of the game-winner on a tumbling catch in right field by Valley’s Jake Maurer, but Erb was up next and would not be denied.
“That’s the key,” Corbin said. “Against West End (an opening-game loss), we didn’t make them pay for their mistakes. The whole thing started with a ball that could have been an out. Then we talked about bunting and instead end up with the bad throw putting another runner on..”
Mifflin County took a 2-0 lead in the third inning as Bodtorf posted his 34th RBI, a Mifflin County record. Shortstop Cade Attick doubled to left with one out and Bodtorf came up two batters later. He ripped a ball into left field that was misplayed into a run-scoring triple. Maclay walked and Marshall reached on an error that allowed Bodtorf to score.
Valley broke through in the top of the fifth, taking a 3-2 lead behind two singles, two sacrifices, a walk and an error.
Mifflin County knotted the game at 3-3 in the sixth, turning a one-out walk to second baseman Levi Sherwood into a run as he scored from second on a fielding error generated by the bat of Attick.
Notes: Jarod Paisly had two hits and a run for Valley. … Valley committed five errors – one in each of the final five innings. … Valley pitchers combined to issue six walks, helping boost Mifflin County’s left on base total to 13. … Mifflin County short stop Attick started a 6-4-3 double play to end the second, teaming with Sherwood and first baseman Jake Spickler. … Mifflin County third baseman Bodtorf had a couple of web gems, topped with a diving effort in the sixth inning where he threw out Valley’s James Graves from his knees. … Final preliminary round standings saw Mifflin County, Tri-Township and Broomall/Newtown finish 3-1, Valley 2-2, and defending state champ West End, Aston Valley and Franklin Township 1-3. The tiebreaker for the 3-1 teams was runs allowed, which Mifflin County led with 12 in four games, two better than Broomall/Newtown.
Mifflin County 5, Broomall-Newtown 4
DRUMS – It was a record setting day on Saturday for the Mifflin County Babe Ruth 15-year-old All-Stars. All the numbers fell into place and Mifflin County won by a run over Broomall-Newtown, 5-4.
It was manager Fred Zook’s 100th all-star win and the 100th win for Mifflin County in one-run games. Not to be outdone, Ty Bodtorf, who knocked in the winning runs in the bottom of the seventh inning with a bases-loaded double, also put himself into the record books. He has 14 lifetime doubles, breaking a tie with Matt Gregg (2002-04); his three RBIs in the game ties him with Gregg and Casey Zimmerman (2004-06) at 33.
It was a hectic seventh inning. Broomall-Newtown took the lead 4-3 as Bodtorf, who came in relief of Isaac Maclay in the sixth, found himself faced with two men on and no outs. Bodtorf got out of the inning with a strkeout and a fly ball to right.
Trent Hidlay opened the seventh with a sharp single to right. Tyler Bedelyon popped to the pitcher, but Cade Attick kept the inning alive with a base hit. Kenny Cavanaugh loaded the bases with an infield single and then Bodtorf delivered his record-smashing double.
“The kids (players) didn’t quit,” Zook said. “They (Broomall) have a great team. We really hit the ball today. We did have a couple of base running errors.
“Trent (Hidlay) got us off to a good start in the seventh,” Zook continued. “I was really happy for him. It opened up the rally and then Ty came through. He has been outstanding on the mound for us all week.”
Mifflin County scored twice in the first inning to take a 2-0 lead. Cavanaugh tripled with one out and Bodtorf knocked him home with a single. Maclay followed with a base hit. Jordan Marshall popped to second, but Logan Peachey came through with an RBI single.
With two outs in the second, Mifflin County scored again as Bedleyon walked and went to second on a passed ball. Attick then knocked him home with a base hit making it 3-0.
Twice in the middle innings it looked like Mifflin County was going to add some insurance runs, but couldn’t get one across home plate.
Maclay only gave up three hits in his six plus innings of work. He walked five, hit two and struck out three. Broomall scored twice in the third inning on a Hahn double.
Attick and Cavanaugh each had three hits, while Bodtorf and Maclay each had two.
Sentinel correspondent Ray Wilde contributed to this story.