End of the road
DRUMS – Six batters into the 15-year-old division Babe Ruth state championship, it was obvious things were different for Mifflin County.
A team that had surrendered just 14 runs in the first five games of the tournament, Mifflin County fell behind by four runs six batters into an 8-3 loss to Broomall/Newtown on Tuesday at Freedom Park.
Broomall/Newtown, which lost to Mifflin County 5-4 during preliminary play Saturday, moves on to regionals next week in Niskayuna, N.Y.
“We were beaten in every phase of the game,” Mifflin County assistant coach Bill Corbin said. “It was different from the last time we played them. In that game, the balls they hit hard we caught, and the ones we hit found gaps. Today, they found the gaps.”
The team from the Philadelphia area jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, sending nine batters to the plate in the first inning. Three extra-base hits, a single, a walk and a sacrifice bunt that saw everyone advance safely put Mifflin County in a hole it just could not escape.
“We hit gappers, bunted … we did everything today,” Broomall/Newtown manager Rich Woodcock said. “Our kids had an energy from jump street. We knew in warm-ups that they were ready.”
While Broomall/Newtown was held in check in the earlier meeting with Mifflin County, it had posted three 10-run victories during the state tournament against other foes.
“We actually had a stomach virus run through the team,” Woodcock said of a bug that lingered in his lineup for most of the tourney. “We played through it and, by the semifinals, we planned for this.
“We thought (pitcher Scott Hahn) would go in the semis, but we decided to hold him back for today.”
Mifflin County tried to chip away at the deficit. Catcher Isaac Maclay’s three-base hit drove in pitcher Ty Bodtorf in the bottom of the first to make it 4-1.
In the third, Maclay doubled home center fielder Kenny Cavanaugh. In the fourth, second baseman Levi Sherwood’s groundout scored third baseman Logan Peachey. But both of those runs were simply answering Broomall/Newtown runs in the top of those innings.
“The kids battled hard all week,” Corbin said. “We just had a bad day at the wrong time.”
Maclay and Broomall/Newtown’s Cameron Mathes both had a single, double and triple. Maclay drove in two runs, while Mathes scored twice.
On the hill, Broomall/Newtown’s Hahn scattered seven hits. He retired six in a row in the early innings – a streak halted by an error – and finished allowing three baserunners (two singles and an error) between the final 14 batters he faced.
“Each day we had a different kid step up,” Woodcock said. “Cameron did today, and Tony Gallo and Scott Hahn had lit it up in previous games.”
Adding to the disappointment of the day, Mifflin County first baseman Jordan Marshall left the game with a left knee injury in the fourth inning. Shortstop Cade Attick made a diving catch on a line drive and then threw to first to attempt to double off Broomall’s Hahn, who came back to first sliding in at full speed.
“The kid slid into his knee trying to get back to first,” Corbin said of Marshall’s injury. “Unfortunately, it’s his good knee. He wears a brace on the other knee because of an injury from football.”
Mifflin County committed four errors and left six on base.
“The one thing that was good the entire tournament was our defense,” Corbin said. “And we didn’t do that today.”
NOTES: Mifflin County had a runner thrown out at second trying to stretch a single and another thrown out at home. … Mifflin County had consecutive hits just once – a single to center by Peachey and a double to left by Trent Hidlay with one out in the fourth inning. … Broomall/Newtown had four of the game’s seven extra-base hits. … Corey Woodcock and Vince Sposato both drove in two runs for Broomall/Newtown.