One win, then all done for 14s
MILROY – Sunday night’s Babe Ruth 14 year-old state tournament showdown featured two teams with different things to play for.
Mifflin County was playing for pride after starting 0-3 in pool play. Broomall-Newtown needed a victory – and needed Mifflin County to score fewer than four runs – in order to advance to the state’s final four.
What transpired was a 4-3 victory for Mifflin County, finally getting the locals into the win column in the state tournament and ending Broomall-Newtown’s run. That gave Altoona a spot in the final four.
Mifflin County slugger Aaron Kanagy was invaluable in this one; the three-hole hitter carried the Mifflin County offense, smacking three singles and driving in three of the four runs his team scored.
The win didn’t come easy for Mifflin County. It fell behind 1-0 in the first when starter Chris Elliot was pulled after just a third of an inning, leaving a runner on third and setting up an RBI single from Reilly Fillman. Reliever Hunter Goss was then taken deep by Ian Myers to start the third inning, putting the locals in a 2-0 hole.
It turned out to be a hole that the home team had no trouble climbing out of. With one out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the third, Kanagy ripped a two-run single to center for his second hit of the day. Caleb Vega added an RBI knock of his own two batters later to put Mifflin County on top.
Kanagy struck again in the fifth, lining another RBI single to center to increase the lead to 4-2.
“He’s been one of the ones hitting every game, ” Mifflin County manager Mike Hostetler said. “He’s come through big with some hits. Aaron’s one of the hotter hitters right now.”
Austin Herring pitched a scoreless fourth and gave the ball to Kyle Peachey, the team’s ace, to finish it off over the last three innings. The righty was masterful for 2 1/3 innings, striking out four Broomall-Newtown batters before running into trouble in the seventh. He walked the bases loaded with only one out in the frame before being lifted for Joey Taptich. The reliever got Luke Donaphon to ground into a fielder’s choice, bringing home a run, but the tying run was still on third. He then induced Stephen Morrison into a weak fly out to left to end it.
The shaky seventh-inning command from Peachey was just a blip on the radar for Goss, Herring and Peachey. The trio succeeded in pounding the strike zone and making Broomall-Newtown work for its runs.
“Our pitchers tonight threw strikes,” Hostetler said. “I told them, you give up home runs and big hits with nobody on base from walks, it doesn’t hurt them.”
The win marked the end of a frustrating state tournament for Mifflin County. It dropped an extra-innings heartbreaker to defending state champion West End of Williamsport in the pool play opener and never recovered.
“I had a game plan but we had to throw it out,” Hostetler said, referencing the early pitching change and an ejection that caused frantic substitutions. “I had a game plan but we had to throw it out. It was interesting until the very last batter.”
Ingomar-Franklin 8, Mifflin County 6
MILROY – For the first time in the Pennsylvania Babe Ruth tournament, the Mifflin County 14-year-olds came to the ball park with their hitting shoes on.
But, it still wasn’t enough as Ingomar-Franklin (District 6) outlasted Mifflin County, 8-6 on Saturday night at Armagh Memorial Field.
Mifflin County outhit Ingomar, 14-7, but it was same old problem for Mike Hostetler’s team: pitching and walks.
“We finally hit the ball tonight,” Hostetler, the Mifflin County manager said, “It was a little bit too late, but we had fun tonight. Our pitching again didn’t throw strikes. And we didn’t do the little things that help you to win. We had a balk that scored a run and catcher’s interference that came into score too.”
Mifflin County used four pitchers and the four combined for nine walks. Joey Taptich started for Mifflin County and got as far as the third inning, but when he left Mifflin County was down 5-1. Drew Williams and Kyle Peachey worked the middle innings before Chris Elliott closed out the game.
Elliott was the only pitcher not to get nicked for a run as he threw two shutout innings with only two walks, two hits and two stirke outs.
On defense, Mifflin County didn’t help its chances as it committed five errors. The third inning was really rough for the localAll-Stars as Ingomar scored three times on just two hits, but Mifflin County had one error, the balk, which scored a run and the catcher’s inteference along with one walk.
Mifflin County had its chances as it left 15 men on base.
Late in the game the momentum started to go Mifflin County’s way. Nick Hostetler doubled to open the sixth, went to third on a passed ball. Aaron Kanagy walked and then the two pulled off a double steal with Hostetler scoring. Before the inning was over Mifflin County loaded the bases, but couldn’t score.
In the bottom of the seventh, the locals tried to rally again. Kyle Peachey tripled with one out. Hostetler then knocked him home with a base hit. Hostetler stole second and then Kanagy and Hunter Goss drew walks to load the bases.
Elliott bounced out to third and Hostetler scored making it 8-6, but Williams flew out deep to center and the game was over.
Peachey, Hostetler, Kanagy, Williams and Austin Herring each had two hits.
Notes: Ingomar was the 90th different league or divisions of a league that Mifflin County has played in Pennsylvania. Mifflin County has played 115 diffferent leagues including Mid-Atlantic and Babe Ruth World Series tournaments.
Sentinel correspondent Ray Wilde contributed to this story.