15s win in the 8th inning
DRUMS – When Mifflin County fell behind in the bottom of the sixth inning Friday, it did not get rattled.
Instead, the squad showed its character, scratching out single runs in the seventh and eighth innings to defeat Franklin Township 4-3 in the 15-year-old division Babe Ruth state tournament at Freedom Park.
“Cade pitched a whale of a game today,” Mifflin County assistant coach Bill Corbin said. “Their pitcher threw a great game as well. But these guys have been through a lot of tight games over the last two years. They don’t give up on themselves.”
Mifflin County improved to 1-1 in the tournament while dropping Franklin Township to 0-2 in the four-game preliminaries.
“We went home, practiced, took a little infield,” Mifflin County pitcher Cade Attick said of an off-day Thursday after a heartbreaking 2-1 loss to West End in the tournament opener Wednesday. “The last game … that’s already forgotten.”
“We just wanted to come back here and pick up a win,” added left fielder Austin Erb, who scored the game-winning run on Attick’s eighth-inning single.
The comeback redeemed a stellar day by Attick, who allowed two hits through five innings, and rang up a double and a single in his first two plate appearances. His day on the hill ended with Franklin Township getting five hits in seven innings and Attick fanning five.
“I just tried to stay cool out there,” Attick said. “I knew to let my teammates field it. They made a lot of nice plays in the field.”
In the eighth inning, Attick completed his big day with his third hit – a two-strike, two-out single to right that had Erb sliding across home plate with the winning run.
Erb was another player who shined in the morning start. With the great depth on the Mifflin County roster, he did not start the tourney opener against West End. Erb delivered clutch hits for his team against Franklin Township, though, including a two-out single to center in the fifth inning that brought it third baseman Logan Peachey and second baseman Trent Hidlay with the game’s first two runs.
Erb’s shot to left-center with one out in the eighth set the stage for Attick. He took second on a sacrifice bunt by Tyler Bedelyon that could have just as easily been a single as the Mifflin County right fielder sped up the line.
“I just did what I needed to do – contribute to the team,” Erb said. “I couldn’t have done any of it without them.”
Franklin Township got just two balls out of the infield in the bottom of the sixth, but was able to net three runs and three hits to take a 3-2 lead. The bases were loaded on two singles and a walk before Aaron Joyce’s RBI groundout.
Derek Joyce followed with a two-run single to left.
“It was just a weird inning,” Attick said. “We knew we had to keep our heads up, though. It wasn’t over yet, we just needed to get men on base. And we did.”
Catcher Isaac Maclay lined a single to left with one out in the top of the seventh to start the Mifflin County rally. Third baseman Jordan Marshall followed with his team’s biggest hit – a tapper that traveled no more than 10 feet from home plate. Marshall’s hustle forced a wild throw, allowing Maclay to circle the bases and tie the game at 3.
Notes: Jake Burkhart had three of Franklin Township’s six hits. … Aggressive on the bases, Mifflin County had three runners thrown out at home plate and another at third base. … Of the game’s 48 combined outs, 24 came on fly balls. … Through Friday’s first game, Tri-Township is 2-0, Broomall/Newtown and Valley are both 1-0, Mifflin County and West End are 1-1, and Aston Valley and Franklin Township are 0-2. The top four teams advance to Monday’s semifinals. … Mifflin County plays again today at 11 a.m. against Broomall/Newtown.