The long, winning tradition of Boyertown Junior Legion baseball added another big moment Monday when the Grizzlies met the Bear Cubs in the Pennsylvania Junior Legion State Tournament. According to the public address announcer, this meeting was the first time two Boyertown teams were the last two undefeated teams in the state tournament. Much was at stake in this game - the winner would be guaranteed a spot in the championship game and the loser would have to battle back through the loser's bracket.
The game did not disappoint - it was a close, well-played pitcher's duel by both teams. The Bear Cubs turned to Brandon Shane for the pitching start. He went 4.1 innings, allowing 5 hits and 3 runs. He was relieved by Cole Galloway, who threw 1.2 innings of relief. The Grizzlies decided to use a pitch-by-committee approach, to keep all pitchers' pitch counts low enough that they would be available for a possible championship game appearance on Wednesday. Zach Rothermel got the start for the Grizzlies, throwing 2 innings of no-hit shutout baseball before he was relieved by Ethan Ferraro and later Cole Kratz.
The Grizzlies got on the board first, in the bottom of the 2nd inning. Nathaniel Wilson was hit by pitch, Zach Rothermel reached on an infield single, and Cullen Nesbitt drew a 7-pitch walk to load the bases with 1 out. Elijah Calvert and Cole Kratz both hit singles over the next three batters to drive in two runs and give the Grizzlies a 2-0 lead.
The Cubs got one run back in the top of the 3rd when Chance Babb drew a lead-off walk and, after reaching third on a steal of second and a ground out, scored on a sacrifice fly by Colin Eisenhard. The Cubs managed to load the bases with a double by Brandon Shane, a walk by Jonathan Myers, and a single by Tyler Hoffman but Grizzlies pitcher Ethan Ferraro induced a pop out by the next batter to end the inning.
The Grizzlies added an insurance run in the bottom of the 4th when Cole Kratz hit a line drive to the left-center gap and barely avoided the tag at second for a 1-out double. Kratz would advance to third on a Ryan Young ground out before scoring on a wild pitch to batter Ethan Ferraro, increasing the Grizzlies lead to what would be the final score: 3-1.
Cole Kratz from the Grizzlies was the stand-out star of the game. He went 3-for-3 at the plate with 2 doubles, an RBI, and a run scored. He also kept the Cubs high-powered offense in check in a relief appearance on the mound, scattering 2 hits over 3.1 shutout innings to earn the save.
With the victory, the Grizzlies go on to face Northampton and the Cubs play Uniontown in an elimination game.