The Boyertown Grizzlies completed an improbable run through the Berwick Regional tournament, overcoming a first round loss to win five straight win-or-go-home games to take the championship.
The tournament began in the sweltering heat on Saturday, July 20, when he heat index was approaching 110. The Grizzlies lost that opening round game to North Parkland 5-1, dropping them into the loser's bracket in the double elimination tournament. Their second round game was against Roslyn on Sunday morning, again in very uncomfortable heat. A pitching duel ensued between the teams, with the Grizzlies coming out on top in the bottom of the 7th, thanks to a Cole Kratz line drive single that plated Evan Swoyer for the 2-1 victory. The Monday morning game was against Green Ridge and, although it was interrupted by rain, the Grizzlies took the lead in the bottom of the 2nd and never relinquished it for the 5-1 victory. The Grizzlies' next contest was a rematch against North Parkland, who had just lost a tough game in the winner's bracket final to Swoyersville. North Parkland apparently had run out of pitching, walking 13 Grizzlies batters across four different pitchers. The Grizzlies won convincingly 13-3. This victory ensured the Grizzlies would play on the final day of the tournament, Wednesday, July 24, with a shot for the championship. Undefeated Swoyersville would be the opponent, and the Grizzlies would have to beat them twice in back-to-back games to take the title.
In game 1 against Swoyersville, Zach Rothermel got the pitching start for the Grizzlies. He went 7 innings and allowed only one unearned run. The Grizzlies were unable to score in the bottom of the 7th despite loading the bases, so the game went into extra innings. Ethan Ferraro entered the game in relief and pitched a clean top of the eighth. In the bottom of the eighth, the Grizzlies got a single by Cullen Nesbitt, a walk to Elijah Calvert, and a bunt single by Eric Keebler to again load the bases. Cole Kratz reprised his walk-off performance from the Roslyn game with another walk-off knock to win the game 2-1. This set up the final winner-take-all rematch, to be played one hour later.
If the first game against Swoyersville was a nail-biter, the second one was all Grizzlies from the start. The Grizzlies scored 3 runs in the bottom of the first to take the initial lead before Swoyersville tied it up in the top of the second. The Grizzlies again took the lead in the bottom of the second, scoring one to make it 4-3, and never again lost the lead as they cruised to a 9-3 win. Cole Kratz got the pitching start for the Grizzlies, going 3 innings and giving up only 4 hits and 3 runs. Ryan Young entered in relief and shut the door, throwing 4 hitless shutout innings. All nine starters for the Grizzlies had at least one hit, with David Wagner leading the way with a 3-4 performance. Between the two championship games, Grizzlies catcher Nathaniel Wilson threw out three Swoyersville baserunners to add to the Grizzlies solid team defense.
With the Berwick Regional championship, the Grizzlies advance to states in Homer City, starting Saturday, July 27.