SHILLINGTON – They had a hard time getting outs.
They had a hard time getting hits.
They had a hard time getting breaks.
It was only one game, but what made it even more difficult was that it was the last game. It sure was a tough day at Rulon L. Griffin Field for the Cedar Crest baseball.
On an overcast Monday evening at Governor Mifflin, during the first round of the PIAA District Three Class AAAAAA playoffs, the Falcons endured an uncharacteristic and season-ending 14-1, five-inning setback at the hands of the hometown Mustangs. Governor Mifflin plated an amazing total of 12 two-out runs, in its second and third at-bats, then brought the mercy rule into play in the bottom of the fourth.
With the result, ninth-seeded Cedar Crest ended the spring season at 12-8 overall. The triumph moved eighth-seeded Governor Mifflin to 16-5 on the season and into Thursday’s quarterfinal round of the District Three Class AAAAAA postseason.
Back on March 30, Cedar Crest had defeated the Mustangs 2-0 in South Lebanon.
“It’s a good group of seniors,” said Cedar Crest first-year head coach Matt Knox. “Four of them are going on to play baseball in college. For some, this was their only varsity baseball experience, after losing the whole entire season last year (to COVID-19). They started in December and January, and they worked all the way through. We had a really good year.
“Obviously we wanted to come in here and be competitive,” Knox added. “For the two weeks leading up to this, we tried to prepare them (his players) the best we could. I think they were as prepared as we could get them. Baseball’s funny sometimes. I’m just proud of them, the season they put together and how they played.”
Down a dozen runs, the Falcons tallied their lone score in the top of the fourth inning. Conrad Wasson singled stole second, moved to third on a ground-out and scored on Dylan Beard’s sacrifice fly.
“He (Governor Mifflin starter Matt Gehris) hit his spots and mixed up his pitches,” said Knox. “We hit some balls hard early and they (the Mustangs) made some plays. We talk about having competitive at-bats, and we did that.
“I would say these guys worked hard and accomplished their goals for the entire season,” added Knox. “They have nothing to hang their heads about.”
It was a 0-0 game, with two outs and a runner on first base in the bottom of the second inning. But that’s when it all started to crumble down around the Falcons.
It began harmlessly enough with a hit-batsman, but by the time Governor Mifflin was through, the home side had scored four runs on three hits, a walk and a couple of wild pitches.
“He went out and did what he always does,” said Knox of his starter, senior southpaw Dalton Reinhart. “He competed. That’s all I can ask of my guys.
“Sometimes you run into a hot team swinging hot bats,” continued Knox. “They are, and they did.”
Cedar Crest’s troubles were compounded in the Mustangs’ next at-bat, with runners on first and second bases and two outs, in the bottom of the third. The next eight Governor Mifflin batters reached bases, on five singles, a double, a walk and a Falcon error.
When the dust had settled, the Mustangs had scored eight times
Governor Mifflin recorded two more runs in the bottom of the fourth to up its advantage to 14-1.
“There’s no blame. It happens in baseball sometimes,” said Knox. “They’re (the Mustangs) a fantastic baseball team. They hit the ball well. Our guys have nothing to ashamed of. I’m not going to take anything away from that team. We beat them in the first game of the season, and they went on to win 15 games. That speaks volumes.
“Our goal was to get to the postseason, and they (his players) accomplished that,” Knox continued. “Every game they played hard.”
|2021-04-05||H||vs||J P McCaskey(3)||W||5-1|
|2021-04-30||A||vs||J P McCaskey(3)||W||9-4|
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