The Boyertown 9U Team has won the Southeastern PA State Championship! The team entered the playoff round as the second seed from their pool before rattling off four straight victories in bracket play to take the title on their home field. The championship was a true team effort, with all 12 Bears players contributing.
The state tournament begins with all competing teams divided into four-team pools, where each team plays all of the teams in their pool. Boyertown went 2-1 in pool play, beating Springfield and Nor-Gwyn and falling to Pennsbury. In Game 1 vs Springfield, the Bears scored 12 runs in a monster bottom of the third, more than enough to secure the eventual 13-1 victory. Brendan S went 3-3 and Hudson C went 2-2 with 3 RBI to lead Bears hitters while Sam N and Logan S teamed up to hold Springfield to two hits. Pool play Game 2 had a very similar outcome to Game 1 - a 13-3 Bears victory over Nor-Gwyn. Brendan S continued his hot streak, going 3-3 with 3 runs scored. Liam M was also perfect at the plate, going 2-2 and scoring twice. Brendan S and Declan K handled Nor-Gwyn batters from the mound, holding them to two total hits while striking out eight. Pool play Game 3 did not go the Bear's way, as they fell to Pennsbury 12-0 despite a 2-2 game from Jon C at the plate.
Boyertown began bracket play against Langhorne, winning a tight 5-4 contest. Sam N went 2-2 with an RBI and a run scored while also contributing on the mound, along with Logan S and Dominic W. The Boyertown pitching trio held Langhorne to four total hits while striking out nine. The key (and eventually decisive) run was scored by Isaac S, who singled to lead off the bottom of the fifth, stole second, was sacrificed to third by Declan K, and scored on a Brendan S sac fly. The quarterfinal game against Glenside was a more lopsided victory, with the Bears coming out on top 9-2. The story of the game was Boyertown pitching, with four pitchers teaming up to no-hit Glenside. The four Boyertown pitchers were Garret G, Liam M, Logan S, and Declan K. Together, they struck out ten Glenside batters. Brendan S was again hot at the plate, going 3-3 with a run scored.
The tournament semifinals were against Hilltop, and the Bears kept their momentum going en route to a 15-1 blowout. They did it with both pitching and hitting, with a trio of Boyertown pitchers (Sam N, Dominic W, and Jon C) hurling a combined 1-hitter while Boyertown batters racked up nine hits. Brendan S again led Boyertown hitters, going 3-3 with three RBI and three runs scored. Boyertown got off to a fast start, plating nine runs in the top of the first. Brendan S got things started with a lead-off double. Garret G drove him in with a line drive single to right. Hilltop loaded the bases with a Hudson C walk and a Sam N hit-by-pitch. Stephen B and Isaac S drew back to back RBI walks to put the Bears up 3-0 with still nobody out. Jon C followed a Hilltop pitching change with an RBI fielder's choice fly ball to left. Liam M proved that good things happen when you put the ball in play, reaching on an error by the Hilltop shortstop and collecting an RBI as Stephen B scored. Logan S joined the scorefest with a 2-RBI line drive to center, 7-0 Boyertown. Declan K continued the impressive string of plate appearances for Boyertown batters by sacrificing Logan S to second. While Boyertown would go on to score two more runs in the frame, it is worth noting at this point that all ten Boyertown hitters in the starting lineup had a productive plate appearance in the big first inning, further reinforcing the team aspect of their victory. The two bench players also contributed later in the game, Dominic W from the mound (1.1 IP, 0 hits) and Corey P (RBI single to left in the third).
The championship game was a storybook come-from-behind victory for the Bears. They gave up an early run to Ridley in the bottom of the first and then another two in the bottom of the fourth to fall behind 3-0. Despite this early deficit, the Bears would not be deterred. They rallied back to tie the game 3-3 in the top of the fifth. Their comeback started when Corey P drew a leadoff walk and Logan S followed with a fly ball single to right. Declan K provided the definition of "productive out" by hitting a ball to the right side of the infield to advance both runners. Brendan S followed up with a two-RBI double to center and Boyertown was on the board. Garret G showed that he, too, can move the runner, hitting a productive groundout to second. On cue, Hudson C hit a fly ball single to left and scored Brendan S from third to tie the game.
Sam N pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the fifth to put all of the momentum behind the Bears as they entered the sixth and final inning. Boyertown got things started when Isaac S reached on an error to lead off the inning. Jon C followed with a bunt single to put two on with nobody out (he went 2-3 to lead Boyertown hitters in the game). If you are familiar with Boyertown baseball, you know what to do with runners on first and second with nobody out, and Liam M executed the sacrifice bunt perfectly to move the runners to second and third. Dominic W was up next and did his job, driving in what would be the winning run with a line drive to right. Boyertown would go on to score four additional insurance runs, capped with an RBI bunt single to third by Stephen B. Sam N returned to the hill to squash any hopes of a comeback for Hilltop, pitching a four-pitch, four strike, 1-2-3 bottom of the sixth to secure the 8-3 victory and the championship.
Boyertown 9U continues on the Cal Ripken trail in the Mid-Atlantic Regional tournament July 15-19, hosted by Upper Allen Township, PA.