Berwick beats Juniata County

NEW BERLIN — Consistent production at the plate carried Berwick past Juniata County, 12-3, in the first round of the District 13 Little League Junior baseball tournament Sunday at Rec Complex.

“Well we struggled with the hitting and our pitching went down after the third or fourth inning,” Juniata County coach Casey Harper said. “We have a young team. We only have like four or five older kids, but all in all, the kids played well.”

Berwick was holding onto a 5-3 lead over Juniata County heading into the top of the sixth inning as Jordan Young kicked things off with a single. Then with one out Braden Boone came on to bat and got himself a single before Braden Shadle drew a walk to load the bases for Dylan Francis.

Francis came up big for Berwick, driving in both Young and Boone with a single to extend its lead to 7-3.

But Berwick really dropped the hammer in the top of the seventh scoring five runs in the inning. It all started when Garrett Corbitt drew a walk and a steal of second base.

Then Young came back to the plate and belted the ball to deep center to drive in Corbitt with a double. Mason Albertson and Boone drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. Berwick then scored Young after Shadle was hit by a pitch who had to be replaced by Hunter Sterner.

Francis then came on and reached on an error which allowed both Albertson and Boone to score. Shortlidge joined in on the action with a single that brought in Sterner give Berwick the nine-run lead.

Overall, Shortlidge led the way for Berwick going 4-for-5 with five RBIs while Francis went 3-for-5 with a double and two RBIs.

“They did play well,” Harper said. “We did have a couple errors there but, you have that in baseball.”

Shortlidge fell just short on the mound nearly going the distance for Berwick going six 2-3 innings before having to be pulled for going over the pitch count and was replaced by Corbitt who finished off the game.

“He was pretty good,” Harper said of Shortlidge. “He had good location but that’s just the way it is.”

It was up and down for the Juniata County pitching as starter Paul Ames went through four innings with seven strikeouts and walking one. Ames started and went five innings before he was relieved by Dawson Harper who got through the inning. However, in the top half of the sixth, Harper struggled as he was only able to get an out before being replaced by Logan Kehler who came in and got the final two outs of the frame.

Then in the top of the seventh, Kehler found himself in some trouble, only got an out before handing the ball over to Jace White who then finished off the game for Juniata County.

“The pitching was sporadic, one inning we did good the next inning it wouldn’t be,” coach Harper said. “Paul pitched beautiful in the beginning but then he started struggling towards the end. Then Dawson came in and he did alright but he then struggled. But they did alright overall I thought.”

Juniata County (0-1) will play again Thursday back at the Rec Complex in New Berlin against an opponent to be determined.