Broomall sizzles as MC lead fizzles

13-year-olds face deficit in state event

Sentinel photo by MATT STRICKER
Mifflin County catcher Braden Swineford looks for the relay home as Broomall/Newtown’s Joe McGinnis scores the tying run in the top of the seventh inning Sunday in Altoona.

ALTOONA — Despite leading for most of the game, Mifflin County dropped a heartbreaker at the end as Broomall/Newtown charged to a 6-5 victory in the 13-year-old Babe Ruth state tournament Sunday.

“Nobody likes a loss especially when you’re up five nothing,” Mifflin County coach Stephen Alexander said.

Mifflin County had a 5-2 lead going into the top of the seventh inning with Isaac Knepp looking to close the game out from the mound.

Broomall/Newtown had other plans.

Cathal Dowd led the inning off with a walk before Joe Downs and Joe McGinnis hit back-to-back singles to load the bases.

Knepp was able to catch a break, getting Dillion Can to strike out for the first out, but it was the only out that Knepp was able to get as the next batter, Justin DiBouc, was hit by a pitch, scoring Dowd and cutting the lead to 5-3.

That’s when Knepp was replaced by Cody Bickhart with the bases still loaded.

That’s when the big hit came from Brian Henway, who drove in both Downs and McGinnis to tie the game. Matt Abate later scored DiBouc with a single to give Broomall/Newtown a 6-5 lead.

“We had to change pitchers. Our replacement pitcher had a sore arm,” Alexander said. “We had quite a few pitchers on the team. Isaac came in and just couldn’t execute.”

Mifflin County jumped ahead in the early stages of the game, scoring three runs in the bottom of the second inning.

With one out and the bases loaded and Connor Zimmerman at the plate, Zimmerman was able to score Braden Swineford on an error at third.

Kyler Everly then drew a walk that scored Cade Pennepacker before Trey Shoemaker was hit by a pitch that brought home Knepp and gave Mifflin County a 3-0 lead.

In the top of the third Mifflin County added two more runs with Swineford hammering a double into left-center field, allowing Dylan Zellers to score all the way from first. Pennepacker then drove in Swineford with a single to extend the lead to 5-0.

“We hit the ball, we manufactured runs and we had key hits,” Alexander said.

But Mifflin County also had several chances to add to its lead throughout the game. One instance came in the top half of the fourth with one out and the bases loaded — but Broomall/Newtown reliever Dan Carafa got the next two Mifflin County batters swinging to get out of the jam.

Another opportunity came in the top of the fifth after a leadoff double from Swineford. He was later caught in a run down. The next two batters failed to reach base.

“It’s kind of been our downfall the last two games,” Alexander said. “We haven’t been able to get that key with runners in scoring position with last than two outs and it showed again here today.”

Zach Williams got the start for Mifflin County and went into the fifth inning, striking out four while walking five before going over the pitch count.

“Zach is a tough pitcher, he’s big, he throws hard for a 13-year-old,” Alexander said. “He throws the ball really well. He was able to locate his pitches and execute.”

Mifflin County (0-2) will face Tri-County at Seitz Field today at 2 p.m. Alexander hopes the team can turn it around and get back on track.

“I hope that we can get key hits in times we need it,” Alexander said. “Defensively today we’ve played OK, I don’t think we had many errors, but this was a tough one.”